Since 2004, the Partnership for a Healthy Durham has worked to connect the world-class medical resources in the community with the residents who need them the most.
The Partnership now has over 500 members, including government agencies, workers from many settings and community members representing a wide range of interests. The Partnership, staffed by a fulltime coordinator from the Durham County Department of Public Health, is a convening group for conversations and action around the physical, mental and social health and well-being of Durham's residents. In 2012, it decided to begin tackling issues of poverty and education based on input from the community.
“We’re all in this together,” said Gayle Harris, director of the Durham County Department of Public Health. “That’s what I like about Durham. If there’s a problem, people come together, voice their opinions and work toward a solution.”
The Partnership has also joined forces with two leading community groups—Durham Congregations, Associations, and Neighborhoods, and the Latino Community Credit Union—and the community’s two leading medical facilities—Duke University Health System and Lincoln Community Health Center—to improve access to specialty medical services for the low-income, uninsured population in Durham County, making sure everyone in the community could benefit from the world-class research institutions and high-quality medical care that already existed in the county. Through a program called Project Access of Durham County, more than 700 clinicians have volunteered their time to serve more 4,340 patients through a network of clinics and private providers, laboratories, pharmacies and hospitals over the past four years. Durham County Government provides nearly $350,000 each year to the program’s infrastructure and to date, value of the donated medical care to Project Access is calculated at about $14 million.