HOW IT ALL BEGAN...
One Sunday afternoon in 1995, the late Dr. Sharon Elliott-Bynum and her sister, the late Patricia Amaechi, sat down together at their kitchen table after church. They were concerned about what they saw around them – particularly in regards to the effect of HIV/AIDS – Durham had a large at-risk population, whole neighborhoods of low-wealth and almost invisible people with little or no access to health care services. Their oldest sister, Carolyn Hinton, joined them. She took on the role to oversee case management of individuals affected by HIV/AIDS; and to serve as an advisor as her two younger sisters planned to implement the visions of impacting the rapidly growing health disparities. They aimed to help close the gap by providing access to care and other resources. Seeing these health disparities, and feeling the need to give back to their own community, the sisters founded Healing with CAARE. The organization was registered with the North Carolina Secretary of State in March of 1996. In the past twenty years, they have been successful in impacting the Durham and surrounding communities individually and collectively.
CAARE, which initially stood for “Case management of AIDS and Addiction through Resources and Education”, has expanded far beyond the three services in its acronym since its initial conception. Today, it primarily addresses the five health disparities with the highest mortality rates in the Durham County area, which are cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and HIV/AIDS. In the representation of growth and advancement, CAARE has evolved to currently mean: Center for Accessible Affordable Health, Research, and Education. From the very beginning, CAARE’s mission has been uncommon in its approach to the hardships and barriers that at-risk individuals routinely face. Whereas many service organizations are only able to address the most obvious clinical aspects of health, CAARE has, throughout its history, stretched its resources to provide a safety net of services that also encompasses peoples’ social, emotional, financial, and psychological situation. This holistic approach comes with the understanding that health care providers can most effectively help patients only by meeting them where they are, and examining all of the possible barriers to a person’s wellness before labeling him or her as “non-compliant”. By providing non-traditional health and human services that fulfill people’s most basic requirements first, and educate them about their health along the way, CAARE strives to eliminate these barriers and advocate for a part of the Durham County community that too often is ignored.
In the twenty years since its establishment, CAARE has grown to become a major health and social service agency with an annual budget of nearly one million dollars and is supported by federal, state, local government, and private sources, as well as the generosity of private donors and volunteers.
Following the losses of her sisters, the late Patricia Riley-Amaechi in 2009 and Dr. Sharon Elliott-Bynum in 2016, Carolyn Hinton now serves as Executive Director of Healing with CAARE, Inc.