Making a difference with research: Working with partners, patients and communities in Durham, North Carolina

FHI 360’s global headquarters sit in downtown Durham, North Carolina, a mid-size city with a growing reputation for being hip, vibrant and diverse. Historically, Durham was known as the Black Wall Street – until urban renewal sent a highway through the middle of the black community in the 1960s. Where past and present meet, Durham has a housing crisis, urban deindustrialization, and persistent poverty that disproportionately affect Durham’s black residents, and its growing Latinx population. These social conditions, in turn, generate and perpetuate health disparities. The 2017 Durham County Health Assessment identified affordable housing, access to healthcare and insurance, and poverty as among the county’s top five health priorities.

There are many organizations, institutions and groups working together to create a culture of health for everyone in Durham. Our FHI 360 offices are within two miles of many including the historically black North Carolina Central University (NCCU), the Durham County Department of Public Health (DCoDPH), the Lincoln Community Health Center providing health care to the underserved, and Duke University and its affiliated health system.

Here I highlight four recent research efforts that show what we have learned about gaps and needs from projects, partnerships and relationships in Durham, North Carolina.

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