About Us

At MAHEC, we are committed to improving health in Western North Carolina through innovative health professions training and education and compassionate healthcare.

Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) was established in 1974 to improve training and retention of healthcare professionals across Western North Carolina (WNC). We are dedicated to excellence in clinical care, health professions education, and innovative practices that can be replicated nationally.

Located in Asheville, MAHEC serves North Carolina’s 16 westernmost counties. We are the largest of the nine state AHECs that address national and state concerns with the supply, retention, and quality of health professionals especially in rural areas of the state.


MAHEC is also home to UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC, a vibrant academic health center that includes branch campuses of the UNC School of Medicine, the UNC Adams School of Dentistry and UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, an inter-professional medical research department, and research faculty from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Excellence in Clinical Care

MAHEC provides quality, compassionate family medicine, ob/gyn, and dental care through more than 170,000 annual patient visits that include WNC's newest residents, the more than 2,300 babies delivered by our ob/gyn, maternal-fetal medicine, and family medicine physicians and nurse-midwives. In addition, our sports medicine, behavioral health, pharmacotherapy, and nutrition services lend support to an advanced care team model where providers work together to support the whole person. 

Excellence in Health Professions Training and Education

Residency and Fellowship Programs

At MAHEC, we train physicians and dentists to provide evidence-based patient-centered healthcare. Our UNC-appointed faculty physicians and dentists are dedicated mentors, community health advocates, and compassionate physicians.

As of June 2020, 582 physicians and dentists have graduated from MAHEC. More than 60% of our family medicine graduates stay and practice in WNC.

  • Residency programs: family medicine, rural family medicine, ob-gyn, dental, ambulatory care pharmacy, geriatric pharmacy, general surgery, internal medicine, psychiatry and transitional year.
  • Fellowship programs: rural medicine, psychiatry, surgical critical care, maternal and child health, sports medicine, and addiction medicine.

Continuing Professional Development

Last year, MAHEC provided 975 continuing education programs to more than 11,000 unique participants in a variety of health professions from across WNC and the nation.

Student Education

MAHEC’s Center for Health Professions Education provides opportunities that inspire and prepare students to pursue healthcare careers in Western North Carolina. Programs span high school through undergraduate, postgraduate, and medical school to create a pipeline of well-trained healthcare professionals for our underserved region.

Excellence in Healthcare Innovation

MAHEC is committed to innovation in patient-centered healthcare, population health, and educational excellence. Our practice support services ensure WNC medical practices, especially those in rural areas, have the support they need to deliver high-quality care within a rapidly changing healthcare system.

The Department of Research and Library Services at UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC is WNC’s leading source of rural health information and is focused on healthcare workforce development, academic medicine, clinical research, and practice transformation to improve patient, community, and population health.

Regional Economic Impact

Our academic health center and clinical teaching practices also support our region's economic health. Each newly graduated family physician adds approximately $3.1 million to the local economy and creates 17 new jobs.