Leadership Team

Leading by example - one vision, one focus.

Over four decades, MAHEC has developed national models of care and a reputation for educational excellence. Our patients receive exceptional healthcare from providers who are highly qualified and extremely dedicated. Our faculty mentor and train the best and the brightest in medicine to become leaders in WNC and beyond, Instilling not only a passion for learning and medical excellence, but a love for the mountains and the people who live here. As a result, many MAHEC graduates stay in WNC to become great physicians and dentists for you and your family.

The timing is perfect. Our nation’s healthcare is transforming, and for the first time, there is recognition that we must have a stronger primary care foundation. We are catching up with research that documents how an investment in primary care leads to a healthier community and cost-effective healthcare. MAHEC is poised as a leader in the center of these changes, and we remain committed to:

•    high quality, compassionate healthcare;
•    excellence in medical residencies, fellowships, and student education; and
•    innovation and leadership for healthcare in WNC and beyond.

We are unique. As a medical teaching center, we embrace quality, creativity, and change.

-- Jeff Heck, MD, MAHEC President and CEO


Making a difference in the lives of others – that is what MAHEC is all about. Whether it is one of our many educational programs or care you receive from a physician trained by MAHEC – we are making a positive impact by improving the health of our communities one person at a time. At the core of our work lies a vision of care delivery that is innovative, high quality, affordable and accessible for people from all walks of life. As an organization, we embrace the challenges of the current healthcare environment and are inspired to always try harder – always strive for excellence.

-- Tammy Wood,MBA, Chief Operating Officer


Anywhere you look in Western North Carolina, and throughout the state, you will see the nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, Family Physicians, Geriatricians, and Hospice/Palliative Medicine Physicians who trained in the MAHEC Division of Family Medicine. We passionately pursue the goal of improving the health of the people of the region through patient care, research, community service, and innovation in the delivery of medical education and health services. WNC currently has an estimated shortage of 140 primary care physicians, and the need will increase as access to primary care expands with healthcare reform, and as our population ages. That is our challenge. It is a privilege to work for MAHEC, with the dedicated teachers and practitioners who support our culture of service, compassion, and mentorship for the next generation of healthcare leaders.

-- Steve Hulkower, MD, Director, Division of Family Medicine

Women’s health care is the key to the forward motion of the healthcare system and the further development of our society and culture. Healthy women build healthy communities.  It is our vision to create a region of women empowered to live a healthy lives rich in opportunities As we train future physicians in OB/GYN we are dedicated to ensuring those physicians have skills to work in multidisciplinary teams, collaborate, consult and lead the healthcare system to patient centered care.  The MAHEC OB/GYN department is full of experts, healers, teachers, and lifelong learners and we are privileged and honored to be serving the women of Western North Carolina.

-- Beth Buys, MD, Director, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

W. B. Yeats once said “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” MAHEC is dedicated to providing continuing education programs and meaningful conferences to inspire professionals. Our goal is to light that fire and empower individuals through knowledge, skills and innovative learning to deliver quality care to their patients. Our majestic campus setting in the Western North Carolina Mountains combined with state of the art facilities provides an ideal background for in person participants, our teleconferencing and web-based services allow participation from virtually anywhere. The Division of Regional Services is committed to serving our healthcare professionals and the WNC community and I am inspired to be a part the MAHEC team working together to achieve our vision.

-- Frank Castelblanco, RN, DNP, Director, Division of Regional Services

This quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes hangs in my office, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”  These words strike at the heart of who we are as individuals and as healthcare providers at MAHEC.  The entire dental healthcare team is dedicated to providing excellent oral care for our patients and first class advanced training and education for our residents.  We believe we have within us the compassion, dedication, and skills necessary to meet the needs of our patients and our residents in today’s ever changing healthcare environment.

-- Ed Coryell, DDS, Director, Division of Dentistry and Dental Residency Program


Our team is committed to nurturing students interested in healthcare professions throughout their career paths.  Whether it be a high school student’s first exposure to the many possibilities of a health career, an undergraduate’s clinical shadowing experience, or a nurse practitioner or medical student’s clinical training, we provide the education and resources for students to reach their goals.  Our Asheville medical student branch campus through the University of North Carolina School of Medicine is an innovative educational model that has drawn attention throughout the country and internationally. Our health career pipeline includes efforts to recruit underrepresented minority and rural students and equip them with the skills necessary to practice in rural and underserved areas.

 Being part of a student’s journey to reach their dreams and then seeing them in practice and mentoring other learners in Western North Carolina is a privilege and a joy.

 --Robyn Latessa, MD, Director, Center for Health Professions Education |  Director and Assistant Dean, UNC SOM Asheville Campus

MAHEC’s faculty, residents and students are compassionate and committed to improving the health of their patients and the entire community. Our Division of Research supports these efforts: from providing research experiences for our learners and thereby facilitating professional development to documenting outcomes of the many initiatives our clinical teams undertake to improve patient care. Our Research Team is excited about the growing collaborations with various institutions serving the innovative community that is Asheville. We are developing community based participatory research programs that seek to identify the best way to meet the health and social needs of the populations we serve.

-- Kathy Foley, PhD, Director, Division of Research


MAHEC Board of Directors

(pictured L to R) Al Mina MD, Ken Partin, Alan Stiles MD, Joe Pino MD, Charles Ayscue, Heather Gates, Jill Hoggard Green PhD, Ron Paulus MD, Jeff Heck MD, Brian Moore MD, Bill Hathaway MD

Not Pictured:  Janice Brumit, Casey Cooper, David Franklin MD, Melissa Himelein PhD, Jay Kirby, Henry McDade MD, and Clifton Metcalf