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Features Health & Wellness

A two-year $700,000 federal grant will provide stipends to students in Western Carolina University’s family nurse practitioner master’s degree program who plan to work in rural or underserved communities.

The Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the grant as part of the Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship program. The program is designed to help increase the number of primary care providers in rural areas or public health departments that often face challenges recruiting and retaining such providers.

Family nurse practitioners are high-quality, cost-effective primary care providers who promote health and holistically treat patients of all ages, diagnosing and treating common acute and chronic health problems, said Tamera Pearson, associate professor and director of the WCU Family Nurse Practitioner Program.

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Last month, Smoky Mountain LME/MCO (Local Management Entity, Managed Care Organization) celebrated two years of improvements in service for consumers and cost savings to the state under the Medicaid 1915 (b)(c) waiver, which allows for public managed care of Medicaid funds. Smoky Mountain LME/MCO is the public agency that manages Medicaid in Western North Carolina counties including Macon County.

Since beginning operations under the statewide waiver in July 2012, the organization has maximized the use of both Medicaid and state funds for individuals in need of mental health, substance abuse and intellectual and developmental disability services.

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Board members of the Judy Moore Scholarship Endowment Committee have announced that two scholarships for $1,000 each have been awarded to Edith Jennings and Katherine Sevigny.

Awards are given for tuition, books, room and board and any other related educational expenses to candidates who qualify and are enrolled in Nursing degree programs.

In May 2014, Edith Jennings received her Associate Degree in Nursing from Southwestern Community College. Jennings is listed in the Who’s Who Among Students in Universities and Colleges 2012, is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and received the SCC Academic Award 2013 for Outstanding Academic Achievement. She is currently enrolled in the BSN degree program at Western Carolina University with a career goal focus in Obstetrical nursing.

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Macon County Public Health employee, Sheila Corbin (L) was recently recognized by the Macon County Board of Health for her outstanding work in Macon County's immunization program.

Board of Health Chair, Russell Stevenson (C) and Health Director Jim Bruckner (R) honored Corbin for her impact on keeping Macon County's immunization rates among the highest in the state.

Corbin holds primary responsibility for performing the patient tracking, reminders, and follow up correspondence for immunizations.

In 2013, the statewide average for immunization compliance was 68 percent; whereas Corbin's work has placed the rate among Macon County Public Health clients at 96 percent, almost 30 percent higher than the state.

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