Paul Vest and Gibbie Harris at Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado accepting the RWJF Culture of Health Prize from Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO.

For your health: local wellness news and events

Buncombe County receives Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize Buncombe County was recently announced as a recipient of the 2014 RWJF Culture of Health Prize awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The prize honors communities that are harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners and stakeholders to help residents live healthier lives, and […]

Photo courtesy of CarePartners

For your health: Wellness news and events throughout WNC

Mission Health Partners is NC’s first clinically integrated network Mission Health, MAHEC and a group of independent physicians have spearheaded the development of a new health network: Mission Health Partners. Mission Health Partners is a patient-centric, physician-governed network of clinicians, hospitals and other providers working collaboratively to improve patient care, reduce costs and ultimately, according […]

GO WITH THE FLOW: Saraswati Markus treats women's issues such as fertility and menopause with a combination of Chinese medicine and yoga.

A Q&A with Nourishing Life Center founder Saraswati Marcus

While teaching women’s-only Dao Flow Yoga class at Asheville Yoga Center, Dr. Saraswati Markus was approached by several women who were seeking natural solutions for their health problems. In response, Markus, a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of Chinese medicine, decided it was time to open her own clinic locally. She opened the Nourishing Life Center […]

WOMEN'S WORLD: Sharon Roth Mitchell has been facilitating women's circles locally for more than a decade. Photo by Haley Steinhardt

Circle the women: Sharon Mitchell shares her experience leading local women’s circles

At a Peace Summit in Vancouver in 2009, the Dalai Lama declared, “The world will be saved by the Western woman.” So, what can we women of Western North Carolina do to step up to heal our society? Women in today’s world do it all, taking care of everything from our family and friends to our work to our homes, gardens, animals and a million things in between. Too many of us, though, forget to take the time — or take enough time — to care for ourselves, and that’s where women’s circles come in.

GROWING UP: The Journeymen gather for a group shot at the spring Rite Of Passage and Adventure Weekend. Photo courtesy of Journeymen.

Rites of passage: Journeymen helps boys become men of integrity

Frederick Douglass once said, “It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Glenn Geffcken, board member for Journeymen, a local nonprofit that provides mentorship and rites-of-passage ceremonies for boys, cites an African proverb in the same vein: “If we do not initiate the young, they will burn down the village to feel the heat.”

Rev. Dr. Gene S. Carnell and his wife Bobbie portray Uncle Sam and Aunt Samantha at the Pints 4 Patriots event.

Veterans Helping Veterans of WNC raise funds, awareness

Veterans Helping Veterans of Western North Carolina is a new organization created to help local veterans successfully reintegrate into civilian life. Matt Shepley said he founded the group because he recognized the need to prevent veterans’ homelessness and address issues with post-traumatic stress disorder, rather than waiting for veterans who require care to become homeless.

EDUCATION THROUGH ART: The MemoryCare Plays is a compilation of one-act plays that seek to educate people about dementia through theater.

A little bit of understanding

There is no shortage of facts and figures about dementia. In North Carolina, there are more than 170,000 adults with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. In Western North Carolina, over 20 percent of the population is 65 or older, compared with 13 percent in the rest of the state. But statistics rarely touch a person the way art can. This is why MemoryCare, a local nonprofit that provides care for families affected by dementia, seeks to educate people about progressive cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease not solely through lectures and pamphlets — but through theater.


Uniting for seed sovereignty

Groundswell, an international nonprofit with a coordination office based in Asheville, is dedicated to “strengthening rural communities by building healthy farming and food systems from the ground up,” says Cristina Hall, the organization’s communications outreach coordinator.

Groundswell’s Asheville and U.S. Program, thus far, focuses on advocacy, education and awareness about the importance of sovereign seed systems. Locally, Groundswell has partnered with Sow True Seed, a supplier of open-pollenated, non-hybrid and non-GMO seed, to encourage heirloom seed cultivation.

A man runs in traditional Tarahumara clothing. Photo courtesy of Will Harlan

Beyond running

Twin events aim to help Mexico’s Tarahumara people What do a Harvard professor, the editor of Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine, an Asheville expatriate living in a canyon in Mexico and a local film director all have in common? They’re all fascinated by the Tarahumara, the indigenous people of Mexico’s Copper Canyon. While their interests in […]

Families gather to drum at the Friday night drum circle in Pritchard Park. File photo

Keeping the beat

On a Friday night in early spring, a low rumbling can be heard throughout downtown Asheville. The contagious rhythm grows louder as people are drawn into the vortex of reverberating beats in Pritchard Park. The Friday night drum circle has emerged from winter hibernation, becoming once again the heartbeat of Asheville. For some, the weekly event is simply another one of Asheville’s quirks. For others, the drumming provides a source of therapy and healing.

Randy Shaw teaches drumming to children as part of a therepeutic program. Photo courtesy of City of Asheville Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department

Drum therapy

Therapeutic recreation program wins state award Randy Shaw, director of therapeutic recreation at the Asheville Parks and Recreation Department, was not a drummer. Even so, he believed that drumming had the potential to help people with disabilities. “A light bulb turned on for me when … I started to facilitate drum groups and I saw […]