April 2021

The health care you need, when you need it.

FREE Musculoskeletal, Sleep Apnea and Pulse Oximetry Checks on April 14th. Are you short of breath or have difficultly with daily activities?

Musculoskeletal Screenings
This screening involves looking at your strength and range of motion to identify exercises you can do to improve and to prevent further injury.

Sleep Apnea Screening and Pulse Oximetry Checks
If you are short of breath or have pauses in breathing, loud, persistent snoring, coughing, wheezing, have chest tightness, fatigue in the daytime or easily fall asleep during the daytime this screening could benefit you.

There are things that can be done to help you get back to normal activities.

Call now at 336-372-3282 for an appointment between 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm on April 14th. These sessions take only 15 minutes.

Located behind and above hospital at 85 Delp Heights, Sparta, NC 28675

We continue to follow CDC guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic to instill confidence in continuing your normal health screenings.


April 2021

An orthopedic surgeon you know and trust.

Dr. Jonathan Snyder

Call 336-372-3254 to make an appointment.

Dr. Jonathan Snyder will be providing orthopedic services at Alleghany Health in April, including:

  • Knee Surgery including Knee Arthroscopy
  • Shoulder Surgery including Shoulder Arthroscopy and Rotator Cuff Repair
  • Carpal Tunnel Release
  • Basic Fracture Repair


Alleghany Health Specialty Clinic
12 Willis Street, Suite B
Sparta, NC 28675
Most major insurance plans accepted.


March 2021

Alleghany Health Announces Completion of Phase II Renovations

Alleghany Health, an affiliate of Wake Forest Baptist Health and Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, today announced the completion of Phase II Capital Campaign Renovations.

On August 24, 2020, Alleghany Health celebrated the completion of Phase I of a three phase Capital Campaign Renovation/Construction Project. Phase I was an expansion of the Emergency Department and new inpatient area which includes two trauma rooms, a triage room, a fast track room, a decontamination room, medication storage, three patient rooms, and a pandemic redesigned lobby and registration area.

Phase II renovations include three patient observation rooms, a second fast track room, a nutrition services area, staff lockers, and housekeeping space. These renovations consolidated resources and services previously spread across the facility which places us far ahead in moving toward next generation care. Next generation care is in part our ability to provide the highest standard and most efficient care to patients across all services–including inpatient, emergency, and outpatient–in a modern and best practice environment.

“We are extremely pleased to celebrate this important milestone and are grateful for everyone who had a hand in this project,” said James Hoekstra, M.D., senior vice president and associate dean of clinical and academic network development with Wake Forest Baptist Health. “This facility will enable us to deliver convenient and high-quality health care for patients in our community for decades to come.”

“We remain firmly committed to the success of this joint endeavor, to ensure access to high quality, affordable healthcare in the communities Alleghany Health serves”, stated Paul Hammes, CEO of Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital. “The combined resources and know-how of all three organizations involved presents not only a unique model for care, but one that is making a difference across the greater Alleghany community.”

Alleghany Health (formerly Alleghany Memorial Hospital has been providing health care for Alleghany County, North Carolina, Grayson County, Virginia, and the surrounding area since 1948.and continues to grow.  Construction of a two-story Medical Office Building (Phase III) is underway with expected completion by end of this year. This new addition will also house multiple services in one facility. Upon final completion of the new medical facility, Alleghany Health will continue to provide and amplify more efficient, and convenient medical services to our community.   These improvements depended on significant financial support from our community.

Alleghany Health is a critical access hospital located at 233 Doctor’s St., Sparta, NC  28675.  Call 336-372-5511 for questions.


March 2021

Alleghany Litter Clean Up Project

Alleghany Health spent a beautiful Saturday getting involved in the community Litter Clean Up Project.  We want to help Alleghany County grow and thrive and keeping the area clean, pristine, and full of scenic beauty is important to all of us.

February 2021

Free Screening Mammograms March 5

Screening available for the first 25 appointments
(Age 40+ years)

Call for prescreening and
scheduling at 336-372-3210

Mammography remains the gold standard for early-stage breast cancer screenings. Alleghany Health is proud to offer digital mammography services!

Digital technology allows screening mammograms to be performed within 10 to 20 minutes.

Our mammography program is fully accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Early detection saves lives.

We continue to follow CDC guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic to instill confidence in continuing your normal health screenings.


