On October 9th, I attended the first of three Dogwood Health Trust Community meetings which was held at McDowell Tech Community College in Marion, NC. Appalachian Healthcare Training & Consulting is focused on seeing improvement in health and healthcare in the South-Central Appalachian region. I am very excited for the potential that Dogwood Health Trust has to improve health and healthcare in the South-Central Appalachian region, specifically Western North Carolina. 

Dogwood Health Trust was established in February 2019 from the sale of Mission Health System in Asheville, NC to HCA Healthcare. Since Mission Health was a non-profit, the roughly $1.5 Billion proceeds from the sale, were used to establish Dogwood Health Trust. Dogwood Health Trusts mission is to dramatically improve the health and well-being of the people of WNC  Their territory includes 18 counties in WNC.

This is very exciting for the people of Western North Carolina! WNC experiences some of the most challenging health issues in the state. Dogwood Health Trust is committed to focusing on the Social Determinants of Health. Consequently, this has the potential to make huge impacts in WNC.

This community meeting gave the newly appointed CEO, Antony Chiang the opportunity to interact with the community members. Antony Chiang comes from Empire Health Foundation in Spokane, Washington. Notably, he is credited with dramatically improving health equity results. I was very impressed with his authenticity. His desire to work towards dramatic improvements in the health and wellbeing of the residents of WNC is apparent.

Furthermore, because there are so many needs in their region, Dogwood Health Trust is working hard to decide what to focus their initial efforts on. Actively engaged with the community since February, 2019, they have sought community input  to  guide decisions as they move forward.

This is such a huge, unprecedented opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of many people in the Western part of North Carolina. I look forward to following the progress of Dogwood Health Trust in the coming years and seeing all the great work that will be done.