CHCANYS  – A poem by M.A. Dennis

CHCANYS 2023 Statewide Hybrid Advocacy Week featured an inspiring and powerful poem by M.A. Dennis during CHCANYS’ Patient Voices Panel. Listen to the poem here: and learn more about M.A. Dennis by checking out his Twitter (M_A_Dennis), Instagram (m_a_dennis575) and TikTok (madennis0).


This poem came about by chance. On a Friday, in a Zoom meeting, while prepping for the upcoming Patient Voices Panel webinar that following Monday, everyone in attendance was having a good time (about as much as one can have in a Zoom prep meeting). We handled business of course, but then goofed around with Zoom’s new zany facial filters. At one point, I remarked that the CHCANYS acronym, when said, sounds like a fancy restaurant. At another point in the meeting, our wonderful moderator Serena Muniz asked if I would do a poem during the webinar. I agreed. Over the weekend, while down in North Carolina (attending funeral services for my Uncle Stanley), the restaurant name quip and the poem request subconsciously marinated. Monday morning, shortly before the webinar began, the poem “CHCANYS” spilled out. I performed that first draft version and a day later completed a revised version. Thank you for taking time to consume my work. Bon Appétit!  


M.A. Dennis

When I tell someone about CHCANYS,

they want to know about reservations:

How long is the wait for a party of five?

Because CHCANYS sounds like 

a fancy 5-star restaurant


and I’m an unabashed foodie, so

they think, maybe, CHCANYS is 

a hot spot, a gourmet acronym 

that stands for: Cuisine Hors d’oeuvres 

Cocktails Association of Nourishing 

Yummy Sustenance —

but, no, CHCANYS stands for:

Community Health Care Association 

of New York State (and that’s just 

a mouthful way to say CHCANYS 


stands for: Commitment Hope Care Acknowledgment Networking

Yolo Seize the day — or maybe 

CHCANYS is more than a name,

more than an abbreviation, 

more than eight letters

giving recognition to the ones 

who do it all (from A to Z) CHCANYS: 

Champions of Heroes Causes 

Advocacy Networks You Support.


CHCANYS (not open for brunch, but 

offering happy hours spent helping 

the providers who help the helpless)

an amplifier of voices, a source of

empowerment, an encourager 

giving much needed credit 

to where it’s long overdue! 

CHCANYS is a conduit 

for awareness and education:

If it wasn’t for CHCANYS,


how would we know what WCS means?

I used to think it meant White Castle

Smorgasbord — sliders, fries, shakes,

a fast food feast — but now I know 

WCS stands for White Coat Syndrome,

an anxiety-based affliction 

born out of roach motel 

hospital experiences: 

seeing folks check in, 

but never check out.


Maybe this is why we take time out 

to appreciate and celebrate our community health centers, places of competency 

and compassion,

made not of bricks 

and mortar, but of people

showing concern 

and offering life-saving services, 

humanity-affirming services, 

dignity-restoring services.


Perhaps, CHCANYS cannot

give us a date for the Grand Opening

of their Michelin-starred eatery, but

they can give props to great service 

and great service can make or break

not only a restaurant

but also a collective

of sensitive 

and vulnerable



So, consider this my Yelp review,

the little squeal of joy

that escapes my mouth

when I think of CHCANYS

and the community health centers 

they take time to honor 

and I guess 

this is where the poem ends 

because: thanks to CHCANYS 

my seat at the table is ready.

Published on