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. […]
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 […]
As Bryan Hodge, director of rural initiatives at the Asheville-based Mountain Area Health Education Center sees it, rural communities often lack the staff and financial resources to establish and sustain residency programs.
Early data suggests monoclonal antibody therapies may reduce hospitalizations in people at high risk for severe COVID-19 complications by 70%. Limited supplies are now available in Western North Carolina.
Telehealth was already on the rise pre-pandemic, but COVID-19 has made it the new normal. Patients are ditching crowded waiting rooms en masse, opting to talk to providers from the privacy of their home.
The collaborative effort is meant to quell community fears and rumors about COVID-19 in K-12 school settings, said Buncombe County Schools Superintendent Tony Baldwin. The first report, shared Nov. 5, identified eight cases across six schools.
Based on antibody tests from six areas of the U.S., the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are an additional 10 coronavirus infections for each reported case of COVID-19. Xpress sought to determine if a similar pattern of hidden cases might hold true for the area’s coronavirus infections.
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.
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.
“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.
Health care advocates say improving children’s well-being requires providing access to health insurance and health care services for their parents. While the majority of Buncombe County’s children from low-income families are covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program or Medicaid, many of their parents lack coverage.
“Clearly, we already have both the expertise and the commitment to improve lives in our region. What we need is more funding and better coordination among our health care system, county public health and social service agencies, and nonprofit community partners.”
“The only way we can ensure that everyone has the opportunity to achieve optimal health is to work together with a shared and well-coordinated commitment to improving our community’s health.”
The goal looks the same for everyone involved: an equitable, resilient system where all community members have access to plenty of nutritious, fresh food.
“While we need not live each day in the shadow of death, I urge my patients to give their hospital and emergency care some thought and not assume that, just because a medical intervention exists, it is necessarily in their best interest.”
“As a multicultural community in which progressive values of inclusion and equality should prevail, Asheville deserves public servants, professionals and citizens who treat all people equally.”
Food deserts —areas where people do not have easy access to large grocery stores — can occur in both urban or rural areas. Food deserts exist in many areas of WNC, including Asheville and Hendersonville. Malnutrition that occurs in food deserts can lead to poor physical and mental health.
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).
Childhood obesity is a perfect storm of many factors, say local health experts, pointing to poor eating habits, lack of exercise, genetics and environmental factors. Asheville-area agencies are working to help overweight kids lose weight and others to stay within healthy limits.
Maternal and child health experts in Asheville offer prenatal care, education and assistance as first steps toward improving the health of infants. As disparities range across race and socioeconomic status, doctors and agencies strive to relieve the obstacles for healthy pregnancies.
“Beyond Slippery Elm and Buzzard Grease: A Guide to Folk Medicine of Appalachia,” a half-day conference at MAHEC on June 24, will highlight Appalachian folk medicine traditions and practices.