Letter: Rebuilding our primary care and public health infrastructure

May 13, 2020


A recent survey of 295 primary care practices in the state conducted by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services found that 34 practices already have closed (11.5%) and 121 practices (41%) have reduced hours due to the decline in patient visits caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This crisis has raised several painful questions for our region, the state and the nation as a whole. Yet the most important question we face is this: How long will we wait to fix what is broken so we’re better prepared the next time?

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Mims Named Chair of Community and Public Health, Helps Lead Asheville-based MPH Program

May 6, 2020

Asheville, NC (May 5, 2020)—On April 27, Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) welcomed Susan Mims, MD, MPH, to chair the newly established Department of Community and Public Health at UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC. 

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Project Access® Receives Emergency and Disaster Relief Grant from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina

May 1, 2020

The Western Carolina Medical Society Foundation (WCMSF) based in Asheville, NC recently was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) based in Asheville. The grant was issued as part of the CFWNC’s Emergency and Disaster Relief response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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MAHEC Opioid Educators Provide Technical Assistance Through National Network

April 28, 2020


MAHEC family physicians and opioid treatment educators Blake Fagan, Shuchin Shukla, and Susan McDowell, have recently joined the Opioid Response Network (ORN) as prescriber consultants to assist healthcare providers in implementing office-based services for the prevention and treatment of opioid use disorder.

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Innovative Practice Interview with Dr. Jeff Graham of The Family Health Centers- Asheville

April 27, 2020

Q: Please introduce yourself and The Family Health Centers- Asheville
A:  Jeffrey B Graham, MD MPH with The Family Health Centers.  We have been in Asheville since 1976 and are one of the largest physician-owned family practices in NC/SC. We offer full spectrum primary care, which has shifted a lot in the last couple decades so I am proud of our consistent growth over time. We have several specialists on board including a strong pediatric team so we are able to offer a wide range of specialized medical care. We have three offices in Asheville, Arden, and Hominy Valley. 

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Message from your WCMS President, Dr. Rick Bunio

April 6, 2020

Dear WCMS Membership,

Over the past few months, the world has seen changes the likes of which have never been experienced in most of our lifetimes. We have watched with trepidation as the coronavirus has slowly infiltrated into one county after another in Western NC and wondered if we and our patients would be spared the level of pain and suffering we see on the news every night.

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WCMS Association announces board leadership transitions

April 2, 2020

Dear WCMS membership:

Dr. Mike Parmer, President of WCMS, has accepted a new position in Greenville SC with the Prisma Health System. For this reason, Dr. Parmer will no longer be serving as the President of the WCMS Association effective today, 4/1/20. Dr. Parmer has been an outstanding leader and champion of the medical society. His integrity, wisdom and guidance will be greatly missed. We wish him all the best.

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Message from our WCMS Foundation Chair, Carol Coulson, MD

March 23, 2020

Dr. Coulson works at MAHEC OB/GYN and is the Chair of the WCMS Foundation's Board of Directors

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Interview with Dr. Susan McDowell, MD, on the Vaping Crisis in Western North Carolina

February 24, 2020

1. Please introduce yourself (background/education/experience/current organization & role, etc.)

I grew up in a rural area of Southwest Virginia, drawing me towards rural health throughout my career. I’ve also always been interested in tobacco topics because I knew people whose parents were tobacco farmers and my hometown was greatly impacted by tobacco. I even had a friend who went to college on a tobacco scholarship designed to assist residents of the tobacco region in obtaining levels of education previously not promoted or available in the region

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NCMS Leadership College Program Now Accepting Applicants for 2021!

February 24, 2020

Now more than ever as health care rapidly evolves, we need clinicians to step up as leaders to safeguard the quality of patient care and to protect the profession of medicine. The KIPL Leadership College Program is a nationally renowned, project-based curriculum designed to foster your leadership skills so that you can have a positive impact in your workplace and your community. Established in 2003, the Leadership College has graduated over 500 participants, the majority of whom go on to take leadership positions within their profession and/or other organizations. Learn more about the program and apply today — enrollment is limited.

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Innovative Practice Highlight: Heart Path

February 5, 2020

Heart Path® is a Mission Health service that is a state and nationally certified, comprehensive program of cardiac rehabilitation. It helps patients look at risk factors that cause heart disease and design a plan of care to lower their risks for future heart problems.

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WCMS 2020 Annual Celebration

January 30, 2020

Thank you all who came out to our 2020 Annual Celebration on Sunday, January 26, 2020 at New Belgium Brewery! It was a very well attended event with over 150 WCMS members, employees, community advocates, partners, and sponsors present. We shared our 2019 successes and plans for 2020 and we look forward to working with you all again this year. Thank you again for a successful event! 

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January 21, 2020

WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA (January 15th, 2020) - Informational meetings led by Gibbins Advisors have been scheduled in seven communities in Western North Carolina served by Mission Health.

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WIN continues to offer free interpreter services to Project Access® patients thanks to an ongoing People in Need (PIN) grant

January 16, 2020

A grant awarded to the WCMS Interpreter Network (WIN) in 2019 will continue providing free interpreter services to Project Access (PA) patients in 2020.

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Opioids in WNC

January 8, 2020

  • Terminology

    • Opioid is the umbrella term for semi-synthetics, synthetics (phetnel), and opiates (poppy derived like heroin, hydrocodone)

    • Opioid addiction is now called “Opioid Use Disorder” (OUD)

      • We no longer label patients as “addicts” but instead someone with Opioid Use Disorder

    • OUD is a chronic, relapsing disease

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