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Last month, eight North Carolina Schweitzer Fellows organized “Navigating the Health Care System as an Unfunded Patient: Perspectives From Durham’s Trenches,” a series of two lunch symposia (the first at the Duke School of Medicine on September 24, and the second at the Duke School of Law on September 30).

Additionally, the Duke Medical School Davison Council and Duke Law Bar Association joined forces for a charity event at Alivia’s Durham Bistro. Open to symposia attendees, the event raised $1,400 for Local Access To Coordinated Health Care (LATCH) and the Durham Medical-Legal Partnership for Children.

Discussion at each symposia was led by a panel of experts who provided insight into the role health professionals and lawyers play in securing health care for Durham’s most at-risk populations. The panel included:

  • Nancy Weigle, MD, Family physician with 80% uninsured patients at Holton clinic
  • Julia Gamble, FNP, MPH, Lincoln Community Health Center, Health Care for the Homeless
  • Phillip Rosoff, MD, MA, Director of Clinical Ethics at DUMC, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Pediatrics
  • Stephanie A. Triantafillou, MPH, Program coordinator for Local Access To Coordinated Health Care (LATCH)
  • Rebecca Reyes, MSW, MDiv, Coordinator, Latino Health Project at Duke clinics
  • Barbara Sheline, MD, MPH, Family physician at Duke Family Medicine clinic
  • Danielle Briggs, JD, Attorney at Legal Aid-Pittsboro, health law specialist

Sponsors of the symposia included the North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program, Duke Medical School student groups, Duke Law School bar association, Duke University Book Stores, Chik-fil-A, and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

The symposia were organized by the following team of North Carolina Schweitzer Fellows: Nailah Adams, Simon Ascher, Melodi Javid, Navid Pourtaheri, and Donna Simmons of the Duke School of Medicine; James Gillenwater and Tricia Hammond of the Duke School of Law; Julius Kibe of the Duke School of Nursing; and Caroline Njogu of NCCU’s Public Health Administration Program.

The social event that followed the symposia provided an opportunity for students to network with one another and build relationships with local charitable organizations to cultivate their interests in improving healthcare access for the underserved. It was attended by over 200 professional students in the Durham area, as well as by representatives from the recipient charity organizations (LATCH and the Durham Medical-Legal Partnership for Children). Proceeds from the event were over $1,400, all of which will be donated to the two organizations.