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The Access Project (TAP), which was founded in 1998, is a resource center for local communities working to improve health and healthcare access. We are a program of Third Sector New England, a nonprofit with more than 40 years of experience in public and community health projects. The Access Project is a research affiliate of the Schneider Institute for Health Policy at Brandeis University.

The Access Project and Community Catalyst entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in early 2010 to collaborate on issues related to medical debt and charity care. Together the two organizations will explore the long-term feasibility of relocating The Access Project's Medical Debt Resolution Program under Community Catalyst.

Our mission is to strengthen community action, promote social change, and improve health, especially for those who are most vulnerable. By supporting local initiatives and community leaders, we are dedicated to strengthening the voice of the underserved in policy discussions that directly affect them.

The Access Project is a not-for-profit organization funded through a combination of individual contributions, foundation grants, and contracts with public agencies and private organizations.  We are grateful to the following supporters of our work over the past year: Americans for Health Care, The Aspen Institute, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, The California Endowment, Community Catalyst, DentaQuest Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Do No Harm: A Kindling Group Production, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Rodney Anderson Lending Services with Supreme Lending.

The Access Project works with consumer, low-income membership, and advocacy organizations; hospitals and health systems; faith-based initiatives; local foundations; public health departments; and other groups engaged in efforts to improve health in their communities. All of our partner organizations have in common an approach that values the involvement of community members in their improvement efforts and a record of providing leadership in their communities.

In developing collaborations, The Access Project favors efforts and partners that:

Support our work
We are pleased to have foundation grant support, however, individual donations are essential to our work as we seek to broaden our base of support and reach our fund-raising goals. 

Your tax-deductible contribution will help us to:

  • Continue to provide direct assistance to individuals and families with crushing medical debt.
  • Develop a long term sustainability plan for our work on the issue of medical debt.
  • Study the adequacy and cost of health insurance and present the findings to interested stakeholders.
  • Develop new strategies to address the issue of ever-spiraling out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Please consider joining us in our quest to improve health care policy throughout the nation. On behalf of all those whose lives are improved by our work, our heartfelt thanks.

Ways to donate:

  • Print our donation form and mail it in along with your check, or
  • Donate securely online by clicking on the "Donate Now" button below:
    Please note that all donations are fully tax deductible to the amount allowed by law.

Online donation system by ClickandPledge

Thank you for your support!

Cathy Dunham, President
Catherine M. Dunham, Ed.D. is President of The Access Project and was its founder in 1998. She served as the Special Advisor to the President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation from 1991 to 1998. She was also national program director of the Community Health Leadership Program supported by the Johnson Foundation from 1991 to 2007. She was the Executive Director of the National Center on Family Homelessness during 2007. From 1984-1991 she was the chief health and human services policy advisor to Governor Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts. Prior to that, Dr. Dunham was the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers. She received her Masters in Education and her Doctorate in Social Analysis in Education from Clark University, Worcester, MA. She has faculty appointments at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Brandeis University.

Mark Rukavina, Executive Director
Mark is responsible for overall management and coordination of the group’s efforts to provide local initiatives with research and policy assistance. This assistance is designed to enhance local groups’ policy advocacy campaigns to expand or improve access to health care for uninsured and other vulnerable populations. Mark was responsible for overseeing TAP’s initial research on medical debt, helping to expose a problem that had been largely invisible due to a lack of data. He worked closely with several national foundations and federal agencies encouraging them to initiate research into the medical debt issue. He is a nationally recognized expert on issues related to health access and medical debt, especially as they pertain to low and moderate income Americans. Over the past 20 years, he has worked to reform the US health care system as a program administrator, policy advocate, researcher, and community organizer. Mark has testified before congressional and state legislative committees and has served on several national advisory committees working to improve access to health insurance and health care services. Mark received a Masters in Business Administration from Babson College in Wellesley, MA and is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. 

Jeffrey Prottas, Senior Research Advisor
Dr. Jeffrey Prottas is a Professor of Public Policy at Brandeis University. His training as a Political Scientist at MIT has led him to focus on policy evaluation and the impact of organizational and political factors in the implementation of public policy. He has worked with The Access Project for over ten years on a large number of community based participatory research projects. The focus of work in recent years has been on problems of under-insurance and medical debt. Methodologically his research has depended on a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques, including survey methodologies and case studies. 

Contact us

The Access Project
c/o Third Sector New England
89 South Street, 7th Floor
Boston, MA 02111