MAHEC works

to keep physicians and dentists in WNC.

MAHEC in the News

Recent Stories From the Press

North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper to Visit MAHEC
North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper will visit the MAHEC Family Health Center at Newbridge on Monday, March 20th at 12:00pm to learn more about the Reach Out and Read program.  Reach Out and Read is a national nonprofit that partners with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together, and several MAHEC practices participate in the program. [read full article]


Providers and the Community Response to Opioids
Last month we explored the reasons for the opioid crisis and the serious potential for addiction with the use of opioids.  As providers, we have become acutely aware of the crisis because of the exponential rate of opioid overdoses and overdose deaths in our community. [read full article]





MAHEC Yeah!: Adding Up the Mountain Area Health Education Center’s Impact on Health Services Across WNC
The next time you see a doctor, dentist, nurse, or other caregiver in Western North Carolina, you might have the Mountain Area Health Education Center to thank. MAHEC was created in 1974 to provide medical care to underserved parts of WNC and encourage health care professionals to stay in the area by offering educational programs, work at medical facilities, and mentoring. [read full article]



Asheville Professionals Help Mothers Birth Healthy Babies
Local professionals agree that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” when it comes to maternal and infant health. And they stress that preventive efforts to improve child health start with maternal health. [read full article]





Three MHS Students Selected for Healthcare Internship
Project PROMISE (Providing Rural Opportunities in Medicine through Inspiring Service and Education) selected three high school seniors from McDowell High School who show authentic interest in a healthcare profession. [read full article]




New Bus Stop at MAHEC Should Improve Access 
The city transit system has added a bus stop that will serve MAHEC patients. Several MAHEC employees including Dr. Jeffery Heck, MAHEC president and CEO, will celebrate the new stop with a ride on the bus Tuesday morning. [read full article]



Mountain Causes: Doctors launch Mama Maisha to help African mothers
There has been a lot of talk lately about making America great again, and there is nothing like living outside the confines of the United States’ borders to see what makes this country so special. [read full article]




Mountain Causes: Gardening for Those in Need
Tilling a mulch-covered plot behind the Mountain Area Health Education Center Family Health Center for the first time two summers ago, Dr. Eric Smith and a colleague did not have high expectations for the modest garden they helped create to provide healthy food to needy patients. [read full article]



Project Seeks MHS Seniors for Medical Internships
McDowell High School seniors interested in a health care career will take part in a credit-based internship with local medical providers called Project PROMISE. Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) is assisting with the project as part of its WNC Rural Health Initiative. [read full article]

Residency Reaches Milestone
From delivering babies to managing critical care patients, the Hendersonville Rural Family Medicine Residency Program gives fledging doctors a wide spectrum of hands-on training to serve them in future practice. The program, now in its 20th year, has developed into a highly competitive residency experience that prides itself on being a smaller “rural track” program. [read full article]


Budget Expands Doctor Training in WNC
A budget deal moving through the state General Assembly this week would increase the number of physicians and other health professionals trained in Western North Carolina and decrease tuition paid by students at Western Carolina University. [read full article]


Wanted: Doctors with a Rural Heart
Who wants to be a country doctor? That’s the question Robert Bashford has in mind whenever he meets prospective medical students. As associate dean for admissions at the School of Medicine, Bashford is always on the lookout for potential rural doctors for the Kenan Primary Care Medical Scholars Program. “He knows when someone has a rural heart,” said Hallum Dickens, a third-year medical student in the program. Dickens grew up in a low-income family in White Level, a rural community in Franklin County, and came to Chapel Hill originally as a Carolina Covenant Scholar. “People who come from underserved communities are more likely to return to practice there.” The purpose of the rural physician program is to increase the number of Carolina medical students seeking health careers in rural and underserved areas in North Carolina and to retain them. [read full article]

Lowe Converts Springs Health Center to MAHEC
Trel Lowe has something to celebrate when it comes to the New Year, bringing MAHEC to the Foothills as well as reaching a milestone in her career. Lowe, a native of Spartanburg, converted her Springs Health Clinic to the MAHEC clinic during December. Before that, she celebrated her 40th year as a nurse practitioner in November, coming a long way from starting her career in Saluda. “I was working at St. Luke’s in the emergency room in the early ‘70s and the North Carolina governor had established a rural health program at the time, which was the Saluda Medical Center,” Lowe said. “I was asked if I wanted to get my nurse practitioner at Chapel Hill and so I said, ‘Sure,’ and that was to be the nurse practitioner at the Saluda Medical Center.” [read full article]

Dale Fell Health Center to Open February 8, 2016
A sign on the door of a building on McDowell Street announces next month’s opening date for a health center in Asheville. The clinic is slated to open Feb. 8. It is planned as the first in a series of health facilities that will be part of Appalachian Mountain Community Health Centers, which are intended to help people least likely to find health care elsewhere. Only one in four Western North Carolina residents have some form of commercial health insurance, according to Dr. Jeff Heck, MAHEC president and CEO. The rest are either on public insurance like Medicaid or they are uninsured. While anyone can access care, the Asheville health center will specifically target homeless residents as part of a grant. [read full article]

Asheville Campus to Receive $1M
A retired anesthesiologist plans to give $1 million to the UNC School of Medicine Asheville Campus. The planned estate gift by Dr. Frank Moretz is part of a larger, $3 million gift that will be divided between the Asheville Campus, the UNC Chapel Hill Department of Anesthesiology, and the Department of Psychology at UNC Chapel Hill. It is the first major gift to the Asheville Campus, which opened in 2009. “I was very grateful to the university for accepting me as a medical student years ago,” Moretz said. “The university took a chance on me, and I wanted to pay them back.”

