Wellness in brief: Dogwood Health Trust shifts board makeup

Richard Houck, Fred Jones and José McLoughlin
TRIPLE PLAY: From left, retired Rear Adm. Richard Houck, attorney Fred Jones and Bishop José McLoughlin are joining the board of the Dogwood Health Trust. Photos courtesy of DHT

Houck, Jones, McLoughlin join DHT board

Change is afoot on the board of the Dogwood Health Trust, Western North Carolina’s largest charitable organization. As Dr. John Ball, who also chaired the board of Mission Health before the nonprofit system’s purchase by HCA Healthcare and subsequent creation of the DHT, leaves the trust’s leadership, three new members from outside Buncombe County are joining.

From Transylvania County comes retired Rear Adm. Richard Houck, who has previously served on a committee that monitored the DHT’s compliance with the terms of the Mission sale. The former Coast Guard leader brings extensive logistical experience to the board, including his role in coordinating joint military and law enforcement exercises after 9/11.

Fred Jones, a Franklin-based attorney with experience in real estate and corporate law, represents Macon County, while Bishop José McLoughlin of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina represents Henderson County. McLoughlin also becomes the second Hispanic member of a board that has established equity as a fundamental commitment, joining fellow Henderson resident Vivian Bolaños on the 15-member body.

The personnel shift completes the changes stipulated by N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein as part of his approval for the Mission sale. In 2019, Stein had required that the DHT board reduce its Buncombe County representation to four members, down from a starting contingent of seven, and add five new members from other WNC counties by January of this year.

Area counties continue COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Dr. Jessica Drake with AdventHealth Hendersonville
ARMED AND READY: Dr. Jessica Drake with AdventHealth Hendersonville’s emergency department shows her confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine after receiving her shot on Dec. 22. Photo courtesy of AdventHealth Hendersonville

While COVID-19 vaccine supplies remain well behind demand, Buncombe County and other WNC jurisdictions continue to distribute shots according to the vaccination schedule laid out by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. As of Jan. 14, the state is allowing all residents age 65 and older to receive the vaccine, a change from previous guidelines that reserved doses only for front-line health care workers and those 75 or older. However, Buncombe will not open appointments for that younger cohort until Monday, Feb. 1.

Buncombe health officials are currently able to distribute up to 4,000 doses per week, depending on state vaccine allocations, from the county’s vaccination site at A-B Tech. Those eligible for the shot can join the county’s waitlist at avl.mx/8vl or by calling 828-250-5000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m, Monday through Friday. County health staff will then schedule appointments with those on the waitlist as vaccines arrive from the state by calling from 828-419-0095.

Information on vaccine sign-ups for other WNC counties in the Xpress coverage area are summarized below. Many counties emphasize that supplies are limited and appointments may not be immediately available.

  • Haywood: Pre-register for vaccination at avl.mx/8vk to be contacted by health officials once appointments are available.
  • Henderson: Call the county health department at 828-585-4700 or Pardee UNC Health Care at 828-694-8222 to schedule an appointment. Online registration for the Pardee site is also available at YourShot.org.
  • Jackson: Pre-register for vaccination at avl.mx/8vm or by calling 828-631-4357 to be contacted by health officials when appointments are available.
  • Madison: Pre-register for vaccination by emailing COVID19@MadisonCountyNC.gov and providing name, age, phone number, county of residence and email address. Health officials will contact those on the email list when appointments are available.
  • Polk: Those currently eligible for vaccination can pre-register for a clinic on Saturday, Jan. 23, at avl.mx/8vn. Residents can also complete a survey at avl.mx/8vo or by phone at 828-722-5086 to be notified when future appointments are available.
  • Rutherford: Pre-register for vaccination at avl.mx/8vp to be contacted by health officials once appointments are available. Residents without internet access may call 828-223-5735.
  • Transylvania: Sign up online at avl.mx/8vq or call 828-884-4007.
  • Yancey: Pre-register for vaccination at avl.mx/8vr to be contacted by health officials once appointments are available.

Save the date

  • In recognition of Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month, Asheville-based nonprofit Our VOICE is hosting a free Human Trafficking 101 webinar at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 27. Registration is available at avl.mx/8vj.
  • On Thursday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m., UNC Asheville will host a webinar on racial and class disparities in COVID-19 deaths. Presenter Whitney Pirtle is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Merced. More information and registration are available at avl.mx/8u2.
  • Haywood County residents are invited to join Haywood 4 Good, a free communitywide wellness program running through June. Participants can earn prizes for completing structured challenges in areas such as nutrition, exercise and community service. Registration is available through Sunday, Jan. 31, online at avl.mx/8vi or in person at the Haywood County Health and Human Services Agency and Canton Library.

Community kudos

  • Dr. Christopher Chay, a medical oncologist with Asheville-based Messino Cancer Centers, received the 2020 Excellence in Medicine Pride in the Profession Award from the American Medical Association. The honor recognizes Chay’s work in delivering care to underserved populations in the most rural portions of WNC.
  • Amanda Dyer with Sunflower Award
    DAY IN THE SUNFLOWER: Amanda Dyer, center, a certified nursing assistant with AdventHealth Hendersonville’s intensive care unit, receives the hospital’s inaugural Sunflower Award for exceptional service. Photo courtesy of AdventHealth Hendersonville

    AdventHealth Hendersonville honored Amanda Dyer, a certified nursing assistant in the hospital’s intensive care unit, with its inaugural Sunflower Award for exceptional service. A release announcing the award cited Dyer’s role in implementing a new treatment strategy for COVID-19 patients.

  • Pardee UNC Health Care in Hendersonville named Dr. Natascha Lautenschlaeger, currently the hospital’s chief medical informatics officer, as its first female chief of staff. In a release announcing the move, the family medicine physician said she hoped to “lead by example and continue to grow opportunities for women, minorities and all of our diverse and extremely talented and capable workforce.”

Welcome to town

  • Swain Community Hospital in Bryson City added Dr. Jonathan Motts to its family care team. Motts is currently a rural health fellow through the Mountain Area Health Education Center and completed a rural-focused family medicine residency in Washington state.
  • Dr. Cathy Tong, an internal medicine physician, is now accepting patients at Pardee Medical Associates in Hendersonville. Tong specializes in women’s health, mental wellness and fitness, in which she also has a personal interest as an Ironman triathlete. Pardee Cardiology Associates also welcomed Dr. Joe Moore to its Hendersonville staff.
  • Emilee Lazo, a certified nurse midwife, joined the staff of Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva. The hospital is the only provider of labor and delivery services for the five WNC counties west of Jackson.
  • AdventHealth Hematology Oncology Infusion Services in Hendersonville has hired nurse practitioner Brittany Starr Marlor. Marlor comes to the hospital from Four Seasons hospice in Flat Rock.
  • Skyterra Wellness Retreat opened a new campus in Pisgah Forest, replacing its former location in Lake Toxaway. Replacing the Glen Cannon golf course, the retreat features all-new buildings and 9 miles of walking trails.

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