The Lincoln Community Health Center was founded in mid-September of 1971. The center provided a wide range of health services to the surrounding Durham community, which included adult medicine, pediatrics, adolescent, dental, and behavioral health. The health center’s mission was to provide health care services to members of the community who could not afford care otherwise. Lincoln Community Health Center came into existence after the close of Lincoln Hospital and the creation of Durham County Hospital. Lincoln Hospital and Watts Hospital merged under the Durham County Hospital Corporation.
By the 1960s, both Lincoln and Watts Hospitals were becoming outdated facilities that needed major renovations. A fifteen million bond referendum for the expansion and renovation of both hospitals was placed before the Durham community for approval and was defeated. A multi-racial Hospital Study Committee then recommended the construction of a new hospital. In 1968 a twenty million bond referendum was passed that would merge the two hospitals together in one facility under the Durham County Hospital Corporation. Watts Hospital merged with the corporation in 1971. Within the same year Lincoln Community Health Center opened in the ambulatory ward of Lincoln Hospital. Lincoln Hospital however did not join the corporation right away, due to feelings of mistrust. Lincoln’s board of director’s wanted to make sure that its staff would keep their jobs and be paid an equal salary comparable to the Watts hospital staff in the new hospital. In 1973 Lincoln Hospital eventually merged with Durham County Hospital Corporation under the condition that Lincoln Community Center remains open in Lincoln Hospital’s old facility rent free. With funding from the Office of Economic Opportunity and Operation Breakthrough, Lincoln Community Health Center was able to open in the old Lincoln Hospital building. The building structure of the Lincoln Health Center was deteriorating and in December of 1982 a new health clinic was built behind the old clinic. The Lincoln Community Health Center is still in operation today providing quality medical services to those in need.
By Catherine Goodwyn