Foothills Medical Associates and MAHEC Dental Health Center to host open house / ribbon cutting

Published 10:36 pm Thursday, August 15, 2019

On Wednesday, August 21, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Foothills Medical Associates (FMA) and Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) will host an open house and ribbon cutting. The event is to introduce the community to their new facilities located behind St. Luke’s Hospital, located at 130 Forest Glen Road in Columbus. The public is invited to attend, tour the facilities and meet staff. 


The FMA team includes Dr. Jeffrey Viar, Physician Assistants Janet Howell and Mike Bradey, Family Nurse Practitioner Colden O’Dell and Pharmacist Evan Drake. Complemented by a knowledgeable staff, they will work with each patient and family throughout the treatment and recovery process. Extended hours are offered for urgent situations and wound care is provided onsite. FMA began seeing patients in their new location in late July.

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The MAHEC Dental Health Center at Columbus, opening later this month, will provide general dentistry services for residents of Polk County and the surrounding community. Under the direction of Blake Gutierrez, DDS, the comprehensive dental center will provide clinical training opportunities for students in Isothermal Community College’s new dental assistant program, residents in MAHEC’s dental residency program and students from the Adams School of Dentistry at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Students in other health professions will have the opportunity to train with primary care providers at FMA as well.

“There is a shortage of dental and primary healthcare providers across Western North Carolina,” explains Jeff Heck, MD, chief executive officer of MAHEC. “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with St. Luke’s Hospital, Isothermal Community College and UNC to train the next generation of rural healthcare professionals who will provide quality healthcare where it is needed most.”


“Here at St Luke’s Hospital, we are always thrilled to participate in the development of future healthcare providers,” adds Michelle Fortune, chief executive officer at St. Luke’s Hospital. “As we continue our work with MAHEC to host a variety of health profession students, we truly will be directly addressing what has become a major shortage of healthcare providers across our state.”


For more information on FMA, contact Teresa Buchanan, at 828-894-5627. For more information on the MAHEC Dental Health Center, contact Natalie Raper at 828-257-4418. For more information about Isothermal Community College’s Dental Assistant Teaching Program, contact Michelle Peets at 828-395-4440.


Submitted by Becky Rickenbaker