Our Mission and History
To provide access to a coordinated system of health care and community resources for those that are underserved and uninsured in our community.
With a national movement for Cover the Uninsured in progress, the founders of Access Health made an initial presentation in 2007 to the Stark County Medical Society on the concept of ACCESS, which resulted in the Goodwill Community Campus becoming our sponsor. This was the beginning of the development of Access Health Stark County. The first Executive Director was hired in 2008.
In 2009, the hospital systems came together, and with the recruitment of many physicians, we were able to start providing treatment for the uninsured. Our first patients were enrolled in November of 2010. With a minimal amount of funding, Access Health was able to leverage over 1 million dollars of donated care.
In 2013, as the ACA Marketplace and Medicaid expansion came in, Access Health made sure their patients were enrolled. We received our 501C3 status in with funding from the Sisters of Charity in May 2014. Access created an online Stark County Healthcare Resource guide and we were also funded by United Way to implement an ED flier program with Aultman Hospital and Lifecare. Our LPN received training as a community health worker in 2015 and our pilot program with Aultman Hospital’s ED was put into place to assist patients in being connected to health insurance and primary care. During 2015 Access Health led the way with a group of Stark County organizations investigating the training and use of Community Health Workers. In January 2016, Gayle Walters was hired as the new Executive Director. Gayle was instrumental in bringing training for CHWs to Canton, and expanding our programming and connections to primary care providers.
In 2019: We are part of the THRIVE initiative, a county wide consortium of agencies focused on reducing the infant mortality rate in Stark County and removing the racial disparity within the overall infant mortality rate. In “The CHW Project”, our CHWs work with clients diagnosed with the most common chronic diseases as part of a multiyear grant funded by the Sisters of Charity Foundation, Austin Bailey Health and Wellness Foundation, North Canton Medical Foundation, the Stark Community Foundation, Employers Health, the Deuble Foundation, the William and Minnette Goldsmith Foundation, and the Health Foundation of Greater Massillon. The goal is to show that Community Health Workers can help patients with chronic diseases, and their health care provider, better manage their disease by addressing social determinants of health, and providing peer level education and support resulting in improved health, fewer hospitalizations, decreased ER utilization, and over time decrease healthcare costs.