Wellness roundup: Sweeten Creek mental health facility hires director

LEADING MAN: HCA Healthcare hired board-certified psychiatrist Dr. M. Ed Kelley as medical director of Sweeten Creek Mental Health & Wellness Center. Photo courtesy of Nancy Lindell

HCA Healthcare has hired Dr. M. Ed Kelley as medical director of Sweeten Creek Mental Health & Wellness Center. Kelley is a board-certified psychiatrist and completed his residency at the Emory University School of Medicine. He was previously chief of behavioral health at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine.

The Sweeten Creek facility, which is anticipated to open in August, brings 38 additional acute behavioral care beds to Western North Carolina. The hospital’s total of 120 beds will serve pediatric, adolescent, adult and geriatric patients and provide both inpatient and outpatient care.

EBCI medical cannabis accepts applicants

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Cannabis Control Board is now accepting applications for medical cannabis patient cards from all North Carolina residents.

Qualifying patients may purchase cannabis from a licensed dispensary in Cherokee: up to 1 ounce of medical cannabis per day, not to exceed 6 ounces per month, and up to 2,500 mg of THC in medical cannabis products per day, not to exceed 10,000 mg of THC per month.

The application is available at avl.mx/csn and can be submitted online or in person. Medically qualified patients over 21 years old, or their designated primary caregivers, may apply. Applicants are asked to provide a copy of government-issued identification and written documentation of a qualifying chronic or debilitating medical condition.

The tribe operates a seed-to-sale effort, meaning the Cannabis Control Board licenses all cultivation, processing, dispensary and laboratory locations on tribal lands. The EBCI Tribal Council approved a medical marijuana ordinance in 2021 permitting its use within the Qualla Boundary. The ordinance also decriminalized possession of marijuana, even for recreational use, up to an ounce. Plant harvesting began last year. Enrolled tribal members became eligible for medical marijuana patient cards in April.

For more information, visit www.ebci-ccb.org.

Mobile mammogram program launches

UNC Health Pardee launched Mammo on the Go, a mobile mammography clinic, on May 24. The bus is staffed by specially trained female mammographers and provides digital 3D breast imaging and early detection services.

Mammo on the Go will serve women in Buncombe, Henderson, Polk and Transylvania counties. Patients must be older than 40 and be referred by a health care provider.

The mobile unit is available for site visits at organizations, businesses or special events across Western North Carolina. For more information, visit MammoOnTheGo.com.

Endoscopy clinic seeks expansion

Endoscopy Center of North Carolina and Entero-Med have filed a certificate of need application with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to relocate and expand.

The Endoscopy Center seeks to relocate its five GI endoscopy rooms from its Biltmore Avenue location to a new ambulatory surgical facility on Sweeten Creek Road. The new surgical facility would also add three new GI endoscopy rooms. The project is anticipated to be completed in October 2024.

A public hearing on the application will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, July 17, in A-B Tech’s Ferguson Auditorium, 340 Victoria Road. For more information visit avl.mx/csj.

FREE KISSES: Asheville Police Department K-9 Deputy Kora is a labradoodle therapy dog who joined the force in 2022. She’ll be at the West Asheville Library on July 13. Photo courtesy of Buncombe County


Physical therapy practice opens

UNC Health Pardee opened a new location on June 6 at 1731 Brevard Road, Hendersonville. Pardee Physical Therapy is a department of Pardee Hospital and treats patients on an outpatient basis. It is currently accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call 828-435-8320.

Golf documentary screening July 7

Directed by Asheville resident Paul Bonesteel, “Muni” explores the history of Black golfers at Asheville’s municipal golf course, who were permitted to be caddies but prohibited from playing at the Muni until the 1950s. The documentary will screen at the East Asheville Library, 3 Avon Road, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Friday, July 7. For more information contact eastasheville.library@buncombecounty.org or 828-250-4738.

Therapy dog to visit library

Asheville Police Department K-9 Deputy Kora will visit the West Asheville Library, 942 Haywood Road, 2-3 p.m., Thursday, July 13. Kora is a labradoodle therapy dog who joined Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office in 2022 and transitioned to APD this spring. She provides emotional support for crime victims, deputies and anyone else who needs her attention. Tickets are free at the West Asheville Library but are required for anyone ages 17 and younger. For more information, contact 828-250-4750 or westasheville.library@buncombecounty.org.

Bike Fest coming July 14-16

Asheville on Bikes is hosting its second annual Bike Fest from Friday, July 14, to Sunday, July 16.

Asheville on Bikes Executive Director Mike Sule will facilitate presentations by local cycling entrepreneurs and service providers at Industry Night, 6-8 p.m., Friday, July 14, at Gravelo Workshop, 793 Merrimon Ave. Guests must reserve seating at avl.mx/cso.

MOBILE MAMMAGRAMS: UNC Health Pardee launched Mammo on the Go, a mobile mammography clinic, on May 24. Specially trained female mammographers staff the bus and will serve women in Buncombe, Henderson, Polk and Transylvania counties. Photo courtesy of UNC Health Pardee

On Saturday, July 15 and Sunday, July 16, Bike Fest will host free activities at Rabbit Rabbit, 75 Coxe Ave. There will be clinics on cargo bikes and how to fix flats, a children’s bike park and an outdoor expo. Food trucks and local beer will also be available.

For more information about the fest, as well as rides and race schedules, visit avl.mx/csp.

Community kudos

  • Pardee Hospital Foundation named Dr. Joel Callahan, neurologist and chief of staff at UNC Health Pardee as its 2023 Physician of the Year.
  • WNC Health Network has welcomed Laila Johnston as engagement and advancement specialist, and Amy Thompto of WNC Veterans Health Care System as WNC Health Network board chair.
  • Mikaila Mills is the new community engagement manager for Impact Health, an organization created by Dogwood Health Trust to lead WNC’s participation in the N.C. Healthy Opportunities Pilot for Medicaid.
  • Mark your calendars

  • Buncombe County Health and Human Services will offer a free community overdose reversal training noon-1 p.m., Friday, July 7, in conference room N102 at 40 Coxe Ave. Participants will receive information about preventing and responding to an opioid overdose and one free Narcan kit for as long as supplies last.
  • The first class in the Yoga in the Park Summer Donation Series will be 9-10 a.m., Saturday, July 8, at Reuter Terrace in Pack Square Park. Donations will be collected to support Homeward Bound of WNC. No registration is required. Participants should bring a yoga mat.
  • Central United Methodist Church is hosting a concert benefiting Sistas Caring 4 Sistas, a nonprofit doula group that serves women of color in Buncombe County, at 7 p.m., Thursday, July 13. The concert kicks off The Sanctuary Series, a quarterly concert series, and features singer-songwriters Amanda Ann Platt, Jane Kramer and Sarah Siskind. Tickets are $25 each. For more information, visit avl.mx/csg.
  • A notary public will be available to notarize advance directives 10-11:30 a.m., Saturday, July 15, at The Sanctuary in the Center for Conscious Living & Dying, 82 Sanctuary Road, Swannanoa. Participants can RSVP at avl.mx/csi.
  • Bryan Thurman from Snake Song, a farm in Sylva, will teach Western North Carolina mushroom identification for beginners 10-11 a.m., Saturday, July 15, at Haywood County Public Library, 678 S. Haywood St., Waynesville. For more information, contact Kathy Olsen at kathy.olsen@haywoodcountync.gov or 828-356-2507.
  • Asheville Wellness Tours will offer a free yoga class 5-6 p.m., Friday, July 28 at Rabbit Rabbit, 75 Coxe Ave. Participants should bring a mat.

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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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