First Lady Michelle Obama recognized representatives from Durham Technical Community College and MDC at the White House on Friday for their efforts to increase awareness and connect Durham Tech students and the broader community with health insurance options through the Affordable Care Act.
Durham Tech was named a White House Healthy Campus and is one of more than 350 campuses around the country—including six others in North Carolina—that committed in November to engaging their campuses in connecting more people to coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace (www.healthcare.gov).
“Too many students who enter Durham Tech face multiple barriers outside of the classroom that jeopardize their ability to succeed at the college,” said Dr. Christine Kelly-Kleese, vice president for Student Engagement, Development, and Support at Durham Tech. “Many of our students are balancing work and family obligations, and we know that a single medical issue, without the security of affordable health insurance, could stall their progress toward accomplishing their educational goals. As an institution, we are committed to tapping our local resources to ensure that our students are able to thrive inside and outside of the classroom.”
To engage students and sign them up for health insurance under the ACA, Durham Tech partnered with MDC, a local nonprofit that has been conducting outreach and enrollment activities for the past three years in the Triangle. MDC is part of a statewide coalition of 13 nonprofit health, legal, and social service organizations that is led by Legal Aid of North Carolina under a federal grant. Consumers can call North Carolina’s toll-free navigator hotline at 1-855-733-3711 or visit gcaconnector.org to schedule an inperson appointment with a navigator.
Durham Tech continues to host in-person enrollment appointments on campus with MDC’s federally certified health insurance navigators, as well as organize crossdiscipline educational events, distribute flyers and brochures, email the Durham Tech community, and promote enrollment messages on the college’s social media platforms.
For the past 50 years, MDC has helped organizations and communities close the gaps that separate people from opportunity by creating equity – removing the social, financial, and educational barriers that make it harder for some individuals to take advantage of our country’s opportunities.
“Our partnership with MDC enables us to provide a set of valuable information and services to our students. Having local experts on campus to meet one-on-one with our students really increases their confidence in navigating a complex issue like health insurance,” Dr. Kelly-Kleese said.
The First Lady will present Durham Tech with a certificate signed by President Obama. In attendance from Durham Tech and MDC during Healthy Campus Challenge Day will be Greg Bellamy, Dean of College and Career Readiness; Gilbert Umberger, Student Activities Coordinator; and Scott Edmonds, Program Manager from MDC.
Community colleges are a particular focus of the White House Healthy Campus Challenge because they reach a broad audience of students of all ages—many with families— and rarely offer the kinds of student health insurance available at four-year institutions.
“Durham Tech is honored to be recognized by the White House for our efforts to connect our students and broader community with health insurance through the Affordable Care Act,” said Dr. Bill Ingram, president of Durham Tech.
Other North Carolina institutions that participated in the Healthy Campus Challenge include Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Bennett College, Davidson County Community College, Guilford College, Nash Community College, and Shaw University.