February 2021

Hospital Urgent Care Here

Pilot program treats non-emergency ailments

Urgent care is now available at Alleghany Health. The hospital rolled out a pilot program offering Urgent Care service to separate less severe injuries from Emergency Care this month.

Urgent Care is intended for people with the following and similar ailments: cold symptoms like headache, cough and congestion; animal and insect bites; minor bone fractures; flu-like symptoms; ear infections; minor injuries; vomiting; fever; and sunburn.

People with the following injuries should go to Emergency Care, AKA the ER: chest pain, breathing difficulties, consciousness loss, severe abdominal pain, severe and sustained vomiting, serious trauma, severe burns, broken bones, seizures, poisoning and deep cuts and abrasions with uncontrolled bleeding.

According to Alleghany Memorial Hospital Foundation Director Robin Gambill, Urgent Care patients are admitted at the front desk, Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-1 p.m. She said those needing urgent medical attention after these hours should go to the ER. Interior signs are in place to direct people to Urgent Care. Another Alleghany Health rep said that plans are for it to have a dedicated entrance after renovations are complete.

According to Gambill, the service opened on Feb. 1, under the Alleghany Health Services Practice of Drs. Jose Arocha and Ryan Short.

Gambill said that the Urgent Care service could expand hours in the future, as this is currently a pilot program, and could include weekend hours. She said they do not have pediatrics right now, so Urgent Care is restricted to those aged 18 and older. Children needing urgent attention should be taken to the ER.

According to an advertisement run in the Jan. 27 Alleghany News issue, Urgent Care accepts primary care copay.

The hospital is located at 233 Doctors St., Sparta. It can be reached at 336-372-3110. Those in an emergency should call 911.

The hospital is also introducing a new telehealth service, which will be featured in an upcoming article.


Urgent Care is currently accessed through the hospital’s main entrance, pictured above.
Photo by Bob Bamberg

Alleghany News Staff


January 2021

Urgent Care for Adults
Opening February 1st

Our Urgent Care providers treat minor illnesses and injuries of patients 18 years and older.

When should you go to Urgent Care?
You should seek care at an urgent care facility when you experience:
•  Cold symptoms: headache, cough, congestion
•  Animal/insect bites
•  Minor bone fractures
•  Flu symptoms
•  Ear infections
•  Minor injuries
•  Vomiting/fever
•  Sunburn

When should you go to Emergency Care?
If you experience life threatening symptoms, please call 911. You should seek emergency care when you experience:
•  Chest pain
•  Difficulty breathing
•  Loss of consciousness
•  Severe abdominal pain
•  Vomiting that is severe and continues for several hours
•  Serious trauma
•  Severe burns
•  Broken bones
•  Seizures
•  Poisoning
•  Deep cuts and abrasions where bleeding is uncontrolled

Urgent Care
233 Doctors Street
Sparta, NC 286875
Telehealth Visits Available
Monday – Friday, 8 am – 1 pm

Located within Alleghany Health Services practice
Enter at Main Entrance of Hospital


December 2020

Alleghany Health’s
New Mammography
Suite Is Now Open

The Mammography Department was closed due to construction and renovations but is now operational and accepting patients.

Mammography remains the gold standard for early-stage breast cancer screenings. Alleghany Health is proud to offer digital mammography services!

With digital mammography, abnormalities can easily be seen. Early detection saves lives.
Digital technology allows screening mammograms to be performed within 10 to 20 minutes.

Our mammography program is fully accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Call today for additional information:
Most Major Insurance Plans Accepted


November 2020

Alleghany Health
Wishing you a safe,
healthy holiday season

Here are safe steps you can take if hosting a holiday gathering this year:
• Consider a small outdoor meal.
• Limit the number of guests.
• Assure guests understand expectations for celebrating together.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between each use.
• Wear a mask and safely store your mask while eating and drinking. Open windows.
• Make sure to mask and open windows if celebrating indoors.
• Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
• Have guests bring their own food and drink.
• Have one person serve food and use single-use options like plastic utensils.

If attending a gathering, steps to be safer:
• Wear a mask and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
• Follow the 3W’s as much as possible.
• Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled.
• Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets and disposable food containers, plates, and utensils.

Knowing your risk for contracting covid or the flu can help you decide what activities to attend this holiday season.
Lower Risk activities include:
• Eating dinner with only the people in your household.
Moderate Risk activities include:
• Small outdoor dinner with family and friends.
• Small outdoor sports events.
• Reverse parade events.
High Risk activities Include:
• Large indoor gatherings with people outside of your household where no one is practicing the 3 W’s.
• Attending traditional parades.
• Attending large outdoor sports events.

