Wellness roundup: Mercy Urgent Care extends hours

EXTENDED HOURS: Mercy Urgent Care, a nonprofit urgent care network, expanded hours at two locations beginning April 23. Photo courtesy of Mercy Urgent Care

Mercy Urgent Care, a nonprofit urgent care network, expanded hours at two locations April 23. The South Asheville clinic, 1833 Hendersonville Road, and the East Asheville clinic, 1272 Tunnel Road, are open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.

Mercy Urgent Care has two other locations in Buncombe County and one each in Haywood, Polk, Transylvania and Yancey counties. The hours for those locations are unchanged. For more information visit mercyurgentcare.org.

Asheville gets good marks for air quality

The American Lung Association’s 2023 State of the Air report listed the Asheville-Marion-Brevard metro as one of the cleanest areas in the country for ozone pollution (also known as smog) and short-term particle pollution, as well as No. 14 nationwide for cleanest in year-round particle pollution (also known as particulate matter).

The annual report analyzes air quality and monitors air pollution that may affect respiratory health. Read more about the findings at avl.mx/cmt.

Dates set for student-athlete physicals

UNC Health Pardee and Southeastern Sports Medicine and Orthopedics will administer sports physicals for the 2023-24 school year to local students who play sports.

The physicals will take place from May 1-June 1 in the gymnasiums of 19 local middle and high schools. For dates and locations of the physicals, visit avl.mx/cmu.

Registration forms for the physicals are available from respective team coaches or school front offices. Each student must bring a completed registration form with a parent’s signature on the day of the physical. Some physicals are free, while others will cost $15-$20.

All students are required by state law to receive an annual physical each academic year to play sports.

(Pardee UNC Health Care changed its name to UNC Health Pardee, effective April 3. No aspect of care has changed; the not-for-profit health care system will remain locally owned and continue to be managed by the UNC Health system.)

Free swim lessons May 6 and 13

The YWCA will host a free swim lesson and water safety event for families 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays, May 6 and 13. Family swim time in the facility’s warm indoor pool will follow. Space is limited, and priority is given to families who qualify for swim lesson scholarships. For more information about swim lessons and income-based assistance for other programs, call 828-254-7206, ext. 110. Apply for a swim scholarship at avl.mx/cmh.

Pickup for free OTC medicines May 5

The Mobile Free Pharmacy will dispense free over-the-counter medications to low-income individuals 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, May 5, at Arthur R. Edington Education and Career Center, 133 Livingston St.

Medicines will include pain relief, eye care, reading glasses, allergy medicines, cold and cough medicines, vitamins, digestive aids, children’s medicines and first aid items. Participants are asked to preorder items online at avl.mx/cmf. Individuals who are unable to order online may select items at the event while supplies last.

The Mobile Free Pharmacy is run by NC MedAssist, a statewide nonprofit that seeks to make over-the-counter medications accessible. Contact Anita Boswell-Russell at aboswellrussell@medassist.org with questions.

Arts internship opportunity

The Rosemary Kennedy Internship Initiative is funding two internships at Asheville Art Museum for youths with disabilities, ages 15-22.

The internship is designed for young people interested in exploring a career in the arts or furthering an arts education. Interns will be asked to work 40 hours per week over a two-month period. They may begin upon submission of their application and must complete the internship by the end of August. Internships include a $500 stipend.

The initiative is named for Rosemary Kennedy, President John F. Kennedy‘s sister, who had disabilities. The initiative also funds arts organizations nationwide and enables them to offer opportunities for youths with disabilities.

For more information, contact Kate Faulkner, Asheville Art Museum director of learning and engagement, at 828-253-3227, ext. 122, or kfaulkner@ashevilleart.org.

Volunteer opportunity

The Buncombe County Violence Prevention Task Force is seeking adult participants. The task force is a project of Buncombe Partners in Prevention, a collaboration involving Helpmate, Mountain Child Advocacy Center and Our VOICE.

