By Carol Wolfenbarger
Chief Executive Officer, Mission Hospital McDowell
Since we celebrate Christmas this month, it’s an appropriate time for me to share some gifts we’ve gotten here at Mission Hospital McDowell.
I’m delighted to announce that we’ve welcomed three talented new providers into our family of caregivers over the past several months. We feel fortunate to have them here in our community and I know they have already begun to create meaningful relationships with our community members who are their patients.
Benjamin Heyen, MD is our new Family Practice doctor at Mission Community Medicine – Old Fort. He’s both medical and musical, and earned his degree in Biochemistry with a minor in music from Kansas’ Tabor College. He continued his higher education in Kansas and attended medical school at University of Kansas School of Medicine. Dr. Heyen moved to warmer climates when he did his family medicine residency training at Halifax Health in Daytona Beach, Florida.
He balances his work life with hiking, tennis, traveling, and playing the piano with wife and dog Winston. Family care is his passion. “I enjoy focusing on preventative health and providing comprehensive care to the whole family, while practicing in the alluring mountains of western North Carolina,” he shares.
Dr. Alisa Eanes is our new OB/GYN at Mission Women’s Health Care – McDowell. She’s a California native, but a longtime North Carolina resident since 11 years of age. She attended UNC-Chapel Hill and received her undergraduate degree in Women’s Studies and Psychology, continuing on with her medical education at the School of Medicine there.
Dr. Eanes did her residency right here in Western North Carolina at MAHEC – OB/GYN in Asheville. A fan of historical fiction and poetry, she also enjoys watercolor painting and nature walks with her husband. As to what she enjoys most about practicing here, Dr. Eanes replies, “I find it rewarding to walk alongside women through many different stages of their lives. I enjoy the long-term connection to patients and their families.”
Finally we want to welcome Virginia native J. Paul Fletcher, DO (Doctor of Osteopathy), who earned his undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech and attended medical school at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. Osteopathy is a noninvasive medical specialty whose practitioners focus special attention on the muscles, joints, and spine. He completed his medical residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at Pennsylvania State University.
As a National Health Service Corps Scholar, Dr. Fletcher received a full medical school scholarship for committing to provide a minimum of four years of primary care service to a geographic area that’s medically underserved, or a place with a shortage of primary care physicians. He moved here to Marion this past summer with his wife and daughter to serve patients at Mission Community Medicine in Nebo.
Dr. Fletcher is passionate about his patients and has an interest in treating children and young adults with chronic conditions. He’s an outdoor enthusiast, wood worker, and enjoys cooking. He’s also thrilled to be living in the mountains again. “Having grown up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, I’m exceptionally excited to be able to practice medicine in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. I deeply identify with my Appalachian roots, and see it as an honor and a joy to be working here among these resilient people,” says Dr. Fletcher.
As we say farewell to 2019, we’re celebrating the compassionate care all of our physicians and providers bring to our community and welcome our new physicians. I extend to our entire community very best wishes for a healthy and happy Christmas and New Year.
Carol Wolfenbarger, MSN, RN, FACHE, is Chief Executive Officer of Mission Hospital McDowell. She holds both Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees in nursing administration from the University of Tennessee, is board certified in Healthcare Management and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). Carol, who has served hospitals and health systems for more than three decades, has worked to add full-time cardiology services, led growth in outpatient services including imaging and surgery, and the expansion of primary care offering in Burke County since assuming her role as President at McDowell Hospital in 2015. She is an active member in Rotary and serves as a Board member for the Rutherford/Polk/McDowell Health District Board of Directors, the Corpening YMCA Board of Directors, and the McDowell County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.