North Carolina AHEC Program
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MAHEC's Biltmore Campus Will Serve Health Needs of Region's Aging Population

Construction should be complete in about a year on a facility that will house the new NC Center for Health and Aging along with the Mountain Area Health Education Center.

MAHEC will also relocate its obstetrics/gynecology residency program to the new $26 million Biltmore campus.

“I think the North Carolina Center for Health and Aging will greatly enhance education and services for the older population of the area,” said Hettie Lou Garland, who retired from MAHEC.

MAHEC groundbreaking

MAHEC officials held a groundbreaking on May 7, 2010, but construction began in March 2010.

The center will do research and provide information and education. The overall goal is to promote healthy lifestyles, especially for the older population.

About 18 percent of Western North Carolina is 65 and older, UNC Asheville Chancellor Anne Ponder said Friday. Ponder called the MAHEC campus the “newest opportunity to collaborate on health care.”

The campus will consist of two buildings. One 40,000-square-foot building will house MAHEC's Ob/Gyn residency program. A second 50,000-square-foot building will house the education center along with the Center for Health and Aging.

Teck Penland speaking

Teck Penland (speaking above), president and CEO of MAHEC, said he was paraphrasing Vice President Joe Biden in his remarks at Friday's groundbreaking. “This is a big deal,” he told the group gathered on the 13-acre site in Biltmore Forest. “But what's really a big deal about it is this is one component of a much bigger plan.”

The new NC Center for Health and Aging is a collaborative effort that includes MAHEC, UNC Asheville and Western Carolina University.

UNC Asheville is already constructing the NC Center for Health & Wellness, which will be home to a degree program in health promotion. That new facility should open in late spring 2011.

Western Carolina has also gotten permission for a new doctorate program in physical therapy and the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at Chapel Hill plans a satellite campus in Asheville in fall 2011.

State Sen. Joe Sam Queen said the region wants to lead in the medical economy and in good health. “This is a game changer for Western North Carolina,” he said at the event.

The state allocated $9.2 million to build the new Center for Health and Aging.