At 25, Rathbun House provides refuge for patients’ families and caregivers

The ownership of Rathbun House — a hospitality house for families and patients from outside Buncombe County who need a place to stay while receiving treatment at local hospitals — changed following the acquisition of Mission Health by for-profit HCA Healthcare last year. But the 25-year-old institution’s mission to provide refuge and community during a stressful time remains unchanged, say staff members and guests.

Health briefs: Great nurses, funding awards and programs for autism

With funding flowing to WNC health care organizations from foundations and governmental sources, look for new and continuing programming to boost local health and well-being in 2020. Programs for people on the autism spectrum and children from low-income families who need braces are among the offerings in the new year. Plus, six Mission Health nurses are honored as being among the state’s best.

Cannabis plants

Racial equity and NC’s budding hemp industry

Not everyone is reaping the benefits of the booming industrial hemp sector. Although hard numbers are in short supply, a 2017 survey by the Marijuana Business Daily, a Colorado-based website, found that 81% of cannabis-related business owners nationwide were white. A Thursday, Jan. 9, panel will explore the lack of representation of people of color in the growing industry and some possible solutions.

Collaborat­ive community effort tackles rising health inequities

From 2010 to 2018, “Our black infant mortality rate has increased from 11.7 to 15.1 deaths for every 1,000 babies born,” Hannah Legerton told Buncombe County commissioners on Dec. 3. That means that black babies in Buncombe County are four times as likely to die before their first birthday as white babies. And since infant mortality is a leading indicator of population health, health officials say, those numbers bode poorly for the wellbeing of African American county residents. Collaborative efforts are seeking to address the underlying issues driving inequities in health outcomes.

Dogwood Health Trust CEO Antony Chiang talks philanthro­py

Perched atop an estimated $1.5 billion endowment — the proceeds of the sale of nonprofit Mission Health to for-profit HCA Healthcare — Antony Chiang talked with Xpress after his first couple of weeks in Western North Carolina. The new leader of Dogwood Health Trust reflects on his approach to philanthropy, what it takes to make a real difference on some of our toughest social and health issues and how he maintains his own physical and mental wellness.

Local agencies present update on battle against opioid addiction and overdose

Over 100 members of the community attended Let’s Talk Opioids, described as a “community update and conversation on opioid crisis response in Buncombe County.” The standing room-only crowd listened as in-the-trenches experts presented information, including the Mountain Area Health Education Center, Vaya Health, Asheville Fire Department, Buncombe County Health and Human Services and the N.C. Department of Justice. 

News in brief: Number of cost-burdened renters on the rise

Hendersonville neighborhood to receive free trees through local program The Hendersonville Tree Board’s NeighborWoods program will provide free trees to homeowners in the Green Meadows neighborhood in Hendersonville on Saturday, Oct. 19. The program, which has planted more than 200 trees in Hendersonville since 2010, aims to grow and maintain the city’s urban forest. A […]

MAHEC students

Statewide symposium spotlights narrative health care

“Medicine Beyond Medication,” North Carolina’s first statewide symposium on narrative health care, will take place at the Mountain Area Health Education Center’s Hendersonville Road campus on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18-19. Presenters, including Dr. Rita Charon, will focus on how an understanding of story can lead to better outcomes for patients and practitioners alike.