Wishing you and yours a safe and healthy holiday season!

Alleghany Health Staff
“People you Know. Care and Trust. Here when you need us.”


October 2020

Alleghany Health Physical Therapy
– A Trusted Team –

Scott Gibson,



Laura Cox, PTA

Alleghany Health Physical Therapy, the only Physical Therapy Practice in Alleghany County offers a variety of services to help patients with all types of injuries and conditions to regain maximum physical function including but not limited to:

• Trigger Point Dry Needling
• Orthopedic and Sports Injuries
• Post-Surgical Care
• Worker’s Comp Injuries
• Neuropathy & Balance Disorders
• Foot Pain
• Incontinence Issues
• Back Pain
• Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization
• Concussion Therapy
• TMJ Dysfunction
• Chronic Neurological Problems
• Oncology Patient Care

The choice is yours to stay here in Alleghany County.

Patients may be referred to our clinic through their medical provider. For more information call: 336-372-3282 or go to www.amhsparta.org
Most Major insurance plans accepted


September 2020

Getting rid of your tension headache with trigger point dry needling

Scott Gibson,

Tension headaches occur for a variety of reasons. Poor posturing over time, stress, and trigger points are often causes of these debilitating headaches. Most of us are familiar with poor posturing. We have been told since childhood to sit up straight. The fact of the matter is that most of us like to slump when we sit. Over time this can create weak core and upper back and neck muscles. This additional strain on the neck muscles over time can cause the tension headache. Stress can be good or bad. Some stress is good. Physical activity increases the stress on our bodies, which we respond to favorably. Stress and anxiety from working long hours in a stressful environment, coupled with lack of sleep and multiple other responsibilities can turn into bad stress. Many of us “carry our stress” in our shoulder and neck muscles, which in turn can cause tension headaches. Trigger points, on the other hand, can be the result of poor posturing, stress or injury. A trigger point is a taut band of muscle tissue that feels nodular with palpation and can cause pain not only where it is located but also to a referred area. The trapezius muscle will refer pain along the side of the head from the side and towards the front. This pain is termed cervicogenic pain or can also be termed a tension headache.

Trigger point dry needling along with soft tissue mobilization, relaxation, posture and therapeutic exercise for strengthening can help resolve the tension headaches. Dry needling is a technique that uses a “dry needle” without medication or injection which is inserted through the skin and into the trigger point. Normally you won’t feel the actual
insertion of the needle. When the trigger point is released you will feel a cramping or local twitch response. Dry needling uses acupuncture needles to perform the intervention, however, dry needling is not acupuncture. Dry needling was developed by a medical physician, Janet Travell, MD, in the United States and is well researched for evidence-based trigger point resolution. Acupuncture on the other hand is a practice that is based on traditional Chinese medicine and is used by many acupunturists to help restore the energy flow through the body.

Dry needling is a very safe technique, however, there are some precautions that your medical professional will explain prior to the intervention. After the dry needling, you may feel sore for about a day or so and then this should resolve. Slight bruising is common. Often you would see immediate results with a decrease in the headache severity and duration. To help decrease any post treatment soreness, you should drink plenty of fluids and move around as much as possible while performing daily activities.

To get more information about dry needling and whether it would be beneficial to you, please contact your physical therapist at Alleghany Health Physical Therapy.

Ref: “Dry Needling by a Physical Therapist: What You Should Know”. APTA.org, Choose PT, 2020


September 2020

Introducing Scott Gibson – Manager, Physical Therapy at Alleghany Health

Scott Gibson,

Recently my wife and I were given the opportunity to join this community. The scenic views are breathtaking, and the people are like family. Customer service has been outstanding and I have not been able to drive by anyone without getting a wave of the hand to say hello. As a new member of your community, I would like to introduce myself and give a quick overview of my background so that we can begin developing a great personal and professional relationship while providing outstanding patient care when needed.

Originally, I am from Pennsylvania, and recently moved here from Goldsboro, NC. I have a wife Sandi, and two daughters, Katie, and Bess.

