WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today received the 2007 Distinguished Community Health Defender Award from the National Association of Community Health Centers. The organization cited recent legislation that Murkowski introduced to provide additional investments in community health centers nationwide. “I am proud to join the National Association of Community Health Centers in addressing our current shortage of access to primary care in rural parts of the country,” said Senator Murkowski. “Currently, Alaska has the sixth lowest ratio of physicians to population of the United States. In rural Alaska, it’s the worst in the nation. By bolstering the cornerstone of rural health care, the community health center, through grants and allowing them to expand their residency programs it is my hope that we can better deliver critical health care to these underserved areas.” Founded in 1970, the National Association of Community Health Centers, Inc. (NACHC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance and expand access to quality, community-responsive health care for America’s medically underserved and uninsured. In serving its mission, NACHC represents the nation’s network of over 1,000 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) which serve 16 million people through 5,000 sites located in all of the 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.