Our Mission / Core Values / Leadership

Our Mission / Core Values / Leadership

Recruit, Train, and Retain: Developing the Workforce for a Healthy North Carolina


The NC AHEC Program provides and supports educational activities and services with a focus on primary care
in rural communities and those with less access to resources to recruit, train, and retain the workforce
needed to create a healthy North Carolina. Located in Asheville, MAHEC is one of nine centers
in the NC AHEC Program and serves the western part of our state.


We deliver quality activities and services that our customers and partners value.

We promote equity and inclusivity.

We act with fairness, transparency, and the highest level of ethics.

We value partnerships and support interprofessional approaches.

We continuously innovate and improve our work.


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


W. B. Yeats once said “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” MAHEC is dedicated to recruiting, retaining and training the healthcare workforce in western North Carolina. 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 mountains combined with state-of-the-art facilities provides an ideal background for our continuing professional development events, health careers programs, library services, practice support coaching, student services and graduate medical education residencies. I am committed to serving our healthcare professionals, the WNC community and I am inspired to be a part the MAHEC team working together to achieve our vision.

⁠— Frank Castelblanco, DNP, RN, AHEC Director
Chair, Department of Continuing Professional Development


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 healthcare 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 healthy lives rich in opportunities. As we train future physicians in Ob/Gyn, we are dedicated to ensuring those physicians have the 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


MAHEC Board of Directors

William R. Hathaway, MD

Alan Stiles, MD

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

Alfred Mina, MD

Jeff Pigg

Joseph Pino, MD, MHA

Lindsey Rhoden, AIA

Robby Russell

Laurie Stradley, PhD

Darin Waters, PhD