Project Access of Durham County launched in 2008 to address a significant unmet need in our community—access to specialty medical care. While Lincoln Community Health Center did—and does—offer excellent, low-cost primary care, patients and their providers struggled to obtain timely, affordable procedures, tests, and medical visits for health issues beyond the scope of primary care. Many interested community members and partners came together to create this collaborative network, starting at the 2002 Durham Health Summit and continuing with Durham Congregations, Associations & Neighborhoods; Latino Community Credit Union; Durham Health Partners; the Access to Care Committee of the Partnership for a Healthy Durham; and Duke University Health System. These efforts culminated at the 2007 Durham Health Summit, and Project Access enrolled its first patient on July 1, 2008.
Key to shepherding the process forward were founding board members Dr. Andy Barada, MaryAnn Black, Dr. Chuck Cooperberg, Gene Dauchert, Rev. Dr. Herb Davis, Dr. Howard Eisenson, Dr. Gary Greenberg, Gayle Harris, Dr. Ted Pappas, Lynn Robbins, Dr. Evy Schmidt, Randi Shults, Gina Upchurch, and Duncan Yaggy, along with initial key supporters Dr. Victor Dzau, Paul Newman, and Mike Ruffin, with guidance from Dr. Alex Cho, Pam Silberman, and Dr. Peter Jacobi.
Project Access of Durham County has continued to expand its services in response to community needs. In 2014, PADC became the administrative home for a Durham Medical Respite Pilot Program to provide room and board for homeless persons being discharged from the hospital. Led by Julia Gamble, NP, MPH, this pilot program expanded to include case management services, and PADC continues as the administrative home for Durham Homeless Care Transitions. DHCT facilitates transitions and strengthen connections to care for homeless persons in Durham County, in order to decrease or avoid preventable adverse outcomes and improve quality of life.
In 2016, led by volunteer Anne Drennan with Mitch Heflin, Gay Bonds, Bebe Guill, Sharon Elliott-Bynum, Steve Shear, Bob Roghelia, Emily Herbert, Marjorie McKenzie, Janet Mason, Emily McCoy, Ralph McCoy, and other community members, Project Access of Durham County added a Health Equipment Loan Program to take any gently used items to repair and clean for re-use by any Durham resident with a need.
Mr. White’s wife told him good things about the program and suggested he go to Lincoln to get help. He knew he needed medical care, but he also found out he needed to improve his diet in order to help his recovery and his health. With the support of his doctors, his family, and his LATCH care manager, Mr. White lost the weight he needed to lose to get better. He loves to exercise, cook healthy foods, spend time with his family, and attend church.