Birthing pains

A recent Tuesday afternoon at the Western North Carolina Birth Center was unusually quiet. The birthing rooms were empty. No laboring mothers paced the halls; no infants wailed. The staff arrived for work, but the mood was forlorn. July 20 marked the close of the WNC Birth Center, the only 24/7 midwifery option in Asheville. […]

Blake Fagan

WNC health care providers work to cut opioid prescripti­ons

Drug abuse changed during the 13 years that Adam McIssac has been working as a drug and alcohol counselor in Asheville. At the beginning, McIssac mostly saw clients who were addicted to methamphetamine. But over time “pills,” including opioids like oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin), became the main drugs that his clients abused. Opioid abuse […]

For expectant parents, COVID-19 brings changes, uncertaint­y

For women expecting to deliver babies this spring and summer, the coronavirus pandemic has radically reshaped much of the experience of pregnancy and birth. From online prenatal visits to limitations on the number of people who can be present at the birth to uncertainty about the medical implications of the virus for moms and babies, parents and health care providers are figuring it out as they go along.

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.

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.

Asheville agencies address complexiti­es of opioid addiction and treatment

Health and law enforcement officials in North Carolina are trying to deal with an epidemic of opioid addiction, and they’re moving away from criminal prosecution for substance use disorders. Instead, the newer model is to coordinate care across the divide between physical and behavioral health “silos” (separate areas of service provision).