Ben’s Friends, a support group for food and beverage industry workers dealing with substance abuse and addiction, held its first meeting at 11 a.m. July 23 at Posana, 1 Biltmore Ave., Asheville. Meetings will continue weekly on Tuesdays at the same time and place. No registration is required.
Founded in Charleston, S.C., in 2016 following a series of deaths in that city’s restaurant scene, Ben’s Friends has spread to other cities, including Raleigh, Charlotte and Atlanta; Asheville will be the seventh city to have an official chapter. The organization’s name honors Ben Murray, a chef who committed suicide after struggling with alcohol addiction.
“The support group is unique because it brings people together who understand the challenges of being sober while working in the hospitality industry,” said Jane Anderson, executive director of the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association, in a press release. “Addiction is everywhere, but not all people in recovery are required to work around and serve their ‘drug of choice.’ Our goal is to make our restaurants a safe place to work for those in recovery.”
More information is available at bensfriendshope.com.
Art + Wellness Weekend coming July 25-27
Events focused on the intersection of expression, art and wellness will take place in and around the YMI Cultural Center at 39 S. Market St. in Asheville Thursday-Saturday, July 25-27 as the adé PROJECT presents its first Art + Wellness Weekend. Spanish interpretation will be provided and child care is available with prior notice. More information and registration is available at avl.mx/6bn.
In addition, a caucus on healing for people of color will take place 8-10 a.m. Sunday, July 28, featuring yoga and martial arts instructors in collaboration with the Asheville Yoga Festival and DaniWay Yoga, Wellness and Wisdom. Location information will be provided upon registration at avl.mx/6bo.
AdventHealth, Haywood Regional earn top hospital safety marks
The Leapfrog Group recently released new hospital safety grades. The grades are based on performance measures provided to the national Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and supplemental, self-reported data.
AdventHealth Hendersonville and Haywood Regional Medical Center in Clyde received A grades. Asheville’s Mission Hospital, Margaret R. Pardee Memorial Hospital in Hendersonville and Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva earned B grades, and Rutherford Regional Medical Center in Rutherfordton scored a C grade.
Before choosing a care provider based on online recommendations, Gail Darren, quality services director at Pardee UNC Health Care, recommends that health care consumers view the rankings in context. “I encourage health care consumers to ask, ‘Is the data in the most recent calendar year? Or is it from three or more years ago?’ Most organizations have progressed in the past few years; changes might have been made, but it won’t be reflected in the public ratings,” Darren says. “It is usually a minimum of a year before anything is reported on publicly.”
Grants power wellness services in WNC
- Jackson County-based Vecinos Farmworker Health Program received a $150,000 grant from the Melvin R. Lane Fund of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. The nonprofit advocates for and provides medical support to uninsured and underinsured farmworkers and their families. “Our mobile clinic helps overcome the barriers that migrant farmworkers face in getting care, including transportation, time, cost, language and cultural competency,” said Marianne Martínez, executive director of Vecinos, in a press release. “By bringing bilingual staff with specific training in agriculture medicine directly to marginalized populations, we are able to offer appropriate services that help ensure a holistic approach to health care.” In the past year, Vecinos served 800 patients in the region.
- The Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation announced grant awards totaling $230,000 to five nonprofits operating in Buncombe and Henderson counties, including the Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County; the Children & Family Resource Center of Henderson County; Pisgah Legal Services; Read to Succeed; and the United Way of Asheville & Buncombe County’s Middle School Success Initiative.
- The YMCA of WNC offers three programs to help people living with Parkinson’s disease improve movement and build social support networks: Pedaling for Parkinson’s, PWR!Moves and Rock Steady Boxing. Program support has been provided by a $15,000 grant from the Parkinson’s Foundation. Scholarships are available. For more information on PD programming at the Y, see avl.mx/6bh.
South College School of Nursing earns CCNE accreditation
The South College School of Nursing has earned accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education for both its bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in nursing. The accreditation covers five years. According to a press release, CCNE is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a national agency that assesses and identifies programs that engage in effective educational practices.
In addition to its Asheville campus, South College also offers nursing programs online and at its Knoxville and Nashville campuses in Tennessee and its Atlanta campus.
Health news in brief
- The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians received the Redefining American Healthcare Award from the Healthcare Leadership Council, a coalition of chief executives representing health care companies and institutions. The award recognized the tribe’s work on substance abuse, diabetes and depression. The EBCI has opened a $14 million residential addiction treatment facility and a $46 million crisis stabilization unit is currently under construction next to the Cherokee Indian Hospital.
- Hinds’ Feet Farm, which serves 34 adults with brain injuries in its Asheville day program, celebrated its 10th anniversary on July 18. Marty Foil, the nonprofit organization’s executive director, said in a press release, “People and families get discharged from outpatient therapy and rehabilitation facilities with no idea what to do next — where to go, who to contact and how to proceed. We help them.” More information at hindsfeetfarm.org.
- Roberta Jordan, owner of Shoji Spa and Lodge, has primary biliary cholangitis, an autoimmune disorder of the liver, and is in critical need of a liver transplant. Because the supply of deceased donor organs is limited, a campaign is recruiting people ages 18-55 who would consider donating a portion of their own liver. The removed tissue will regenerate, while the transplanted liver will grow into a full-sized healthy organ in the recipient. Prospective donors must be in good health and have type O or A+ blood. More information at bit.ly/TeamRoberta.
- Jeremey Moses, a certified physician assistant, moved to Pardee Adult and Family Medicine at, 1824 Pisgah Drive, Laurel Park. Moses has been with Pardee since 2015 and previously practiced at Pardee Urgent Care.
- The WNC Veterans Affairs Health Care System will implement a new policy restricting smoking by patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors and vendors at its health care facilities beginning Oct. 1. According to a press release, “Although VA facilities have historically permitted smoking in designated areas, there is growing evidence that smoking and exposure to secondhand and thirdhand smoke creates significant medical risks, and risks to safety and direct patient care that are inconsistent with medical requirements and limitations. Accordingly, VA’s Veterans Health Administration and WNCVAHCS have collaborated with key stakeholders to update and recertify the policy to be consistent with the department’s commitment to veterans and the community.”
- Our VOICE announced Marisol Colette as its board president for 2019-20.