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WCU and Mission Receive $1 Million Grant for Nursing Care in Rural WNC

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – A federal workforce diversity grant of more than $1 million will enable the School of Nursing at Western Carolina University to partner with Mission Health in an effort to increase the quality of nursing care provided to patients in rural Western North Carolina.

The funding marks the second $1 million grant awarded to WCU in the past year that is intended to improve the diversity and quality of nursing professionals in the region.

The latest grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will provide approximately $350,000 annually over a three-year period to create a program designed to increase the number of nurses with four-year degrees working in mountain hospitals and health care settings. The total amount of the grant, one of only 15 awarded nationally by the HRSA, is $1,049,000 over the three years.

The project will support development of nurses qualified as “advanced rural generalists” competent in meeting a variety of health care needs across diverse specialties and in different health care settings. The program will include courses addressing the unique health care needs found in the rural environment.

Research has found that the results of medical services are more successful when health care providers reflect the communities and the patients that they serve. Although the majority of nurses who work in rural health care facilities typically have grown up in rural communities, many of them lack the advanced levels of education and training necessary today, said Judy Neubrander, director of the WCU School of Nursing.

“In discussions with Mission Health, we recognized a need to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in rural areas of Western North Carolina,” Neubrander said. “We are delighted to be working with Mission Health and see this partnership as a win-win for the region by improving the quality of health care for patients in the region and increasing access to educational opportunities to those in the nursing profession.”

The project will focus on registered nurses with two-year degrees who are ethnic minorities and/or from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds who work at the Mission Hospital campus in Asheville or at its rural affiliate hospitals – Angel Medical Center in Franklin, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital in Highlands, McDowell Hospital in Marion and Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard. It will provide scholarships, stipends and mentorship opportunities to allow them to receive the additional education and training offered by obtaining their bachelor’s degrees.

Participants in the project are expected to include people of African-American, Native American, Hispanic and Appalachian descent – segments of the population that typically seek advanced education at lower numbers than the rest of the population.

Titled the Western North Carolina RN to BSN Rural Education and Support (RN-BRES) Program, it is designed to benefit students and patients from across the region, said Vallire Hooper, manager for nursing research at Mission Health.

“This program will support the continued educational advancement of nurses across Western North Carolina,” Hooper said. “A more highly educated nursing workforce will ultimately lead to improved health care outcomes for our residents.”

Kathy Guyette, senior vice president for patient care, said that Mission Health is excited to partner with WCU to provide increased educational opportunities for the regional health care system’s nurses.

“This partnership will better enable us to provide community-based care that supports the goals of our BIG(GER) Aim initiative – to get each patient to the desired outcome, first without harm, also without waste and with an exceptional experience for the patient and family,” Guyette said.

A previous $1 million grant to WCU from HRSA is designed to increase the number of students from underserved rural populations, including members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, who enter the nursing profession. That project, now in its second year, assists ethnically diverse and disadvantaged students from Andrews, Cherokee, Murphy, Robbinsville, Smoky Mountain and Swain high schools who are interested in nursing as a career.

WCU has been at the forefront of efforts to increase the number of nurses with bachelor’s degrees in North Carolina. The Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses Program – or RIBN – started as a partnership between WCU, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and the Foundation for Nursing Excellence six years ago. The program allows students to be dually accepted and enrolled in both the university and a community college. Since its inception, the program has expanded across the state, with seven universities and 30 community colleges now involved.

For more information about nursing education at WCU, visit the website nursing.wcu.edu. For more information about Mission Health, visit mission-health.org.                           

About Mission Health

Mission Health, based in Asheville, North Carolina, is the state’s sixth-largest health system and the region’s only not-for-profit, independent community hospital system governed and managed exclusively in Western North Carolina. Mission Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems 2012-2014 by Truven Health Analytics, formerly Thomson Reuters. Mission Health is the only medium-sized health system to receive this recognition three years in a row, and the only health system in North Carolina to achieve that distinction.

Mission Health, which traces its roots in the region back to 1885, operates six hospitals, numerous outpatient and surgery centers, post-acute care provider CarePartners, and the region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center. Its medical staff consists of more than 1,000 physicians and is certified in more than 50 medical specialties and sub-specialties. Mission Health has seven Centers of Excellence: Cancer, Heart, Mission Children’s Hospital, Neurosciences, Orthopedics, Trauma and Women’s Health. Mission Hospital, located in Asheville, is the system’s flagship hospital and is licensed for 795 beds. It is the regional referral center for tertiary and quaternary care. It also includes Mission Children’s Hospital – the region’s only children’s hospital. Other Mission Health member hospitals include Angel Medical Center in Franklin, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital in Highlands, McDowell Hospital in Marion and Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard. With approximately 10,600 employees and 2,000 volunteers, Mission Health is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the people of western North Carolina. For more information, visit mission-health.org or @MissionHealthNC.

About Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University is one of the 16 senior institutions of the University of North Carolina system. WCU enrolls more than 10,100 students in undergraduate and graduate programs of study and is located in Cullowhee, North Carolina, about 50 miles west of Asheville, North Carolina, near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2014, WCU was founded in 1889 to bring higher education and career opportunities to Western North Carolina.