My undergrad education was in Sports Medicine and Athletic Training at Guilford College in Greensboro. After this, I completed my master’s degree in Physical Therapy at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. Over the past 28 years as a Physical Therapist, I have worked in acute care hospitals and home health. I have also been instrumental with developing a Physical Therapist practice for the local Orthopedic Surgeons in Goldsboro, NC. My background is strong in orthopedics and sports medicine, and I look forward to continuing this here at Alleghany Health. Currently I am Board Certified in Orthopedics and have specialized training in trigger point dry needling.

If you ever have a need to see a physical therapist, you have a choice to stay right here with Alleghany Health Physical Therapy (Great care and close to home.) We provide care for all types of muscle and joint injury or pain. You can get a referral from your medical provider and give us a call at (336) 372-3282. My team and I look forward to serving you.


September 2020

Phase 1 complete

Hospital opens new emergency room

By Bob Bamberg

Alleghany News Staff

CUTTING THE RIBBON to mark the completion of phase 1 renovations to Alleghany Health are (from left) Kathryn Doby, Hospital CAO; Rocky Profitt, Hospital Board Chair; Shirley Richardson, Hospital Foundation Chair; Paul Hammes, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital CEO; and Dr. James Hoekstra of Wake Forest Baptist Health.

Alleghany Health cut the ribbon on the completion of Phase I of the hospital’s renovations, a new Emergency Department (E.D.) patient area that consolidated resources previously spread across the hospital. A tour of the facility followed brief comments by local and regional partners in the ongoing renovations to Alleghany Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, that have helped make the transformation
from the former Alleghany Memorial Hospital to Alleghany Health possible.

“What you have here is a facility that can care for patients for the next decades,” said Dr. James Hoekstra, who is in charge of clinical and academic network development for Wake Forest Baptist Health, and who has been shepherding this project from its start. He praised the leadership in communities of the three partners that had the vision to make this possible.

The tour showcased one significant innovation: patient rooms circle the E.D. office area such that doctors, nurses and administrators are able to provide care for both inpatients and emergencies. In the former arrangement, the E.D. and nurses station that served inpatients were separately staffed around the clock, spreading out these valuable resources. The renovation also includes a dedicated Trauma Room for acute emergencies and one for Fast Track patients that are expected to be treated and released in a short time frame. Emergency staff began using the new facility following the ribbon cutting and tour.

Shirley Richardson, local Realtor and chair of the hospital foundation board, spoke to the local effort that raised over $6 million locally toward the project totaled almost $15 million. “It’s a little town but the people here know what they need and they stepped up,” she said.

Paul Hammes, CEO of Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, reviewed the history of the four institutions involved. Wake Forest School of Medicine, founded in 1902 as a two year medical school, later merged with N.C. Baptist Hospital that opened in 1923; Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, founded in 1931; and Alleghany Memorial Hospital, formed in 1951.

JIM BECHER, a member of the Alleghany Health Board, is shown in the Fast Track room of the new emergency department. The room is intended for patients that can be treated and released in a short time frame.

Kathryn Doby, Chief Administrative Officer for Alleghany Health, called the renovation project a “labor of love.” She recalled how touched she was by the Circle of Hope parade by emergency responders around the Alleghany Health campus on April 21, 2020. Speaking to the two dozen or more supporters in attendance, “Today, you can be touched.”

The four were joined by the partnership’s board chair, local businessman Rocky Proffit, to cut the ribbon to the new E.D. entrance.

Now that this first phase of the renovations are complete, work can begin of Phase II which includes more inpatient rooms and support areas in the E.D. They are expected to be completed in January 2021, and Phase III, the Medical Office Building, that will expand and streamline outpatient services, is expected be completed by the close of 2021.


September 2020

Hospital’s early history recalled

Long serving trustees were honored in 1993

(In honor of the completion of the first phase of renovations to Alleghany Health, formerly Alleghany Memorial Hospital, this article from the Jan. 28, 1993 issue of this newspaper recalls some of the people who shepherded the hospital in its early years. The occasion was a hospital trustee meeting where they were recognized for their service. There was no byline to indicate who wrote the article.)

THE HOSPITAL IN 1976 —This picture of Alleghany Memorial Hospital is from “History of Alleghany County,” published in 1976 on the occasion of this nation’s bicentennial. The caption says that it was incorporated in 1948 by R.F. Course, R.J. Randloph, F.G. Weaver, S.C. Richardson, D.F. Sturdivant and Dr. B.O. Choate. It originally cost $159,528 and had 20 beds.

Ralph Evans, Alleghany Memorial Hospital’s first administrator, remembers when a semi-private room was $6.50 a night. “A private room was $9. Isn’t that something?” he said with a chuckle.