The UNC medical school’s Asheville Campus opened with four students. It now has 20 third-year medical students and slots for up to 20 fourth-year students. One goal of the program is to produce more doctors who stay in Western North Carolina. It also emphasizes primary care and rural medicine. [read full article]

School Nurses Moving to MAHEC
Buncombe County will contract with MAHEC to provide school nurse services for county and city schools beginning August 31, 2015. Those services are currently provided through the county Department of Health and Human Services, and most of the school nurses working for Buncombe County will move to MAHEC. [read full article]


Senator Apodaca champions MAHEC's vision for WNC health
The current proposed state Senate budget includes an annual appropriation of funds to MAHEC to expand our mission to train healthcare providers for the western part of the state. This initiative has the potential to make a substantial health and economic impact in the region by expanding the UNC Health Sciences Campus in WNC. The plan calls for adding new residency training programs including general surgery, family medicine and psychiatry. Since 65 percent of doctors who train in residencies practice within 100 miles of the residency location at the completion of their training, WNC communities will see a benefit for years to come. [read full article]


Physician leaves $500,000 for geriatrics
Dr. Suzanne Landis may be retiring from her work as director of the Center for Healthy Aging at MAHEC, but her legacy will live on with a pledged $500,000 gift. The Geriatric Medicine Fund will be used to advance geriatric care at MAHEC and to promote the health and well-being of older adults. An endowment will be set up in Landis’ name to fund an academic position for a national expert to teach and practice geriatric medicine. [read full article]


MAHEC finds success with group care model
MAHEC launched Centering Pregnancy, a group health care model focused on prenatal maternal wellness, in 2013. Its success led to the development of other models of group care. Last year, the regional heath care provider launched group programs for patients dealing with diabetes, chronic pain and early childhood wellness. Plans are also in the works to develop programs for people suffering from knee pain and metabolic syndromes like cardiovascular diseases and obesity. Physicians like group care because they can spend more time with their patients, said Dr. Amy Russell, director of MAHEC’s division of health care innovations and its primary care services. Patients like it because they have time to learn successful strategies for healthy living from their doctors and peers. [read full article]


Program addresses physician shortage
Primary care physicians play a key role in the health care system, often addressing patients’ health concerns before their conditions require the more specific knowledge of a specialist. “It’s not enough. We don’t have enough docs going into primary care,” said Dr. Robert Bashford, associate dean of admissions at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. [read full article]


WNC rural areas face serious health care shortages

About one in five North Carolinians, or 2.2 million people, live in a rural county and are therefore less likely to have access to health care services, according to the Mountain Area Health Education Center, which works to train health care professionals for this part of the state.

All 16 counties in Western North Carolina are considered health professional shortage areas, meaning areas with too few providers to meet the health care needs of the population, the education center reports. [read full article]



UNC School of Medicine Program Helps Rural NC

Going into primary care in rural areas has never been the most lucrative option for graduating medical students, but the UNC School of Medicine is trying to address this through the Kenan Primary Care Medical Scholars Program. With funding from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust and the knowledge that the medical school lacked doctors in rural areas of North Carolina, the program accepted its first class in 2013. It recently interviewed and accepted applicants for its third class of scholars. [read full article]



Transformative Training in Western North Carolina

Since MAHEC's earliest days, its core mission has been to strengthen the healthcare workforce that serves its 16-county coverage area in Western North Carolina. The linchpin to realizing this vision has been MAHEC's family medicine residency program at Asheville (MAHEC-A), one of the state's largest and most progressive training programs. [read full article]



Rural Primary Care Student Program Receives $3M Endowment

The Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) is pleased to announce a $3 million endowment from The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust in support of the Kenan Primary Care Medical Scholars Program. The goal of this program is to inspire the best medical students from the UNC School of Medicine to pursue careers in primary care medicine in underserved rural and urban areas of the state. The rural medicine program is a collaboration between the UNC School of Medicine (UNC SOM), The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust and MAHEC. Established in 2013, students from UNC SOM with an interest in medicine for rural/underserved communities receive financial support, a summer internship and enrichment experiences in medical school to sharpen their focus. [read full article]

