Who We Are

WPHCA is the association for the Community Health Centers in Wisconsin
outline of wisconsin with three icons representing mental health, dental services and medical services

Who We Are

The Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association (WPHCA) is a non-profit association for the 17 Community Health Centers in Wisconsin. WPHCA serves as the state’s Primary Care Association (PCA) and receives federal funds to support Community Health Centers across the state. These federal funds help WPHCA be a resource and champion for Wisconsin Community Health Centers and their patients. WPHCA promotes the delivery of and access to high quality primary health care services, including medical, dental and behavioral health care.

WPHCA also serves as a Health Center Controlled Network (HCCN), which is a network of Community Health Centers that work together to strengthen and leverage health information technology to improve operational and clinical practices. 

Our Services and Resources

As a member association, WPHCA’s work focuses on accomplishing our mission by providing a wide range of services and resources, including:

Training opportunities, technical support, and strategic guidance

Training and support which assists Community Health Centers in their effort to improve quality of care, learn new skills, and enhance clinical and operational effectiveness.

Providing a Collective Voice for Community Health Centers

Increasing Community Health Center engagement through state and federal policy analysis, government relations, and advocacy supporting the needs of Community Health Centers and promoting our vision of a future where all individuals and communities in Wisconsin achieve their highest potential.

Information and
public education

Provide information and education, ranging from a monthly member newsletter, issue briefs and other publications providing current information about issues vital to strengthening Wisconsin’s health care system, where Community Health Centers play a critical role.

WPHCA History and Mission


The mission of the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association is to improve health through the work of Community Health Centers and their partners.


The Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association envisions a future where all individuals and communities in Wisconsin achieve their highest health potential.

Anti-Racism Vision Statement

WPHCA is a wildly welcoming and inclusive organization that models growth and learning in a multiracial, multicultural workforce. We are a catalyst for change in Wisconsin as we address and repair past and present harms in health care. To achieve this vision, we will adopt anti-racist strategies, working at the intersections of structural racism and the social determinants of health, and will support our partners in doing the same.

* This statement is aspirational and iterative. It describes where we aspire to be and serves to help us orient our decisions towards this vision as our north star.

Read WPHCA’s Annual Report

Learn more about our organization.

History of wpcha

Sixteenth Street Community Health Center, which received their federal designation in 1968, was Wisconsin’s first Community Health Center. A network of clinics in rural northeastern Wisconsin also began in the 1970s; at the same time, activists were working in the state’s urban areas, fighting for health care equity in minority populated areas. Starting in the late 1970’s there was a renewed focus on health care for the underserved, and there was a federal interest in supporting and growing rural health care.

During this time, an ad hoc group was established and named the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association or WPHCA (pronounced ‘whip-ka”). WPHCA  was galvanized in 1981 when Wisconsin’s Congressman David Obey influenced a federal Jobs Bill to include funding for Health Centers and others to help unemployed people obtain health care. WPHCA was incorporated in 1982. In 1983 Marshfield Clinic agreed to support an association of participating clinics under a management contract, and Kathy Farnsworth was hired as the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association first executive director in 1984. WPHCA made its first home with the Office of Rural Health (ORH) at the University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine in Madison.

“It was the willingness to do collective work that eventually led to the formation of the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association,” Paul Nannis, founding member.

The earliest years’ minutes reflect the dedicated participation of a core group of leaders: Paul Nannis, Greg Nycz, Ann Hogan, Chuck Van Anden, David Duran, Kathy Kiedrowski, Fred Moskol, Kathy Farnsworth, Gay Gross, and Sam Bake.

After serving patients for years as free clinics in their communities, many of Wisconsin’s current Community Health Centers achieved Federally-Qualified Health Center status. There are currently 17 Community Health Centers located in Wisconsin. These 17 Community Health Centers provide care through 197 service delivery sites to nearly 300,000 patients annually, including nearly 2,200 school-based patients.

Meet Our WPHCA Staff

Get to know our staff and reach out with any questions.