Press release from Mountain Area Health Education Center:
Mission Health and Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) today announced that effective April 27, Safe Kids WNC is transitioning to become a program of MAHEC. The entirety of the Safe Kids WNC program will remain fully operational throughout and after the transition of the program to MAHEC, and current staff will become MAHEC employees.
When HCA Healthcare acquired Mission Health last year, the organization made numerous commitments to the greater Asheville and Western North Carolina community, one of which was to continue Safe Kids WNC for one year. After thoughtful exploration with potential partners, Mission Health determined that MAHEC is the best fit to continue these vital injury prevention services.
“Safe Kids WNC has long provided critical resources to our pediatric population and their families, and it has played an effective role in aiding public safety and preventing childhood injuries since its inception,” said Greg Lowe, North Carolina Division President of HCA Healthcare. “Understanding the importance of this program to families in Western North Carolina, we sought a partner that shared our deep community ties. We are grateful to MAHEC for their partnership to transition the program’s management, staff and the entirety of its programming.”
Safe Kids WNC is funded largely by grants from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. The transition to MAHEC, a not-for-profit organization, will allow for continued public grant funding of the program along with continued collaboration with Mission Health.
Under MAHEC, the Safe Kids WNC program will continue to focus on the prevention of childhood injury and partner with Mission Trauma Program to address the top priorities provided through the American College of Surgeons trauma registry of pediatric injury, including: proper installation of child safety seats, child safety education, ATV safety, poison, choking, fire, burn and falls prevention, bicycle safety and water safety. The program has also served as a special-needs transportation consultant for the state of North Carolina since 1994.
“We are honored to have the opportunity to lead Safe Kids WNC and look forward to continuing to provide excellent child safety education to our community,” said Dr. Jeff Heck, CEO of MAHEC. “It is critical to continue providing resources and training to children, parents and guardians to prevent injuries. Safe Kids WNC perfectly aligns with our commitment to improving health in Western North Carolina and we are happy to partner with Mission Health in providing compassionate education and care to our region’s children and their families.”
Upon the transition to MAHEC, Safe Kids WNC will continue to partner with Mission Health to provide trauma prevention education, car seat consultation and education services across the region.