Task force participants meet monthly to address sexual violence prevention and consent education in school settings. Potential participants must submit a membership application in English or Spanish at avl.mx/cm8. A member of the implementation team will review and follow up after submission. For more information visit bcviolenceprevention.org.

Wellness programs funded

The Black Mountain-Swannanoa Valley Endowment Fund awarded several health and wellness grants to schools and nonprofits for 2023. Among other grantees, Charles D. Owen Middle School in Swannanoa received $4,000 to create calming spaces for students experiencing anxiety; Black Mountain Counseling Center received $10,000 for mental health therapy for individuals experiencing substance use disorder; Helpmate received $10,000 for an outreach program for domestic violence survivors; and Bounty & Soul received $7,500 for a wellness program at a food distribution site.

The fund is a permanent charitable endowment established by residents of Black Mountain and Swannanoa; contributions are pooled and invested by the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. More information about BMSVEF is available at avl.mx/cmd.

New urgent care in Arden

AFC Urgent Care opened at 1 Brian Blvd, Unit 102, Arden, on April 14 for walk-in urgent care for ages 6 months and older. Services include sick visits, sports physicals, sexually transmitted disease testing, vaccinations and laboratory services.

AFC, or American Family Care, has 300 franchises nationwide. The Asheville location is independently owned and operated by Larry Kugler, and its medical directors are Drs. Todd Rudolph and Natasha Ballard.

The hours are 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. More information is available at AFCUrgentCareArdenNC.com.

Students assist at wellness startup

Students in the consulting practicum of UNC Asheville, taught by associate professor of management Susan Clark in the department of business, spent the previous semester developing marketing strategies for two fitness-focused subscription boxes, the RunnerBox and the RiderBox. The UNCA students shadowed the founders and presented final deliverables on April 28 at The Wedge Brewery.


RUNNING WILD: Students in the consulting practicum of UNC Asheville, taught by associate professor of management Susan Clark, pose on campus with the mascot for RunnerBox, a wellness startup they worked on this semester. Photo courtesy of Clark


Welcome aboard

  • The Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services has welcomed Dr. Ellis Matheson as public health director. Most recently, Matheson was the director of nursing and clinical services coordinator at BCHHS.
  • Wafeeq Amin will serve as interim executive director and Bryson Castel has joined as program support specialist at Eleanor Health Foundation, a nonprofit that expands access to addiction prevention and treatment.
  • Jody Schmit has joined Western North Carolina Community Health Services as a certified nurse midwife. She can provide gynecologic care and care during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. To schedule an appointment with Schmit, call 828-285-0622.

Mark your calendars

  • Get in Gear Fest, an outdoor industry festival, runs noon-5 p.m. Saturday, May 6, at The Outpost, 521 Amboy Road. The free festival will include a pop-up kids bike park, demonstrations of e-bikes and mountain bikes, and merchandise for sale including outdoor apparel, tents and climbing gear. More information at outdoorgearbuilders.com.
  • Asheville Parks & Recreation is hosting a free family festival, Tiny Tykes Day, 2-5 p.m., Sunday, May 7, in Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 50 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Festival experiences for kids younger than 5 include obstacle courses, biking and bounce houses.
  • An afternoon of drug awareness, education and resources will be offered 3-5 p.m., Sunday, May 21, at the Nanci Weldon Gymnasium on the west side of Lake Junaluska in Waynesville. There will be free training on how to administer Narcan (an overdose reversal medication), and over 30 drug treatment and outreach organizations will attend. The event is free and family friendly.
  • Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont will hold a mental health first aid course 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Tuesday, May 23, at Asheville Service Center, 37 College Place. Mental health and substance abuse challenges facing adolescents ages 12-18 will be the focus. Members of GSCPP may attend for $5; nonmembers may attend for $75. To register, visit avl.mx/cme.
  • The Food Equity Initiative of UNC Asheville and MANNA Food Bank will host a free produce market noon-2 p.m., Thursday, May 25, on Reed Plaza on the UNCA campus, 1 University Heights. No identification or proof of need is required.

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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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