That was the price of rooms when Alleghany Memorial first opened in 1951.

Bill Halsey recalls that there were seven rooms. The hospital now has 46 and an expanded range of services.

“We’re thankful we’ve made the progress we have over the years,” Halsey said. “If that much is accomplished in the next 40 years, I don’t know what we’ll have.”

Ernest Edwards recalled that money was raised for the hospital, mostly in increments of $1 and $2. “Most everyone paid through,” he said.

Three men shared those thoughts on Monday night at the Alleghany Memorial Hospital’s trustee meeting. They were honored that night upon the retirement from the board of trustees.

Chairman John Miller presented each a plaque and thanked them on behalf of the people of Alleghany County. He noted that their service totaled over 100 years. “You see how much service we are losing from our board,” he said.

He appointed all three to the emeritus board and invited them to attend each January meeting to be recognized.

Edwards has served the longest, almost 45 years.

Halsey has served around 35 years. He actually retired about a year ago and was present to receive recognition Monday night.

Halsey returned home to Alleghany from Winston-Salem in the early 1950s, which was about the time the hospital was opening. He had worked in Winston-Salem for Patterson Drug Company.

When he returned to Sparta, he opened Halsey Drug Company and became involved in the hospital effort. Kemp Doughton, then a legislator, asked Halsey if he would help.

Ralph Evans has served on the board of trustees for 31 years and was also its first leading administrator.

He started work in 1950, and the first patient was admitted in February 1951, he said.

“I was picked out to be the business manager. They didn’t have a title of administrator,” he said. “I was still the man to see if you had a problem.”

Evans started working at B&T Drug Company in Sparta as a teenager and then stopped for a while to attend Maryland Aberdeen Proving Ground, a military installation.

He came back home and worked for B&T Drug Company again and remained as the company became Drugcare of Alleghany. He remained there until his retirement.

“I have enjoyed serving on the board of trustees. The hospital has been a high point in my business life,” he said.

He said with the present staff and governing board, there is nothing the hospital can do but continue to grow and prosper.”


August 2020

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Dr. Andrew M. Namen
Alleghany Health Pulmonary & Sleep Study Specialty Clinic

For most people, getting a full night of deep, restful sleep can be difficult. Obstructive sleep apnea, the temporary but repeated stoppage of breathing during sleep. Symptoms include heavy snoring and gasping for air during the night and daytime drowsiness, fatigue and difficulties with concentration and memory. Left untreated, the condition can lead to some critical health issues. Unfortunately, the majority of people who have sleep apnea don’t know it with an estimate of 20% diagnosed.

Patients are not conscious of what’s happening in their sleep and often a bed partner or other member of a household brings it to their attention.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles relax during sleep, causing soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the upper airway, which leads to pauses in breathing.

Despite the sleeper’s efforts to breathe, the body in many cases are deprived of sufficient oxygen. This causes interrupted sleep from the interrupted airflow. Many feel tired during the day since the apnea prevents patients from maintaining deep, refreshing sleep.

Over time, these repeated disruptions of sleep and oxygen supply can cause high blood pressure, and has been associated with heart failure, atrial fibrillation, stroke and other diseases.

While the “typical” sleep apnea patient is an overweight middle-age man, patients with sleep apnea come in all shapes and sizes. However, there are other conditions associated including

  • Gender— sleep apnea is more common and more frequently severe in men than women
  • Age — risk increases after 40 with a peak occurrence around 55.
  • Obesity – body-mass index scores of 32 or higher
  • Drinking alcohol and taking certain medications.

If you have symptoms snoring, choking, unrefreshed sleep, multiple awakening, shortness of breath while sleeping, daytime sleepiness despite long sleep times referral to a sleep medicine specialist is warranted.

A sleep specialist is a physician who is equipped to deal with sleeping problems because of their specific training, familiarity with the various disorders and experience with diagnostic techniques, including sleep studies.

A sleep provider may recommend a sleep study in a sleep lab which provides a thorough evaluation of heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, breathing, oxygen levels, leg movements etc. There are also at-home sleep tests, which track breathing and oxygen levels. While more convenient than sleep lab studies, they provide less data and may require a follow-up inlab study.

Treatments for obstructive sleep apnea vary and include lifestyle changes (losing weight, avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking), oral appliances, surgical procedures and others including nerve stimulation.

