Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Industrial Engineering


Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


College of Engineering


Jill Speece

Advisor Department

Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) are instrumental in providing top tier healthcare and other resources to underserved populations. Whether they administer services in house or refer patients to other providers, FQHCs aim to provide comprehensive primary and preventative care services to people of all ages. They offer a range of services, from doctor and dental appointments to mental health and substance abuse counseling, regardless of a patient’s insurance status. To receive funding, FQHCs must follow the regulations and quality standards set forth by groups like the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

A variety of barriers prevent young adults (18-24), particularly from underserved communities, from accessing resources available at community health centers (CHCs). Encouraging more people to utilize the preventative care resources provided by community health centers will increase quality of life for underserved populations, reduce the future burden on the healthcare system, and allow CHCs to access more funding.

Strategies to reach this currently hard-to-reach population were developed through interviews with health educators, analysis of existing patient data, benchmarking FQHCs across the United States, and surveying the target population. Barriers to utilizing preventative care resources were collected and current patient outreach strategies were assessed. New strategies were proposed and evaluated by current patient educators at FQHCs. This research will outline a cohesive set of effective patient outreach strategies for FQHCs to increase their young adult patient base, particularly regarding preventative care.