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Features Health & Wellness WestCare to open primary care clinic on WCU campus

WestCare Health will launch a new full-time primary care clinic in the Health and Human Sciences Building on the West Campus of Western Carolina University, with a targeted opening in September.

The clinic is the result of a partnership between the hospital and the university in which access to care will be expanded in the community and educational opportunities will be provided to health sciences students.

A family nurse practitioner will begin seeing patients this fall when the clinic opens and will be joined by a physician recruited to the community specifically for the clinic at WCU. The practice will treat patients ages 16 and older.

The clinic will occupy 2,000 square feet within the 160,000-square-foot Health and Human Sciences Building, a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to the critical intersection of health sciences and technology. In December 2013, WestCare opened a rehabilitation and sports medicine clinic in the building. Carolina West Sports Medicine provides care to the community and collaborates clinically with WCU rehabilitation and sports medicine faculty, staff and students. WestCare donated the onsite therapy pool used in treating specific injuries and conditions. The new primary care clinic will be located adjacent to the Carolina West Sports Medicine space.

Steve Heatherly, president and CEO of WestCare, said the health care provider serving four counties of Western North Carolina has a tradition of working with WCU to serve the health care needs of the community.

“There is a need for additional access to primary care in our community and we are pleased to serve the residents of southern Jackson County as well as the faculty and staff of Western Carolina University,” said Heatherly.

The Health and Human Sciences Building is the first facility to be built on WCU’s West Campus, 344 acres across N.C. Highway 107 from the main campus that were acquired in 2005 as part of the Millennial Initiative. A comprehensive regional economic development strategy, the Millennial Initiative promotes university collaboration with private industry and government partners to enhance handson student learning and collaborative research.

Health care has emerged as a point of emphasis for the Millennial Initiative and for the university, said WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher.

“We have long envisioned this building as a place of learning, collaboration and community – a point of intersection between our educational pursuits and our community engagement values,” Belcher said. “Thanks to partnerships such as the one we have with our friends at WestCare, that vision is becoming reality.”


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