Breastfeeding pod debuts at Asheville Regional Airport

POD BLESS AMERICA: The Mamava pod, located past security, is available for use by anyone who is breastfeeding. Photo courtesy of Asheville Regional Airport

Asheville Regional Airport opened a Mamava Lactation Suite Sept. 2 for travelers and employees who are breastfeeding or pumping. The suite is a free-standing pod and located inside the airport past security. It’s lockable, free to use and contains seating, an electrical outlet and hand sanitizing units.

“One of the most requested passenger amenities is a private place for parents to breastfeed or pump,” Asheville Regional Airport spokesperson Tina Kinsey tells Xpress in an email. She says the “Mamava pod is a good solution for now” and notes that the airport’s terminal expansion, set to be completed in 2024, will have a dedicated lactation room.

The Mamava pod is available for use by anyone who is breastfeeding. Parents must use Mamava’s free, Bluetooth-connected app for keyless entry. They can also see pod availability and vacancy alerts on the app.

Suicide intervention training Sept. 22-23

The Veterans Healing Farm and LivingWorks, a suicide prevention organization, will host a suicide intervention workshop Thursday and Friday, Sept. 22-23, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, or ASIST, will teach suicide first-aid skills for family and friends.

Participants will learn how to recognize signs of suicide, help an individual considering suicide to develop a safety plan and increase openness of talking about suicide. Anyone age 16 or older may attend.

Training will take place at the Veterans Healing Farm, 38 Yale Road, Hendersonville. For more information, email with “suicide prevention” in the subject line. Participants are required to purchase an ASIST training kit for $43.25.

Dogwood Health Trust holds public meeting Oct. 6

Dogwood Health Trust will hold its annual community meeting for the public Thursday, Oct. 6, 1:30-3 p.m., Thomas Auditorium at Blue Ridge Community College, 180 W. Campus Drive, Flat Rock.

David Dodson, former president of the philanthropic organization MDC, will give the keynote address, which will be followed by a discussion with Dogwood’s Impact Leadership Team.

Dogwood Health Trust was created in 2019 following the $1.5 billion sale of Mission Health System to HCA Healthcare. The nonprofit focuses on health and wellness, housing, education and educational opportunity, and serves the 18 counties of Western North Carolina and the Qualla Boundary.

Guests for the in-person event must register at Seating is limited. The meeting will also be held on Zoom and guests must register at

County forms group on justice system impact

The Buncombe County Behavioral Health Justice Collaborative is accepting applications from those impacted by the justice system to participate in a yearlong working group.

The BHJC is seeking community members who have themselves, or have had a loved one, charged with or incarcerated for a substance use disorder or mental health crisis; have used services for opioid use, harm reduction or a mental health crisis; or interacted with law enforcement during a time of personal crisis. (The BHJC is an advisory group to the Justice Resource Advisory Council, which seeks to address the criminal justice system, behavioral health and public safety.)

Meetings are held the first Friday of each month from 10 a.m-noon in downtown Asheville. Applications are due Sunday, Oct. 9, and can be accessed at Contact Kathleen Blackney at 230-8918 or at for more information.

Free flu shots for veterans

Veterans who are enrolled in the Western North Carolina VA health care system may receive a free flu shot from an upcoming drive-thru clinic.

Charles George Department of VA Medical Center in Asheville will host flu shot drive-thru clinics Saturdays, Sept. 24 and Oct. 15, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The Franklin Community-Based Outpatient Clinic in Franklin will host flu shot drive-thru clinics Friday, Sept. 23, Wednesday, Oct. 5, Friday, Oct. 14, and Wednesday, Oct. 26, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. No appointment is required.

Flu shots are also available for eligible veterans at in-network retail pharmacies and urgent care clinics. Search for locations. For more information, call Charles George Medical Center at 298-7911.

New recovery center opens

Love and Respect Community for Recovery and Wellness is holding a grand opening event at 120 Chadwick Square Court, Suite D, in Hendersonville, Friday, Sept. 30, noon-4 p.m. The recovery center will be staffed by North Carolina-certified peer support specialists. RSVP not required. Call 595-2202 for more information.

Community food resources

  • 12 Baskets Cafe and Asheville Poverty Initiative serve sit-down meals for indoor and outdoor eating from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. every Thursday,  610 Haywood Road. Masks are required indoors, except when eating.
  • MANNA FoodBank will provide a community market with free grocery staples on Wednesdays, Sept. 28, Oct. 26, and Nov. 23, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., WNC Community Health-Services-Minnie Jones Health Center, 257 Biltmore Ave.

New faces

  • Dr. Sara B. Deacon has joined Haywood Regional Medical Center as an ophthalmologist. Deacon began seeing patients at Mountain Eye Associates in Clyde and Sylva in September.
  • Jaime A. Roy has joined AdventHealth Medical Group Family Medicine at Forge Mountain in Mills River as a physician assistant.

Mark your calendars

  • Mountain Area Health Education Center is taking appointments for a mobile 3D mammogram clinic Monday, Oct. 3, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., MAHEC Family Health Center at Enka/Candler, 25 Westridge Market Place. Call 877-318-1349, option 1, or visit for an appointment. For more information, visit
  • MAHEC is holding its 23rd annual Health Careers Education and Awareness Conference Tuesday, Oct. 4, 8:30 a.m.-2p.m., at The Sherrill Center and Kimmel Arena, 227 Campus Drive on the UNC Asheville campus. The event will include sessions on personal branding, teamwork and implicit biases and microaggressions. High school students, youth program leaders, school counselors, parents and educators are welcome to attend. Register at
  • Empowered Self Defense, a seven-week course at YWCA Asheville, 185 S. French Broad Ave, is being offered for women, trans women and nonbinary people. Students will learn deescalation strategies, how to listen to intuition and mental, verbal and physical responses. Classes, held in partnership with the nonprofit Our VOICE, are Wednesdays, Oct. 5-Nov. 16, 5:30-6:45 p.m. in the YWCA Multipurpose Room. Cost is $60 for YWCA members and $80 for the general public; scholarships are available. Registration is required by calling 254-7206, ext. 213, or emailing
  • The Take Medicine Back Summit, organized by Dr. Mitch Li and focused on restructuring the health care system, will be held Thursday, Nov. 10, to Sunday, Nov. 13. The events on Thursday will be entirely virtual over Zoom or QiqoChat. In-person discussions will be held in the A-B Tech Auditorium, as well as livestreamed free Friday, Nov. 11, and Saturday, Nov. 12. In-person community building events will be held Sunday, Nov. 13. Tickets for the summit range from $75-$325, and some scholarships are available. For more information, visit
  • AdventHealth and the Council on Aging in Hendersonville are holding a free seminar on pet therapy and well-being Monday, Nov. 28, 5:30-7 p.m., at Medical Group Multispecialty at Laurel Park, 1881 Pisgah Drive in Hendersonville. Register at

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About Jessica Wakeman
Jessica Wakeman is an Asheville-based reporter for Mountain Xpress. She has been published in Rolling Stone, Glamour, New York magazine's The Cut, Bustle and many other publications. She was raised in Connecticut and holds a Bachelor's degree in journalism from New York University. Follow me @jessicawakeman

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