History & Mission
To inspire a consumer movement to advance health and enhance access to quality, affordable healthcare in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Consumer Health Coalition (CHC) is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization that was founded in 1996. CHC is dedicated to the eradication of disparities in health access and outcomes. We understand that people experience unequal starting points or access to resources that are unfortunately correlated with socioeconomic status, racial or ethnic backgrounds, disability status, and other social determinants. CHC staff are familiar faces in the immigrant, veteran, homeless, incarcerated, and disability communities.
CHC believes that health and wellness are obtained through access to quality, affordable healthcare that is patient-centered. This means health care must focuses on the health needs of each patient as well as the social and economic barriers that impact people’s access to health and wellness.
How we accomplish our mission:
CHC reaches out to and enrolls at-risk consumers in public health insurance programs and educates the community about the availability of public health insurance programs and pertinent health policy issues. We both serve and organize at-risk, marginalized people and the organizations that serve them to influence system reform. We have a strong commitment to partnerships in Allegheny County and Southwestern Pennsylvania and strive to continually expand our reach.
CHC’s advocacy efforts are both self and systemic. We strive to educate and activate consumers to be in charge of their own health care. Through our advocacy work, consumers have written and published letters to the editor, developed education tools and resources, visited numerous county, state, and federal legislators, offered testimony at public hearings, structured and conducted community forums, and created issue-based advocacy campaigns.
Where We Started
The image of Consumer Health Coalition (CHC) grew from the September 1995 conference, “Building a Coalition: Giving Consumers a Voice in Shaping Health Services.” As a body, the participants recognized that other health care stakeholders (i.e. hospitals, doctors, nurses, insurance companies, etc.) were well organized, but there was no organization that voiced the needs of patients.
The participants also agreed that special emphasis should be placed on consumers at greatest risk for experiencing barriers to the health system (i.e. people with low incomes, the uninsured, people from minority racial and ethnic backgrounds, and people with disabilities).
The Coalition was formally launched in 1996 with generous funding from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. Community Catalyst, a national nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to health care for all, also provided early technical assistance.
Where We Are
Today CHC has established itself as a leading consumer health advocacy organization in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Our staff, Board of Directors, network of volunteers, and community partners work hard to advance our mission “to inspire a consumer movement to advance health and enhance access to quality, affordable health care.”