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Fellows Faculty Interdisciplinary Team Medical Staff Past Fellows

Fellows


photo Brittany Matney, MD
Hospice/Palliative Fellow




Hi, all! My name is Brittany, and I am one of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellows at MAHEC.

My journey here started in the foothills of Western North Carolina in a tiny rural town. I always knew that I loved medicine, but I never had a clear idea of what kind. I set off up the mountain for college at UNC Asheville. It was here that I met my other half and now husband Nick. When we graduated, I wanted a medical school that met two criteria: in the mountains and with a strong but small program. We hopped the border to Tennessee, where I attended Eastern Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine.

Over my four years at Quillen, I began to realize that stories were the heart of medicine. During the same time, I was able to experience hospice care with family members and saw what an incredible impact it can have on a family. As I trained in family medicine here at MAHEC, I grew to love the deep, meaningful, and sometimes difficult discussions with patients and their families. I am so thankful that I was able to stay in my native WNC and serve the communities that I adore while learning and growing in my passion: hospice and palliative medicine.

photo Goyal Vishal, MD
Hospice/Palliative Fellow




Vishal Goyal, MD was born in Atlanta, GA, where he was raised by his parents and grandparents. Vishal studied decision science at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and was granted a graduate student research scholarship to earn his masters of public health in policy and management at the University of Pittsburgh. He returned to his home state to attend the Medical College of Georgia. Upon graduating, he received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award from his faculty and peers.

Passionate about public health and the needs of underserved communities, he decided to pursue his family medicine residency in Charlotte, NC at Carolinas Medical Center. There he served as president of the house staff committee amongst his fellow residents.

Throughout residency, he was drawn to the needs of the chronically and critically ill patients and their families. He is looking forward to serving as a hospice and palliative medicine fellow at MAHEC in beautiful Asheville, NC. He enjoys cooking without a cookbook, making last-minute travel plans, and trying to explore the outdoors.

Faculty


photo Joshua Baru, MD
Director
Phone: 828-257-4769
Mission Palliative Care
509 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
Josh Baru, MD, graduated medical school from the NYU School of Medicine and went on to complete his training in internal medicine at the University of Chicago Hospital.

After graduation he completed a fellowship in clinical Medical Ethics at the MacLean Center for Ethics of the University of Chicago. In 2006, Josh went on to become a hospitalist at Cook County Hospital (aka John H. Stroger Hospital) in Chicago where he discovered his passion for Palliative Medicine, subsequently becoming board certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

During his tenure at Cook County Hospital, Josh developed an interest and expertise in medical education. He went on to win several teaching awards and helped design and implement curricula for the School of Medicine at Rush Medical College.

In 2014, Josh devoted his entire clinical practice to Palliative Medicine and became the program director for the Rush/Stroger Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship program. He was the director for this program until he joined the faculty at Mission Health.

Josh’s academic interests include medical ethics, the care of the under served, and medical education.

He loves to cook and is a passionate, though not very productive, gardener.




photo Casey Sharpe, MD
Assistant Program Director

Mission Palliative Care
509 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
Casey Sharpe, MD, completed his medical degree at the University of Texas, where he was a member of the McGovern Academy of Oslerian Medicine. He completed both his family medicine residency training and a fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine at MAHEC in Asheville. In 2019 he joined the Mission Palliative Care team and became assistant program director of the MAHEC Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship.

Dr. Sharpe is interested in expanding the influence and availability of palliative care, and in making healthcare in general more person-centered and responsive to the problem of suffering. To this end, he is active in developing primary palliative care curricula and teaching medical students, residents, and fellows. Other areas of special interest include pediatric palliative care, deprescribing, narrative medicine, and substance use disorders.

Casey lives with his wife and son in Black Mountain.


photo Sandra Whitlock, MD
Faculty
Phone: 828-257-4769
Mission Palliative Care
509 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
Sandy Whitlock, MD, has been a palliative care physician at Mission Hospital in Asheville, NC since 2015. She received her medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Following internal medicine residency at the University of Chicago, she completed the Harvard Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship.

After fellowship, she practiced as a palliative medicine attending at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and served as an Instructor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. While at MGH, Dr. Whitlock was active in teaching medical students, residents, and fellows. During her time in Boston, she also completed the Harvard Medical Ethics Fellowship.

Dr. Whitlock currently serves as the Assistant Program Director for the Asheville Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship and the Associate Program Director for the UNC School of Medicine Asheville Campus. She remains active in teaching learners at all levels. She is particularly interested in teaching advanced communication skills.

