Social Worker Receives N.C. Council on Developmental Disabilities Jack B. Hefner Award

Roxann Colwell Honored for Helping Families of Children with Special Needs

From Mission Health:

Asheville, N.C. (Nov. 15, 2013) – Roxann Colwell, Director of the Family Support Network of Western North Carolina and the family-resource center at Mission Children’s Hospital, is this year’s recipient of the North Carolina Council on Development Disabilities Jack B. Hefner Award. The honor recognizes advocates of North Carolina’s families and people with developmental disabilities.

“Roxann is truly deserving of this award for her dedication and support on behalf of the Family Support Network of WNC,” said Susan Mims, MPH, MD, Vice President of Mission Women’s and Children’s and Medical Director of Mission Children’s Hospital. “Roxann works tirelessly to ensure children with disabilities receive the best care possible and that their families have access to the resources they need, including a support network of advocates across our region. She is an inspiration to all of us at Mission Children’s Hospital as we work together to improve the health of the people in western North Carolina.”

Colwell has been an advocate for families of children with disabilities for nearly 30 years, when her daughter, Nicole, was born with Down syndrome. Family Support Network of WNC was the brainchild of Colwell, who became director of the parent support and resource program shortly after it began in 1998.

“I am honored to receive the Jack B. Hefner Award,” said Colwell. “I learned from my own experience how important it is for families to have champions for their rights and their care. I feel blessed every day to work with such wonderful families in western North Carolina.”

The North Carolina Council on Development Disabilities established the Jack B. Hefner Award in 1994 to celebrate the vision and achievement of North Carolina’s families and people with developmental disabilities. The award’s namesake, Jack B. Hefner, served the state of North Carolina as a member of the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities from 1982 until his death in 1994. Hefner was a father to a son with intellectual disabilities and sought to enhance the quality of life for North Carolinians affected by disability.

About Mission Health

Mission Health, based in Asheville, N.C., is the state’s sixth-largest health system and the region’s only not-for-profit, independent community hospital system governed and managed exclusively in western North Carolina. In 2012 Mission Health was named one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems by Thomson Reuters – the only health system in North Carolina to receive this recognition.

Mission Health, which traces its roots in the region back to 1885, operates five hospitals, numerous outpatient and surgery centers, and the region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center. Its medical staff consists of more than 1,000 physicians and is certified in over 50 medical specialties and sub-specialties. Mission Health has seven Centers of Excellence: Cancer, Heart, Mission Children’s Hospital, Neurosciences, Orthopedics, Trauma and Women’s Health. Mission Hospital, located in Asheville, is the system’s flagship hospital and is licensed for 730 beds. It is the regional referral center for tertiary and quaternary care and is the busiest surgical hospital in North Carolina. It also includes Mission Children’s Hospital– the region’s only children’s hospital. Other Mission Health member hospitals include Angel Medical Center in Franklin, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, McDowell Hospital in Marion and Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard. With approximately 8,800 employees and 700 volunteers, Mission Health is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the people of western North Carolina. For more information, please visit


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