Wellness roundup: County simulates viral outbreak response

TEST RUN: The Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services held a point-of-distribution exercise April 25 simulating the mass distribution of hepatitis A vaccines. The goal was to familiarize participants with the process directed by the federal National Incident Management System. Photo courtesy of Stacey Wood

The Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services held a point-of-distribution exercise at Trinity Baptist Church on April 25, which simulated vaccine dispersal for a viral outbreak.

The exercise was a mass distribution of hepatitis A vaccines, explains Amparo Acosta, BCDHHS director of nursing, who served as the on-site incident commander. “We know that being prepared is critical to dealing with emergencies.”

The exercise included three 20-minute rotations by 60 participants from BCDHHS, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and Western Carolina University School of Nursing. It began with a presentation by BCDHHS’ medical director, Dr. Jennifer Mullendore, about the hepatitis A virus, which is transmitted through bodily fluids. Then William Krepps, western regional pharmacist for N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Preparedness and Response, spoke about the state’s strategic stockpile for public health emergencies.

The goal of the exercise was to familiarize participants with the process directed by the federal National Incident Management System, Amparo explains. It includes a simulation of vaccine administration, discussion of contraindications with patients, coordination with interpreter services if needed and a simulated waiting area at the site for patients to wait for possible reactions.

Weaverville offers free pickleball clinics

The Town of Weaverville is offering free, 75-minute beginner pickleball clinics on the last Saturday of each month through October: May 25 at 10 a.m.; June 29 at 9 a.m.; July 27 at 9 a.m.; Aug. 31 at 9 a.m.; Sept. 28 at 9 a.m.; and Oct. 26 at 10 a.m.

Clinics are free, limited to 20 students and taught by certified instructors. Electronic sign-ups will be posted one month before each event, and sign-ups are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Learn more at avl.mx/dmj.

Fostering resource center opens

The Henderson County Foster Parent Association opened a Family Resource Center at 1507 Haywood Road, Suite C, Hendersonville, on April 5. The resources include clothes, toys, books and hygiene items for foster children from newborns to teenagers. For more information about donations, contact hendersoncountyfapa@gmail.com.

Pardee offers sports physicals

Pardee Sports Medicine at UNC Pardee Health will offer sports physicals at 19 middle schools and high schools in the region. To play school sports, all students are required by law to undergo a sports physical.

Students must have all required forms, available from coaches and school front offices, signed and brought with them on the day of the physical. The cost of the physicals ranges from free to $20 per child.

The physicals will take place in the gymnasium at each school. For dates, times and prices, visit avl.mx/cmu.

Murphy clinic relocates

Appalachian Mountain Health Murphy relocated to a new facility at 4226 E. U.S. Highway 64 Alt., Murphy. Appalachian Mountain Health is a federally qualified health clinic and provides services regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.

The Murphy clinic is open 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. It provides primary care services as well as services for behavioral health and substance use disorders; an on-site pharmacy and dental services are coming soon. Call the clinic at 828-837-7732.

Support groups for LGBTQ families

Full Circle Community Wellness is holding two free series for LGBTQ families.

The first is a free community group called BreakOut for LGBTQ teens on Wednesdays, May 15 and 29, 6 p.m., at 1915 George St., Hendersonville. Licensed clinical mental health counselor Gentry Hamrick will facilitate. Teenagers 13-18 are welcome to participate in activities like arts and crafts and making snacks. Parental informed consent is required for participation.

The second group, Rainbow Allies, is a support group for parents and caregivers of LGBTQ kids. Rainbow Allies will meet Wednesdays, May 8-June 5, 6-7 p.m., at the center, 303 Jack St., Hendersonville. For more information about Rainbow Allies, contact licensed clinical mental health counselor Janet Canfield at janet@fullcirclewnc.org.

WNCCHS-McDowell expands

Western North Carolina Community Health Services began construction of its revamped WNCCHS-McDowell Health Center at 136 Creekview Court, Marion. Construction will expand behavioral health and primary care services and add an on-site pharmacy. WNCCHS is a federally qualified health clinic and provides services regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. For more information, visit avl.mx/dmp.

Gym donates fees

Beginning in May, all new members of Pisgah Fitness, a gym at 151 W. Haywood St., have the option to donate their membership fees to Asheville Poverty Initiative, a nonprofit serving low-income people. Membership fees are on a sliding scale. Donations can continue as long as the gym membership continues. Contact Pisgah Fitness founder Ben Williamson at ben@ashevillepovertyinitiative.org.

