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Media articles from 2015

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.”  [read full article]


Buncombe School Nurses Moving to MAHEC

Those employees will continue to serve as school nurses and will be managed through the MAHEC program.

Buncombe Health and Human Services “has administered the school health program and contracted with the county and city schools to provide school health services to 30,000 school age children,” according to Stacey Wood, public information officer for the county’s Health and Human Services department. Buncombe County Health and Human Services will contract with MAHEC. [read full article]


A Circle of Moms: MAHEC Finds Success with Group Care Model

For Sammie Gallaway, being pregnant at 21 was terrifying. She was overjoyed about the life growing inside her but anxious that she wouldn’t know what to do.

“At first I was excited, and then I was worried. I thought, ‘How will I do this? What if I’m not a good mom? What if I don’t know what to do because this is my first child?’” she said. “Then, I realized that everyone goes through that. Even if you are having a second baby, it’s still some of the same questions.”

To help ease her fears, Gallaway opted to do her maternity care in a group setting. Each month, she and nine others met at the Mountain Area Health Education Center on Hendersonville Road for the Centering Pregnancy program. [read full article]


Program Addresses Primary Doctor 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.

A March 2015 study by the Association of American Medical Colleges found that the expected shortage of non-primary care physicians would actually be more severe than the expected shortage of primary care physicians. The study projected a shortage of between 12,500 and 31,100 primary physicians by 2025 while the demand for non-primary care physicians will exceed supply by 28,200 to 63,700. 

The University of North Carolina School of Medicine has taken notice of this issue. It partnered with the Mountain Area Health Education Center to begin a program in 2013 that encouraged medical students to go into primary care in Western North Carolina. [read full article]


Apodaca Championing 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 legislation is being championed by Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, based on extensive conversations with MAHEC. The senator has been a strong supporter of MAHEC in the past.

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. [read full article]


MAHEC Doctor to Retire, Leaves $500,000 for Geriatrics

Dr. Suzanne Landis may be retiring from her work as director of the Center for Healthy Aging at the Mountain Area Health Education Center, 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 at the school, said Dr. Jeff Heck, president and CEO of the medical training facility.

“Dr. Landis doesn’t just embody the heart and soul of MAHEC, she helped create it,” he said. [read full article]


WNC Rural Areas Face Serious Healthcare Shortages

When the pain in Tina Rogers’ abdomen became unbearable last summer, doctors thought the Highlands woman was suffering from appendicitis.But with no advanced care nearby, her husband, Michael, eased her into the car and drove the two hours to Asheville for an MRI while she held on as well as she could.

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.

“Increasingly, there are shortages of primary care physicians and some under-represented specialties in rural areas that are quite disproportionate to the overall shortage nationally,” said center CEO Dr. Jeff Heck.
[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.

UNC medical students can apply to the program in their first year of medical school. If accepted, they receive a $2,000 stipend to complete a summer internship with a primary care facility in western North Carolina, shares program director Amanda Greene. Depending on academic standing, students spend their third and fourth years in Asheville, where they get more exposure to rural primary care. [read full article]


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