Developing Western North Carolina’s First Clinically Integrated Network

Mission Health, MAHEC and a group of independent physicians have spearheaded the development of a new entity: Mission Health Partners (MHP). MHP is a patient-centric and physician-governed network of clinicians, hospitals and other providers working collaboratively in an evidence-based manner to improve patient care, reduce costs, improve patient experience and ultimately drive positive changes in the health of the residents of Western North Carolina. [read full article]

MAHEC to Manage Mission Medical Associates' Practices

Mountain Area Health Education Center will begin managing more than a dozen of Mission Medical Associates’ primary care practices. “We feel like the physicians that are practicing in the MMA practices are great providers. We don’t want do anything other than enhance the care they are able to provide and not take away from anything that’s already working well,” said Dr. Jeff Heck, MAHEC president and CEO. Mission Health and MAHEC signed an agreement this week for MAHEC to begin managing Mission’s practices. The 14 practices are across the region and include Mission’s new My Care Plus clinics. [read full article]

MAHEC getting $850,000 in Duke Grants

Mountain Area Health Education Center is getting a two-year, $500,000 grant for an initiative aimed at identifying people who are at risk of heart disease and stroke. The Healthy Heart grant will focus on the Woodfin area in the first year and Enka-Candler in the second year. [read full article]

A Dream with a Plan

Most residents and visitors to the Lake Lure area have been required to make profider choices and travel long distances - north, south, east or west - for health and dental care. The new Lake Lure Professional Park will be situated on a picturesque site near Ingles with a view of the lake. It is scheduled to open in the summer of 2014. [read full article]

MAHEC to Open Health Center in Enka/Cander

Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry is planning a building to house its Hominy Valley crisis ministry along with a primary care practice. “It will really be a community service center,” said the Rev. Scott Rogers, ABCCM executive director. A groundbreaking for the 9,600-square-foot building is slated for 4 p.m. Friday. The building, which will be on U.S. 19-23, will be called the Ferguson Charitable Center. It is a partnership with Mountain Area Health Education Center and will house the MAHEC Family Health Center at Enka/Candler. Dr. Eric Smith will provide primary care to patients on a sliding scale. [read full article]

Programs Move to New Location

At MAHEC’s old facility on Weaver Boulevard, a lunch room doubled as a classroom and meeting space. “We used to have to kick staff out of the commons area so that we could actually have a meeting of more than 10 people,” said Dr. Steve Hulkower, director of Family Medicine for the Mountain Area Health Education Center. [read full article]


Cane Creek Family Health Center Celebrates Seventh Anniversary

"It's a different paradigm of medicine. We get paid the same whether we see more patients or not. We are not incentivized to do more procedures to generate income; we can emphasize quality over quantity of care." [read full article]

Putting Mom and Baby at the Center of C-Sections

Dr. Sigmon’s vision was to place the mother and the baby at the center of care and she researched and adopted a model from the United Kingdom. “Our goal is to make a special experience with positive birth memories for mothers who must have a c-section. There is very little difference in the surgical techniques; we primarily re-orient the medical staff to focus on the bonding needs of mother and baby." [read full article]





A healthy perspective: A local doctor ponders a future of better care

“To be a good guy, you care about low-income populations, you care about those who are sick for whatever reason and who are not healthy.  You care about children who need to have the right nurturing and healthy environment to be successful,”  said Dr. Jeffery Heck, MAHEC President and CEO. [read full article]




MAHEC outreach should boost vital mission

“MAHEC might not be very well-known, but it is one of the most vital elements in Western North Carolina’s medical system.” [read full article]

Help MAHEC Help the Community

“I guarantee that if most anyone around here looked at their family physician, probably half of them are going to be MAHEC graduates,” said Dr. Brian Moore. [read full article]




Is There a Doctor in the Hills?

“There’s a general misconception that practicing rural medicine you’re not using the very latest and greatest.  That oversells the science and undersells the art of medicine,”  said MAHEC physician, Grey Tilden. [read full article]




Physician crunch must be addressed in US, NC

“Nationally, 20 percent of the population lives in rural areas.  Nine percent of physicians live in rural areas," Heck said.  “The latest survey of graduates from U.S. medical schools is only 3 percent plan to practice in a rural area.” [read full article]

Residency program graduates head into rural medicine

“Dr. Evan Beasley knew what he was looking for in a residency program…. a place similar to home where he could take advantage of the outdoors, enjoy the continuation of his education, become a doctor and raise a family.”

He found that new home in Hendersonville. Beasley, 30, is one of four doctors who will graduate from the Henderson County Residency Program, taught by Mountain Area Health Education Center, Pardee and, soon, Blue Ridge Community Health Center, on Thursday. [read full article]


WNC needs more primary care providers

“Your first patient might be a newborn, and then you see a 90-year-old woman and then a pregnant woman,” she said. “Not every doctor is comfortable treating that wide range of patients,” said Dr. Elsie Osei-Nkansah, MAHEC graduate.

“I think it (primary care) is probably the most challenging thing you can do,” he said. “You are taking care of pediatrics, adults. … It’s a huge field," said Dr. Ben Stepp, MAHEC graduate. [read full article]