Wellness briefs: Grants boost nonprofits, January health events

ON THE CLEAN TEAM: Project SEARCH intern Ben Milling learned about working in Mission Health's sterile processing department as part of the program. An information session on Wednesday, Jan. 16, will provide details about Project SEARCH for prospective interns and their families. Photo courtesy of The Arc of North Carolina

A $730,000 grant announced in December will allow three Henderson County organizations to expand services to people from vulnerable demographics. The money comes from the Duke Endowment, a private foundation based in Charlotte.

The grant recipients include AdventHealth (the former Park Ridge Health), Safelight and The Free Clinics. Using the new funding, the partners will:

  • Provide primary, obstetrical, gynecological and behavioral health care from AdventHealth Medical Group Multispecialty at Flat Rock, a new care program located at The Free Clinics’ Case Street facility in Hendersonville.
  • Use AdventHealth Medical Group Multispecialty at Flat Rock providers and a Free Clinics case manager to offer whole-person care to survivors of trauma.
  • Hire a physician assistant for the Believe Child Advocacy Center.

According to a press release, populations targeted for care by the grant-funded services include “survivors of sexual assault, survivors of domestic violence, survivors of human trafficking, pregnant women dealing with addiction, women with HIV or hepatitis C, homeless women, women with mental health and/or substance abuse [conditions], and women facing the dual challenges of racial/ethnic minority and poverty.”

More information about the new services and appointments are available at 855-774-5433.

Health happenings

  • Students ages 18-30 with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families are invited to a Project SEARCH information session at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16, at Mission Hospital, 1 Hospital Drive, Room 5205, Asheville. Project SEARCH offers a one-year internship aimed at securing meaningful competitive employment for participating young adults with disabilities. A second session will be offered at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, in Room 6102 of the same building. For more information, contact Tim Blekicki at tblekicki@arcnc.org or 828-254-4771 or visit avl.mx/5jv.
  • Mission Health asked patient family members and friends to limit hospital visits beginning Jan. 3 in response to an increase in reported influenza activity in the state. According to a press release, “Visitors younger than 12 and those who do not feel well are encouraged to call patients instead of visiting them. All persons visiting the hospital and community members should practice good hand hygiene.” The precautions apply to Mission Hospital, member hospitals and affiliates in the Western North Carolina region, which includes CarePartners in Asheville, Mission Hospital McDowell in Marion, Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, Angel Medical Center in Franklin and Highlands-Cashiers Hospital in Highlands.
  • The Charles George VA Medical Center will host a job fair 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, at the American Legion Post 70, 103 Reddick Road, Asheville. Job seekers should bring identification and a resume; veterans should also bring a copy of their DD-214.
  • The workshop “Notes from Nature,” held 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, will focus on drawing inspiration from nature to gain clarity, direction and inspiration. Led by author and life coach Angie Stegall, the event will take place at Mind Spring Consulting, 966 Tunnel Road, Asheville, and will include time outdoors. Registration is $58 and includes a copy of Stegall’s latest book. More information at avl.mx/5jj or 704-293-7559.
  • Registered nurses with less than one year of experience or those who will graduate from a nursing program by May are invited to a Mission Health open house for its New Graduate RN Residency Program 4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14, at Mission Health’s Cancer Center, 21 Hospital Drive, Asheville. For more information, contact Kathy Smith at Kathy.Smith@msj.org or 828-213-5875.

Sisters of Mercy foundation awards grants

Seven Western North Carolina nonprofits received grant funding totaling $255,500 from the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation. Focused in the areas of health care and education, the grant awards included:

  • Community Action Opportunities: $40,000 to support a portion of the salary and benefits for a full-time life coach in its Life Works Program.
  • Homeward Bound of WNC: $40,000 to support a portion of the salary and benefits for a case manager for the Room in the Inn program.
  • Housing Assistance Corp., Hendersonville: $35,000 in salary support for its home repair coordinator.
  • MANNA Food Bank: $35,000 in operating support for food distribution, including salary and transportation expenses.
  • Safelight, Hendersonville: $25,000 in salary support for two additional shelter aid for the emergency shelter.
  • Children First of Buncombe County: $35,500 in salary support for the learning center program coordinator and a student support specialist.
  • Asheville City Schools Foundation: $45,000 in salary support for staff of the In Real Life after-school program.

Council members meet with MAHEC

The Mountain Area Health Education Center says it hopes to enhance its partnership with local governments to foster a unified, collaborative approach to improve health in Western North Carolina.

On Dec. 11, while parts of the ground remained obscured after a major snowstorm that ended the day before, MAHEC representatives met with Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer and Asheville City Council members Julie Mayfield and Vijay Kapoor. Buncombe County commissioners also were invited, but none attended.

The collaboration would include local businesses, nonprofits and government institutions and would foster women’s health to promote healthy pregnancies, leading to healthy children and families and, ultimately, success in school.

MAHEC President Daniel Frayne told leaders that the time is right to pursue this initiative, citing as positive factors the strength of the region’s health care system, the opportunities presented by the Dogwood Health Trust — the foundation that would be created as the result of the sale of Mission Health to HCA Healthcare, if the transaction is approved by N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein — and the success of health programs across the region.

Mayfield said many nonprofits that receive funding from the city operate on small budgets; those groups could benefit from MAHEC’s leadership and organizational capacity, she said.

“That’s the whole idea, to connect those kinds of groups to the backbone to give them the kind of support they need to be successful and plug them into the piece of the puzzle where they fit,” Frayne said.

Jennifer Maurer, the external communications manager for MAHEC, said the initiative has not yet reached the proposal stage. Instead, the meeting in December was envisioned as a way to get the conversation started, she said.

With additional reporting by David Floyd.

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About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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