Grant provides funding for new health clinic

Helping in a world away: Local doctor, Ora Wells, provides children with health care at Fond Baptiste clinic in Haiti. Courtesy of Consider Haiti

Thanks to a more than $500,000 grant made available through the Affordable Care Act, the Hendersonville-based Blue Ridge Community Health Services will be able to provide health care services at a new clinic in Brevard, N.C.

"It's all about increasing access to health care," says Milton Butterworth, director of development and community outreach. Blue Ridge Community Health Services currently provides health care to children and adults including family and pediatric medicine, dental services, medication assistance and behavioral health.

The clinic has been in the works for some time, but due to national budget cuts, funding for the project was twice denied, Butterworth explains. But the nonprofit applied again for a share of $128.6 million allocated for community health centers in 41 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Blue Ridge is one of 219 health centers to receive a grant.

"We have been working closely with leadership in Transylvania county including county government, the hospital and the health department," says Butterworth. "A major part of winning this grant is showing that we have done the groundwork."

The center will serve about 3,800 patients annually and open as early as October.

Mission MANNA changes its name, but not its objective

After years of mistaken association with MANNA FoodBank and Mission Health, Mission Manna has changed its name to Consider Haiti.

"Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, but it's just a 90-minute flight from Miami,” says Todd Kaderabek, the chairperson for the organization's board of directors. “From here it only takes about three hours to get there, but it feels like it's such a world away," he says.

Every year, Consider Haiti volunteers take two trips to the Caribbean country, where they provide medical care and clean water.

When a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the country two years ago on Jan. 10, Consider Haiti helped volunteers sort out what was happening on the ground (“Digital Lifeline to Haiti,” Feb. 3, 2010, Xpress). But the need in Haiti continues, Kaderabek says.

The nonprofit recently expanded its sustainable nutrition program, which distributes goats, rabbits, plants and trees to families. The goal is that the families will use these resources to create sustainable sources of food and income, he explains.

Kaderabek also remarks that Ashevilleans do not need to board a plane to make a difference. In August, the organization will hold its first annual Hotter Than Haiti 10K. The race, sponsored by Asheville Outdoor Center in West Asheville, runs along the French Broad Greenway and Hominy Creek.

"As much as I love going to Haiti, we're ultimately trying to make ourselves obsolete there," Kaderabek says.

Park Ridge Health provides free blood pressure clinic

“What is high blood pressure?” “Why do I have it?” and “How can I decrease my blood pressure?”

These are some of the questions that will be addressed at the upcoming free presentation, “Got Blood Pressure?” at Park Ridge Health in Fletcher. The event will take place on Thursday, July 12, from noon to 12:30 p.m. in the Duke Room on campus.

The interactive presentation will cover simple ways to manage blood pressure and how to create an action plan to decrease problematic high blood pressure. Attendees are welcome to bring lunch from the Park Ridge Café, which is located across from the Duke Room. Space is limited for this free event, and reservations are required. Call 855.PRH.LIFE (855.774.5433) by July 11.

— Send your health-and-wellness news and tips to Caitlin Byrd at cbyrd@mountainx.com or mxhealth@mountainx.com, or call 251-1333, ext. 140.

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