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UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC expands health science education in Western North Carolina.

(Asheville, N.C.) — The Mountain Area Health Education Center and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will celebrate the construction of a new academic health center building on MAHEC’s Biltmore campus with a special ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 5:30 p.m. (see further details at the bottom).

UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC seeks to address health care worker shortages and improve education across a number of health science fields in Western North Carolina. The UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC building supports an innovative educational partnership between UNC-Chapel Hill and MAHEC and will house UNC School of Medicine’s Asheville campus; a Master of Public Health program led by UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health; MAHEC’s psychiatry residency program and psychiatry outpatient care; and health care research, education and community engagement initiatives at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

UNC-Chapel Hill and MAHEC have a shared commitment to address health care workforce shortages in North Carolina. All 16 Western North Carolina counties are considered primary care health professional shortage areas, or areas with too few providers to meet the health care needs of the population. By training health care professionals in Western North Carolina, and placing students in long-term internships across the region, UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC encourages more health providers to practice in Western North Carolina, an initiative that stands to make a significant impact on the region’s economy and access to health care.

“Our students and faculty are eager to address North Carolina’s health care needs, and the new programs based at MAHEC will be a significant step forward for improving access to quality interprofessional health care in Western North Carolina,” said Robert Blouin, executive vice chancellor and provost of UNC-Chapel Hill. “We are very appreciative of the generous support from the people of North Carolina that has made UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC a reality.”

The establishment of UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC was made possible by the people of North Carolina through 2015 and 2016 state appropriations totaling $8 million in nonrecurring funds for building construction and $18.6 million in recurring funds to support the development of UNC-Chapel Hill’s academic programs to train and expand the health care workforce in medically underserved Western North Carolina.

The three-story 37,000-square-foot building will be completed in spring 2019 and includes classrooms and incubator spaces that will bring together family medicine clinicians, pharmacists, public health professionals, researchers, residents, students, UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, and community health partners.

“The UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC building will be the hub for the regional campuses of the school of medicine and school of public health,” explained Jeff Heck, chief executive officer of MAHEC. “This academic health center and our strong regional partnerships will serve as a national model for rural health care transformation.”

UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC Special Ceremony

  • Begins at 5:30 p.m. on October 23 at the MAHEC Biltmore campus
  • 121 Hendersonville Road, Asheville, N.C. 28803
  • Dignitaries and guest speakers at the ceremony will include:
    • Robert Blouin, executive vice chancellor and provost of UNC-Chapel Hill
    • Dr. William Roper, dean of the UNC School of Medicine, vice chancellor for medical affairs and chief executive officer of UNC Health Care
    • Dr. Jeff Heck, chief executive officer of MAHEC
    • Dr. William Hathaway, MAHEC board member and senior vice president and chief medical officer of Mission Hospital
    • Dr. Stephen Kimmel, a Western North Carolinian and graduate of the UNC School of Medicine’s Asheville campus and MAHEC family medicine residency program who is now practicing in North Carolina’s Yancey and Mitchell counties
  • Remarks will be followed by guided tours of the recently completed MAHEC Simulation Center, a state-of-the-art medical and surgical training facility that supports health science education and health care professionals from across Western North Carolina

On-site contacts:

  • Michelle Morgan, MAHEC, 828-257-4442 or 828-777-5149
  • Jennifer Maurer, MAHEC, 828-257-4445 or 828-782-0142

About the Mountain Area Health Education Center

MAHEC was established in 1974 and is a leader in healthcare, education and innovation. Located in Asheville, MAHEC serves a 16-county region in Western North Carolina. It is the largest Area Health Education Center in North Carolina, which evolved to address national and state concerns with the supply, retention and quality of health professionals. MAHEC’s mission is to train the next generation of healthcare professionals for Western North Carolina through quality healthcare, innovative education, and best practice models that can be replicated nationally.

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

UNC-Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 111 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties.

MAHEC communications: Jennifer Maurer, 828-257-4445,

UNC-Chapel Hill university communications: Audrey Smith, 919-445-8555,