Our Mission / Core Values / Leadership


MAHEC’s mission is to train the next generation of healthcare professionals for Western North Carolina
through quality healthcare, innovative education, and best practice models that can be replicated nationally.



We value Excellence, Innovation, Compassion, and Collaboration.

We represent these values through:
Quality Education, Innovative Ideas, Compassionate Care,
Community Partnerships, and Professional Standards



Civility: We treat all people with respect and kindness, all the time.

Inclusivity: We value the contribution of people different than ourselves and the merits of an organization that reflects differences in our teams and our community.

Empowerment: We value engagement, commitment, and ownership of MAHEC’s mission, work, and budget



Leadership Team

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 CEO


MAHEC is a special place, uniquely structured and positioned to be a leader of positive change in our community - not just in our local clinical programs, but in the entire region of Western North Carolina and beyond.  We are an organization of passionate and dedicated individuals with a common mission: to train the next generation of healthcare providers through quality healthcare, innovative education, and best practices that can be replicated nationally.

I believe that the health of our community will be transformed if we focus on healthcare through an intergenerational lens - improving the health of women before pregnancies to achieve a healthier mother and child, and ultimately a healthier family and community. We can only do this well if we transform the way we deliver healthcare. Transformation can happen by focusing on quality outcomes and population health, expanding beyond the clinic structure and into the community AND dedicating ourselves to ending racism and creating equity for all. 

MAHEC is leading programs and initiatives in all of these areas and I am grateful to be part of it!

⁠— Dan Frayne, MD, MAHEC President


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, Chair, Department 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, Chair, 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, Chair, Department of Continuing Professional Development


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 and Assistant Dean, UNC SOM Asheville Campus  |  Director, Center for Health Professions Education, MAHEC


MAHEC Board of Directors

CHAIR ⁠— William R. Hathaway, MD

VICE-CHAIR ⁠— Alan Stiles, MD

SEC/TREAS ⁠— Kenneth M. Partin

W. Louis Bissette, Jr.

Robert A. Blouin, PharmD

Carol Burton, PhD

Casey Cooper

Bruce Deighton, PhD

David Franklin, MD

Jeffery E. Heck, MD

James M. Kirby, II

Danielle Mahaffey, MD 

Paul McDowell

Alfred Mina, MD

Joseph Pino, MD, MHA

Darin Waters, PhD