Frequently Asked Questions
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What makes Asheville great?
Our beloved city has a small-town feel with big-city culture. Set in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is the 10th largest city in North Carolina, with over 83,000 city residents, and more than 230,000 residents in Buncombe County combined. The city is known for its thriving arts and music scene, world-class cuisine; “Appalachia meets art-deco” history, and countless adventures for outdoor enthusiasts. Here are some of our most recent accolades!
Condé Nast Traveler: "The 30 Best Small Cities in America" , "Friendliest Cities in the U.S." (August 2015), "America's Best Beer Cities" (January 2015), “Friendliest Cities in the U.S." (August 2014)
Travel + Leisure: "World's Best Cities" (July 2015); #1 "Quirkiest Town," (August 2014)
Business Jet Traveler: "Best U.S. Foodie Meccas." (June 2015)
TravelChannel.com: "Top 5 Pet-Friendly Towns." (April 2015)
THRILLIST: "America's 12 Greatest Music Cities." (April 2015), "7 Most Underrated Food Cities in America." (March 2014)
The Huffington Post: "The 9 Most Romantic Cities in the South." (March 2015), "The 13 Greatest Destination Food Towns in America." (October 2014)
Matador Network: #1 "The 20 Coolest Towns in the U.S." (February 2015)
Gear Patrol: "25 Best Places to Travel in 2015." (January 2015)
TripAdvisor.com: "Top Romantic Trip Destinations." (January 2015)
Frommer's: "Best Places to Go in 2015." (December 2014)
Forbes:"America's Smartest Cities" (November 2014)
National Geographic Travel: "World's Best Cities." (October 2014)
USA TODAY: "Southern Literary Destinations." (August 2014)
Outside: "Best Towns Ever." (August 2014)
Real Estate Scorecard : "Most Beautiful Place in America to Live and More." (July 2014)
Livability.com: "Top 10 Foodie Cities 2014" (June 2014)
Departures: called Asheville "The Biggest Little Culinary Capital in America." (June 2014)
What makes the MAHEC Family Medicine Residency Program so special?
“The people! An incredible team to work with - I wouldn’t want to train anywhere else.”
-Marina MacNamara, Class of 2016
“The culture--peers and faculty are supportive, are looking to change medicine for the better, and are just fun to be around.”
-Kate Rasche, Class of 2015
“The energy of innovation, the incredibly positive, committed people with a vision for future of healthcare.”
-Lisa LaVallee, Program Director
What makes it a great place to practice medicine?
“The healthcare community is very unique… for a population of 80k, we have high quality specialists, lots of respect for primary care, and a bunch of doctors (primary care grads and specialists) who are innovators in medicine.”
-Kate Rasche, Class of 2015
What impressed you about MAHEC when you interviewed with the program?
“I already had MAHEC high on my list when I interviewed, but I was impressed by how many of the faculty and residents turned out to meet the applicants and to answer our questions. Everyone seemed very friendly and happy to be here. I was also impressed by the facilities we get to work in: a huge, regional powerhouse of a hospital (with only 1 other residency program, and we get along very well with our OB colleagues!) and a beautiful new clinic building with everything you could ask for, including procedure rooms, ample meeting space, an employee gym next door, and even a dental clinic directly above ours (has anyone mentioned the free dental cleanings?!). The communication with the program coordinators and with our program director was also very helpful and organized.”
-Kelly Garcia, Class of 2017
What kind of relationship do the faculty have with residents?
“The faculty have a collegial relationship with the residents. We look to the residents as peers
who are in training. They often teach us just as much as we teach them. We want to be available for any questions or concerns that they have.”
-Blake Fagan, Assistant Program Director
Describe the inpatient and outpatient experiences.
“Intern year is mostly inpatient (6 weeks Peds, 6 weeks Medicine, 6 weeks OB, 6 weeks vacation/surgery/outpatient, rinse and repeat). It’s intense but it prepares you for being independent on the Family Practice Service, which admits all clinic patients--laboring OBs, peds, newborns, adults, nursing home pts. You do 3 weeks day/4 weeks night of this as a second year and 9 weeks day/1-2 weeks night as a third year. Outpatient is our continuity clinic, which increases over your three years, as well as rotations with outpatient specialists in a variety of disciplines.”