Sandy has loved living in Asheville with her husband and three kids. She loves running and gardening.

photo Virginia Barnhardt*, MD
Faculty
Phone: 828-277-4800 Fax: 828-255-2944
CarePartners Health Services
68 Sweeten Creek Road
Asheville, NC 28803
Board Certified in Family Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Care

I grew up in Mount Airy, NC, attended Davidson College and then UNC at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. I returned to the mountains in 1989 for Family Medicine Residency at MAHEC in Asheville, NC. I then settled in Madison County, NC, where I was a family physician for over 18 years. I joined CarePartners Hospice in 2011 with a focus on home hospice care in central and northern Buncombe County and Madison County. I am board certified in Family Medicine and board eligible in Hospice and Palliative Medicine.


photo Claire Hicks, MD
Staff Physician

Four Seasons
571 South Allen Road
Flat Rock, NC 28731
Claire joined the Four Seasons staff as a team physician in January, 2010, but has a long history of delivering hospice care in south Georgia. After finishing a residency in Family Medicine at Mercer University School of Medicine in 1988, she moved to Jesup, Georgia to work as a family physician. The southern rural HIV epidemic was just beginning, and to serve the needs of those patients she became an HIV specialist, eventually moving from private practice to public health, serving as the Clinical Coordinator for HIV Services for the Southeast Health District in Georgia.

Claire graduated from Emory University with a BA in religion, and spent several years in graduate school at the University of Michigan studying Chinese. She earned her medical degree at The Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA. Dr. Hicks is interested in the field of Narrative Medicine and facilitates groups of colleagues, fellows and students in order to acquire skills of narrative competence, and provide a space for reflective writing.

Her work with dying HIV patients, in the years before medications made HIV a chronic disease, inspired her interest in the field of hospice care. She served as medical director of Hospice of South Georgia from its inception in 1997. She was recognized for her work in HIV care with a Nightline special, Journey of a Country Doctor, in 1996, and honored as Georgia Woman of the Year in 1999. In 2015, Claire was named Physician of the Year by the NC Association for Homecare and Hospice.

Claire is board certified in both Family Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

She has two daughters. A native of northeast Georgia, she is happy to be back in the mountains, and looks forward to planting flowers in mountain soil. She also looks forward to full time work in the field she loves.

photo Caroline Knox*, MD


Mission Palliative Care
509 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
Caroline Knox, MD, is delighted to serve as teaching faculty for the Asheville Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship. She received her medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She trained in family medicine at St. Mary’s Family Medicine Residency in Grand Junction, CO. After a year practicing outpatient family medicine in Levin, New Zealand, she trained in Palliative Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. Dr. Knox moved to Asheville, NC in 2014 and joined the Mission Hospital Palliative Medicine team, where she serves as a palliative care consultant.

photo John Langlois*, MD

Phone: 828-277-4800 Fax: 828-255-2944
CarePartners Health Services
68 Sweeten Creek Road
Asheville, NC 28803
Board Certified in Family Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Care

I have enjoyed practicing and teaching across the full spectrum of life. After medical school at Johns Hopkins University and Family Medicine residency in Charleston, South Carolina, I practiced in a community health center for over four years. During this varied clinical experience I developed a strong interest in teaching. I joined the MAHEC Faculty and over a 17 year stretch, my practice evolved from Family Medicine with a focus on Pediatrics and Obstetrics to the design and implementation of a Geriatrics Fellowship program. I moved to CarePartners where I have enjoyed bringing the breadth of my knowledge and skills to the care of patients and families of all ages at or near the end of life. I was the founding Program Director for the Asheville Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship serving for four years. I am also a Clinical Adjunct Professor of Family Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill. My clinical focus is Hospice Home Care and I love working with our team. Outside of work I enjoy running and exercise, reading, gardening, travel and ballroom dancing with my wife (who is a bereavement counselor with CarePartners). My two children both live in Boston enjoying work and law school.


photo Michael Parmer*, DO, CPE

Phone: 828-274-9567
CarePartners Health Services
68 Sweeten Creek Road
Asheville, NC 28803
Dr. Parmer brings 30+ years experience in hospice and palliative care, including 6 years as Medical Director for Hospice and Palliative care for the McLaren Health System in Michigan. He will provide the overall leadership for the hospice and home health programs at CarePartners and will ensure the effective and efficient delivery of quality hospice and home health care. He is committed to providing safe, seamless and cost-effective patient transitions. Dr. Parmer is passionate about ensuring best practices for exceptional customer service to colleagues and patients alike.