The university’s mission is focused on quality education and preparation for responsible citizenship in a changing world. Since its founding, WCU has grown in size to become a major cultural, scientific, and educational force in the region and the state. The university’s academic programs, which span more than 120 specialties, are housed in five colleges – Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Allied Professions, Fine and Performing Arts, and Health and Human Sciences – and the Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology. Graduate programs are offered directly through each college and the Kimmel School, and the Graduate School coordinates the admission process, funding support, and awarding of degrees to graduate students. In addition, the Honors College coordinates courses and events in every area of study, and Hunter Library provides academic support for all academic units.

Asheville International Children’s Film Festival November 4-13, 2011

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – November 4-13, 2011 marks the third annual Asheville International Children’s Film Festival. Aicff is the largest children’s film festival in the Southeast.  The festival celebrates the best and brightest in international children’s cinema with a 10-day extravaganza of over 70 films from 25 countries.

This year’s festival has a blend of programs including animation, features, shorts, historical films, and fantastic hands-on, interactive workshops for the filmmakers of tomorrow. The festival provides families with the opportunity to screen one-of-a-kind films not available on DVD. The festival is a great winter time event created especially for families in Western North Carolina and beyond. “I didn’t know these kinds of fun, creative and heartfelt films were created for kids” is the comment most heard  from the attendees.

You won’t want to miss the three very special events, the kick-off gala, costume pancake breakfast, and closing awards ceremony. We know you will have a great family experience and make memories that will live forever!

3rd Annual WNC Fly Fishing Expo set for Nov. 5-6, 2011

Monday, August 29th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – The 3rd Annual WNC Fly Fishing Expo kicks off on Nov. 5 at the WNC Agricultural Center. Western North Carolina is blessed with altitude, clean streams, wild trout and consequently, an abundance of people who love to fly fish. The WNC Fly Fishing Expo is a two-day fly fishing extravaganza providing anglers a forum to learn the very latest news and innovations in their sport.

“This event appeals to fly fishers of all levels,” said expo organizer Frank Smith. “Whether you are an advanced angler looking for the latest gear, or a beginner who is ready to get the waders wet, there is something for everyone at this show. And we have brought in a new group of experts who will host a variety of fly fishing related programs.”

Over the years there has been no shortage of things to see and do at the WNC Fly Fishing Expo, and this year will be no different. The lineup for the 3rd Annual event features even more exhibits and speakers than previous years. For those who want to learn more about fly fishing, a distinguished roster of experts will hold programs and presentations throughout the weekend (visit www.wncflyfishingexpo.com for more information.) Presenters include outdoor and fly fishing author Jim Casada; advocate Tim Landis, an instrumental figure in protecting wild fish on the South Holston; fly fishing instructor Star Nolan; Capt. Paul Rose, a pro at sight-fishing for carp; Bill Strickland, expert on the secrets of the Davison River; strike indicator developer Steven Vorkapich; and Beau Beasley, who will introduce folks to trout fishing in Virginia. Pair these top notch programs with fly tying and casting demonstrations from expert instructors, and attendees have the opportunity to learn just about everything there is to know about fly fishing.

Nationally known manufacturers such as Abel, Orvis, Sage, Simms and Fishpond will showcase the newest gear. Area fishing lodges and guide outfitters will give advice about where to fish; organizations dedicated to protecting trout waters and habitat will discuss current issues and initiatives; and more than a dozen fly shops from all over WNC will have every piece of gear imaginable for sale.

The show opens on Saturday at 9 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m., then continues on Sunday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tickets are available at the door and are $10 for adults and free for children under 16.

Saturday features a local beer tasting with Asheville’s own Highland Brewing Company. The tasting lasts from 2:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. and 12 Bones will be on site throughout the event, cooking up barbeque for hungry expo attendees.

Get Local With ASAP: July Menus are Brimming With Beans

Friday, July 8th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – Beans are a big deal around these parts. In fact, its thought that more heirloom beans (traditional cultivars like greasy beans) originated in WNC than anywhere else in the country. Today, more than a dozen varieties are grown here. To honor the history and current harvest, they get the star treatment on restaurant menus throughout July in Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s Get Local campaign.

Enjoy local green beans alongside kidneys and limas in a classic three bean salad at downtown Asheville’s Early Girl Eatery. Because local beans are so fresh, owners John and Julie Stehling also like to go simple in preparation: sautéing them with garlic as a special seasonal side.

 

At West End Bakery in West Asheville, they’ll highlight local green beans in almost everything thanks to a steady supply grown especially for them at the Pisgah View Community Peace Garden. Dishes will feature Fortex beans, a favorite stringless variety. “We’ll do a sesame green bean and quinoa salad, and soups will be things like summer vegetable with yellow squash, zucchini, tomato, and green beans,” co-owner Cathy Cleary promises. When it comes to sandwiches, she says to expect items like a grilled goat cheese with dilly beans (pickled green beans) and tomato.

If you want to enjoy local beans at home this month, be sure to shop your neighborhood tailgate market. Many varieties can be found, including the Royal Burgundy bean. Often called a magic bean by children, the Royal Burgundy changes colors from a deep purple to green when cooked. 

For a complete list of participating restaurants, visit the Get Local page of asapconnections.org. There, you’ll also find the 2011 calendar of featured foods and a Get Local school calendar; this month, cafeteria menus feature local berries. Browse the nearly 400 farms and businesses offering local beans this season in ASAP’s Local Food Guide online at buyappalachian.org.