Walk-in interviews for peer supports

Sunrise Community for Recovery and Wellness is holding walk-in interviews for several certified peer support roles on Thursday, May 16, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at 209 Tunnel Road. No appointment is needed. Applicants should bring a copy of their resume.

Sunrise is hiring certified peer supports to work with the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department to help individuals at the county Detention Center with medication-assisted treatment booking. The peer support will engage with participants in the booking process at the jail and assist with system navigation. Applicants must have a valid driver’s license and a minimum of two years off parole.

Sunrise is also seeking certified peer supports for overnight shifts at Blair H. Clark Respite House as well as roles with the Foothills Recovery and Employment Ecosystem and the Syringe Services Program at the Buncombe County Health Department.

For more information, contact Alisa Carlisle at acarlisle@sunriseinasheville.org.

Community kudos

  • Cardiologist Dr. Eduardo Balcells has joined AdventHealth Medical Group Cardiology at AdventHealth Hendersonville as medical director of cardiology. Balcells has previously worked at Charles George Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Pardee Hospital and Haywood Regional Medical Center.
  • Asheville Parks and Recreation athletic manager Zachary Stewart received certification as a youth sports administrator from the National Alliance for Youth Sports, a nonprofit that establishes standards for youth sports coaching. Stewart is a former physical education teacher for Buncombe County Schools.

Save the date

  • Buncombe County Parks and Recreation is holding a community meeting Wednesday, May 8, 5-7 p.m., at Charles T. Koontz Intermediate School, 305 Overlook Road, regarding greenways and trails in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Staff will be available to answer questions, and guests can take the county’s survey about park usage, which is also available at avl.mx/dmq.
  • Asheville Tool Library, which provides low/no-cost access to tools, and Dave Pike from the Buncombe County Emergency Medical Services community paramedics will hold a free Stop the Bleed workshop on Wednesday, May 8, 6-7:30 p.m, at 16 Smith Mill Road. The workshop will include a presentation and demonstration of techniques, such as tourniquet application and pressure dressing, to stop preventable death from severe bleeding. Participants should dress in work clothes and bring a tourniquet if possible.
  • Land of Sky Regional Council and Area Agency on Aging will hold a free professional networking session for Madison County aging providers and professionals Thursday, May 9, 10 a.m.-noon, at the A-B Tech Madison Auditorium, 4646 U.S. Highway 25/70, Marshall. Register at avl.mx/dmh. For more information, contact LeeAnne Tucker, Area Agency on Aging director, at leeanne@landofsky.org or 828-251-7436.
  • Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont is hosting an open house at Camp Pisgah in Brevard on Saturday, May 11, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (For the safety of the girls, the address will be shared only with registrants.) The drop-in event includes camp tours and opportunities to try archery, a climbing wall and other activities. Participants should wear closed-toed shoes and dress for the outdoors. Girls in kindergarten through 12th grade are welcome. Fees are $5 per adult or child, whether or not the participant is a member of the Girl Scouts. Register at avl.mx/dn3.
  • All Bodies Movement and Wellness, 211 Merrimon Ave., is holding a provider open house Tuesday, May 14, 5-7:30 p.m. Physicians, mental health therapists, doulas, dietitians and other health and wellness providers are invited to meet with like-minded practitioners who practice from a Health at Every Size, or HAES, lens. Light refreshments will be provided.
  • The Greenway Walking Club for Asheville Parks and Recreation will traverse the French Broad River Greenway on Wednesday, May 22, 5:30-7 p.m. The group will meet at the Carrier Park picnic shelter and walk through French Broad River Park. Register at avl.mx/dmm.
  • The Hendersonville Police Department and Hope Coalition will offer a drug take-back event Friday, May 24, 9-10:30 a.m., at Patton Park, 114 E. Claremont Drive, Hendersonville. Community members can safely dispose of unwanted or expired medications.
  • The Invision Diagnostics Mammogram Bus will offer 3D mammograms for women 35 and older Thursday, May 30, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at AmeriHealth Caritas N.C. Wellness and Opportunity Center, 216 Asheland Ave. Patients must have a primary care or OBGYN provider; N.C. Medicaid and private insurance are accepted. To make an appointment, call 877-318-1349.
  • My Child Is Trans, Now What? author Ben Greene will speak about challenges to the transgender community and how families and allies can support transgender children Friday, May 31, 6-7:30 p.m., at Firestorm Books, 1022 Haywood Road. Allies, members of the trans and queer community, and children are welcome to attend.

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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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