His philosophy:

“Health Care is an ever changing environment. What works today may not work tomorrow. Our goal is to be aware and flexible enough to adapt quickly to changes to minimize the disruptions in care that our patients need. Top quality and exceptional care are not negotiable.”

photo Aditi Sethi-Brown*, MD

Phone: 828-277-4800 Fax: 828-255-2944
CarePartners Health Services
68 Sweeten Creek Road
Asheville, NC 28803
Board Certified in Family Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Diplomate of American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine.

My interest in Hospice and Palliative Care began when I was freshman at Davidson College. I volunteered for The Hospice of Charlotte and had valuable experiences that greatly influenced me throughout my medical training at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia and at MAHEC Family Medicine here in Asheville, NC. Following my training, I had the privilege of joining the HPM Fellowship Program as one of the first Fellows from 2011-2012. Upon completion of the program, I joined the CarePartners team and began working at Solace, a 26-bed inpatient Hospice facility. Outside of work, I enjoy cooking, hiking, playing music and spending time with my family.

photo Jeffrey Walker*, MD


Mission Palliative Care
509 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
My journey to palliative care began in medical school at Indiana University School of Medicine from 1997 through 2001 where I was the medical student who would spend time during my call evenings with my patients listening to their stories rather than trying to sleep or catch up on reading. The opportunity to know patients and families holistically naturally led me to complete a family medicine residency at the Fort Wayne Medical Education Program in my hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, from 2001 to 2004. During my residency, I found my niche in caring for patients who tended to be on the margins of medicine including the poor and people living with conditions such as HIV who were not always welcomed by other providers. I spent the next years of my career working in family medicine until an opportunity to work as Medical Director at Matthew 25 Health and Dental Clinic in Fort Wayne became available. Matthew 25 Health and Dental Clinic is a free clinic medical home for patients living in poverty and without insurance of any form in northern Indiana. During my years at Matthew 25, I continued to be drawn to the opportunity to hear my patients’ stories and to better serve their healthcare needs in the context of their lives.

While working at Matthew 25, palliative care and hospice were finally becoming full-time career options in my hometown. Therefore, I chose to pursue a fellowship in palliative medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis after which I remained on as Lead Physician at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital and as assistant professor of clinical medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. The position at Methodist Hospital allowed me to work with a new palliative team as we transformed a formerly very part-time inpatient palliative care service into a robust clinical service line.

Though I had really found a home at Methodist Hospital, my spouse and I decided to fulfill our dream of moving to the mountains long before retirement when I took the position as Medical Director of Palliative Care at CarePartners in Asheville. The many changes in inpatient palliative care in Asheville eventually led me to my current position as a member of the inpatient palliative care team at Mission Hospital through which I am also an adjunct assistant professor in the family medicine department through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Mountain Area Health Education Center.

In addition to my clinical work, I am a member of Mission Health’s ventricular assist device core team and Mission Hospital’s ethics forum. My newest professional endeavors include volunteer work at ABCCM free clinic in Asheville and Mission’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Health Equity Council (DIHEC). Outside of work, my husband and I enjoy hiking, Dollywood, domestic and international travel, our miniature Schnauzer Smoky, and I am working on a novel.

Interdisciplinary Team

Medical Staff


Critical Care Medicine
Mark Hellreich, MD
Asheville Pulmonary
Ethicist
Mary Caldwell, MDiv MA
Mission Hospital
Neurology
Alex Schneider, MD
Mission Neurology
Oncology
Michael Messino, MD
Cancer Care of WNC
Pain Management
Edward Lewis
Carolinas Center for Advanced Management of Pain
Pharmacist
Courtenay Wilson, Pharm D
MAHEC
Radiation Oncology
Eric Kuehn, MD
Mountain Radiation Oncology

Past Fellows


photo Haley Neal, MD
Hospice/Palliative Fellow





photo Red Hoffman, MD
Hospice/Palliative Fellow





photo Sean Kitch, MD
Hospice/Palliative Fellow





photo Elizabeth Burpee, MD
Fellow





photo Elaina Honeycutt, DO
Fellow





photo Frank Laughlin, MD
Fellow





photo Sara Warzecka, MD
Fellow





* Denotes a healthcare provider not employed by MAHEC.