Our Roots

Blair Charles 2 (002)

ABIPA’s Roots

It is important to know about our founder as you seek understanding who we are, what we do, and why we do it.

Dr. Charles Blair was a talented doctor, compassionate healer, and visionary thinker. An undergraduate of Amherst and Alcorn State, he graduated from Meharry Medical College and completed his internship, residency and first medical staffing in the U.S. Army, where he rose to the rank of Major as Chief of Professional Services, 546th General Dispensary, while stationed in West Germany.

He  came to Asheville in 1990. Dr. Blair was a Staff Physician at the Buncombe County Medical Center and Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care. For a number of years, he served on the North Carolina Minority Health Advisory Council. He was also the founder and medical director of the New Hope Community Health Center. Three years after opening , The New Hope Community Health Center free clinic in the heart of Asheville’s African American community closed at the end of August 1999.  Its mission when it opened in 1996 was to equalize the disparity in treatment between African-Americans and European Americans in Buncombe County.   Dr. Blair also served as medical director of the Three Streams Family Health Center. A pioneer working to achieve quality healthcare for all, his community service includes co-founding Building Bridges, Rites of Passage of Asheville, and The Drum 2000. Dr. Blair was a long-time member of the Buncombe County Medical Society,  and founded  the Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement. Unfortunately Dr. Blair passed  from Lung Cancer in 2009 on the same day that ABIPA got its keys to a new location.  What is beautiful about this obscure fact is that as he transitioned, the organization transitioned to a new level as well.

As with any great movement there is often one person that is the face of the work, Dr. Blair was that original face that was supported by so many community members of like vision. This work is the work of champions that are not faint of heart. Thank you to everyone who set a firm foundation that our current work continues to build upon.

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