At 25, Rathbun House provides refuge for patients’ families and caregivers

The ownership of Rathbun House — a hospitality house for families and patients from outside Buncombe County who need a place to stay while receiving treatment at local hospitals — changed following the acquisition of Mission Health by for-profit HCA Healthcare last year. But the 25-year-old institution’s mission to provide refuge and community during a stressful time remains unchanged, say staff members and guests.

Health briefs: Great nurses, funding awards and programs for autism

With funding flowing to WNC health care organizations from foundations and governmental sources, look for new and continuing programming to boost local health and well-being in 2020. Programs for people on the autism spectrum and children from low-income families who need braces are among the offerings in the new year. Plus, six Mission Health nurses are honored as being among the state’s best.

Cannabis plants

Racial equity and NC’s budding hemp industry

Not everyone is reaping the benefits of the booming industrial hemp sector. Although hard numbers are in short supply, a 2017 survey by the Marijuana Business Daily, a Colorado-based website, found that 81% of cannabis-related business owners nationwide were white. A Thursday, Jan. 9, panel will explore the lack of representation of people of color in the growing industry and some possible solutions.

Volunteers at the St. Eugene garden

Lay leaders tie faith and environmen­tal action

For the first time, the Creation Care Alliance’s annual retreat, taking place at the Montreat Conference Center on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 7-8, will include both clergy and lay leaders. While the first day remains focused on ordained ministers , its second day will offer “learning, grieving, inspiration and training” for all who connect their faith with creation care.

Collaborat­ive community effort tackles rising health inequities

From 2010 to 2018, “Our black infant mortality rate has increased from 11.7 to 15.1 deaths for every 1,000 babies born,” Hannah Legerton told Buncombe County commissioners on Dec. 3. That means that black babies in Buncombe County are four times as likely to die before their first birthday as white babies. And since infant mortality is a leading indicator of population health, health officials say, those numbers bode poorly for the wellbeing of African American county residents. Collaborative efforts are seeking to address the underlying issues driving inequities in health outcomes.