The standard-of-care treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure device, CPAP machine. It pumps air through the nose or mouth to keep the airway open during sleep. Discovering the cause to your sleep problem should not be ignored and can prevent major health and lifestyle problems. Start with your primary care provider and ask if a sleep specialist is needed.


August 2020

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Dr. Alexander Sy of Alleghany Health

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (or COPD) is primarily a disease associated with smoking (active and passive) and inhalation of toxic fumes. COPD can be of generally two types- Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema. Who gets which type is still not clear and may be related to some genetic predisposition. The most effective treatment for COPD is smoking cessation or removal of continued exposure to the fumes. This and the use of supplemental oxygen (if indicated) are the only ones that have been proven to improve life expectancy for patients with COPD.

Aside from smoking cessation, we can help patients with COPD with improvement of their quality of life. Among these are inhalers of either bronchodilators or steroid components. A combination of these is most often found to be most effective. Also, another therapy that is helpful in quality of life improvement is regular exercise such as pulmonary rehabilitation. Pulmonary rehabilitation is exercise and classes conducted under direct supervision of providers who are experienced in treating patients in COPD.

Here at Alleghany Health, we have lung specialists who can use the diagnostic tools such as the pulmonary function testing lab to confirm and assess severity of the COPD. With this tool, they can tailor the treatment that will be best for each individual patient. Advanced COPD patients can also participate in the outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program here at Alleghany Health. Integral to the pulmonary rehabilitation program is regular exercise program and lessons and support for smoking cessation, effective use of inhalers and oxygen therapy, among other things.

Please consult your doctors for referral to these programs available at Alleghany Health. We will be happy to help you.


August 2020

Wellness Groups Unite

Kathryn Doby of Alleghany Health
& Dr. Fredrick Phaender of Alleghany Wellness Coalition

The Need
Alleghany County has a diverse group of organizations who work to promote health and wellness in our community. Like all small towns we have limited human and financial resources. As we move toward 21st century healthcare with our new hospital, we also know that health is impacted by more than just clinical care. Alleghany Health, App Health and most of the health and wellness agencies and organizations in the county have united as the Alleghany Wellness Coalition (AWC) to address the major wellness priorities of our county. Together, we can solve problems that no single organization could, and we become more than the sum of our parts.

The Alleghany Wellness Coalition includes leaders of most major organizations and agencies (approximately 35 organizations). Kathryn Doby of Alleghany Health and Dr. Frederic Pfaender of Alleghany 2020+ are co-chairpersons. The Coalition works to promote communication among members, coordination of efforts and cooperation on joint projects. The goal is to enhance our member organizations while each maintains its individual goals.

App.Health identified through needs assessment the major health priorities for the community and these are the focus of the Coalition. They include:

  • Mental/behavioral health: emotional well-being, suicide prevention, and support/intervention and more recently reaction to disease induced stress
  • Substance use/misuse prevention: Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, prescription drugs. and use of e-cigarettes.
  • Health equity for a vibrant economy: Addressing health equity through strategic coalition partnerships to promote economic and workforce development.

All AWC projects are collaborations with community organizations. Initial efforts were built around the community health priorities. Task forces were formed to identify action items. The list below is meant to provide examples of the task force work and other activities, rather than a comprehensive list.

  • Behavioral Health partnerships were formed with the schools, App Health, and law enforcement to address drug abuse in teens, education programs, and training on the dangers of vaping.
  • Workforce enhancement – partners include Business Development Center, Chamber of Commerce, and AC 2020. This group has developed a daycare needs assessment, began opening communications among daycare providers, helped organize the Blue Ridge Entrepreneur Network.
  • Hosted Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Summit to develop a community action plan to assist our many ACEs children including parenting training, incorporating ACEs assessment in most community data collection efforts, and began building a communications/education campaign.
  • Mental Health – partners Vaya Health, AppHealth on trauma informed care; developed a volunteer database; helped promote the Survive and Thrive campaign
  • Publish the AWC Newsletter, at first quarterly and now monthly to distribute information to our 35+ member organizations and agencies about up-coming meetings, career enhancement and training opportunities, critical issues, and resources.
  • In process of generating a community resource map with AH and App Health. Members requested this on-line guide to resources available in local agencies.

Fred Pfaender said “We are living in a world full of unknowns and stress. One of the challenges is rebuilding our communities to be stronger, more efficient, and less frightening than the Coronavirus world. Our best chance for success is to work together. Hopefully, AWC can help.“