-Kate Rasche, Class of 2015
“I have especially enjoyed my inpatient experiences here in Asheville; working closely with full-time hospitalists, ER physicians, as well as MAHEC faculty members. Practicing in a large, mostly “unopposed” hospital has prepared me well to work as a hospitalist upon graduation.”
-Bart Steen, Class of 2015
What fellowships are available?
“We have accredited fellowships in Geriatrics, Sports Medicine, Palliative medicine and OB. We have unaccredited fellowship in international medicine and we are famous for the “create your own” fourth year fellowship.”
-Lisa Ray, Associate Program Director
What opportunities are available internationally?
“Wonderful opportunities. We have a strong global health curriculum that is inspired by the long-term and sustainable relationship we have with Hombro a Hombro (Shoulder to Shoulder), which is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in rural Honduras. Twice a year our residents and faculty, along with many others, travel to Honduras to offer their services and skills to the rural healthcare network. That is only the beginning. Many of our residents choose to spend their elective time traveling and providing health care around the globe.”
-Keith Whiteman, Class of 2017
How does MAHEC serve the diverse community of Asheville?
“As residents, we get plenty of opportunities to interact with our community. Asheville is a mix of people from many cultures. We have a large Latina population as well as Moldavian, Black American, GLBTQQ, along with more of the people who come from the WNC Mountains and downtown West Asheville Bohemians. I love spending time with the Mentoring Minorities in Medicine program and have worked with students one on one along with speaking at some of their large events. As a member of the Mission Diversity committee I get to participate in all of the Asheville festivals and let everyone know MAHEC is a safe space for everyone. We’ve started weekly Spanish classes so that I can learn, and we can all work on communicating with all of our patients in their own language. We get out into the schools and work on health goals of the school communities. Asheville has something for everyone and it is a privilege to walk down the halls of Mission and hear people call out ‘Hey Doc.’”
-Margarette Shegog, Class of 2016
What is the most challenging part of residency? What support systems are in place for the residents?
“Residency is hard no matter what. It’s long hours and the learning curve is steep. As a result, it’s important to find the right fit. For me, it meant finding somewhere that would be sure to challenge me intellectually in a supportive environment. In addition to the built in support groups here (heavy in the first year) to help discuss challenges you might be facing, there are regular meetings with your advisor as well as a residency program director. There is also a built-in back-up system so that a resident will ALWAYS be able to cover for you should you be called away to a family emergency, get sick - whatever. Finally, MAHEC simply embodies support – I have never heard a grumble or a complaint when someone needs to cover another person’s shift.”
-Marina MacNamara, Class of 2016
How did MAHEC prepare you for your current job?
“The program at MAHEC is one of the best on the East Coast by far. The training is intense, both in the outpatient setting as well as in the hospital setting. I know there are a lot of family medicine programs out there that do a good job preparing graduates for seeing adult and geriatric patients in the clinic but at MAHEC the goal is to make well-rounded physicians in all areas of family medicine. I am one year out of residency, practicing in West Texas. In my clinic is see all ages, from newborns to geriatrics. I love doing procedures and because of my training at MAHEC I am able to do a wide variety of skin procedures, large and small joint injections, circumcisions, trigger point injections, and women's health procedures. I line them all up and cut/inject every Friday morning which is my favorite part of the week. I also round at our local 200-bed hospital every day, both on adult and pediatric patients, as well as newborns. The ICU is open and I have patients there on a regular basis which I manage alone or with specialist input depending on their problems. The strength of MAHEC lies in the fact that it is essentially an unopposed program (except for OB, but this is actually a huge benefit as their presence adds to our learning instead of takes away), and the faculty are just absolutely phenomenal. I would also add that the training I received in practice management from faculty at our program and from a number of the rural docs has been incredibly helpful as I am implementing a team-based care practice. I still contact those faculty on a regular basis to help guide me as I set up my own style of practice here in West Texas. The beauty of the program at MAHEC is that you can tailor your education to your needs and have ample resources available to learn whatever it is you are passionate about, whether that's clinic, hospital, procedures, women's health, pediatrics, rural medicine, public health, international medicine, research, etc. In my opinion, the program is second to none, and I would choose MAHEC again in a heartbeat.”
-Vince van Acht, Class of 2014