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Dogwood Health Trust Names Susan Mims Interim CEO

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Mims to drive forward strategic initiatives, ensure continuity in grantmaking

Asheville, N.C. –  The Board of Directors for Dogwood Health Trust has named Susan Mims, MD, MPH, the Interim Chief Executive Officer of the region’s largest foundation focused on the health and well-being of all people and communities of Western North Carolina. Mims will join Dogwood Health Trust in December, partnering with the board and staff to ensure continuity in grantmaking and drive forward strategic initiatives.

“Our goal was to identify an interim who had a strong knowledge of the region, strong leadership and management experience, and existing relationships with partner organizations, allowing the board to be deliberate in considering its needs for a long-term CEO,” said Janice Brumit, chair of the board. “Susan Mims meets those needs, offering a unique perspective on the impact of social determinants of health on individuals and communities throughout Western North Carolina. We appreciate her willingness to step away from her current role and tackle this important work.” 

Mims is currently employed with the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) where she chairs the newly established Department of Community and Public Health at UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC. In that role, she built a team of clinical and public health experts in support of MAHEC initiatives that focus on educating future public health advocates, eliminating health inequities, and addressing social determinants of health in collaboration with regional and state partners. These efforts include coordinating a regional community response to COVID-19 prevention, treatment and recovery with the expansion of community health workers across Western North Carolina. These community-led initiatives bring prevention education to the region and connect those in need with care and services through the NCCARE360 program.

“We are excited to see Dr. Mims step into this new leadership role guiding the future direction of the Dogwood Health Trust as it pursues its mission through strategic partnerships with regional health organizations like MAHEC,” said Jeff Heck, MD, CEO of MAHEC. “She has been a tremendous asset during her time with us. She clearly understands and is dedicated to the needs of our community, and I am confident she will help Dogwood Health Trust build an even stronger foundation for maximum impact on our region.”

“There is no doubt that Dogwood Health Trust is a transformational health and wellness resource for our region; the opportunity to guide the organization during this critical period is consistent with my own goals for improving access to the social and economic opportunities that influence health in a systemic way,” said Mims. “I’m looking forward to partnering with the existing team to continue building relationships across the region, understanding and addressing the substantive issues that impact health and well-being of all people in WNC, and maximizing the positive impact of Dogwood Health Trust’s grantmaking.”

With more than 20 years of clinical and healthcare leadership experience in North Carolina, Mims has a deep understanding of the region’s healthcare landscape. Prior to joining MAHEC, Mims served on Mission Hospital’s leadership team working to meet the healthcare needs of the people and families of WNC and to promote health throughout the region.  She was the Vice President for Children’s Services and Clinical Genetics and Personalized Medicine at Mission Health, Chief of Pediatrics for Mission Children’s Hospital, and Vice Chief of Staff for Mission Hospital. Dr. Mims also served as the chief executive for Mission Children’s Hospital for over a decade where she oversaw growth in specialty care and services for children, improved financial performance, and developed outreach programs to serve the health and dental care needs of children in rural WNC. 

Dr. Mims was the medical director at the Buncombe County Health Department, where she was responsible for clinical services in the county’s largest indigent care clinic, school-based health centers, and comprehensive public health. Prior to her work as medical director at the health department, Dr. Mims was a physician in a private practice in Durham, NC.  Dr. Mims attended college at the University of Georgia and earned a Master of Public Health degree from UNC while completing her medical degree. Dr. Mims continued her medical training at UNC Hospitals in pediatrics, internal medicine, preventive medicine and public health. 

“In many respects, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the surface a number of underlying social challenges to the overall health and well-being of the people of North Carolina.  Dogwood Health Trust’s focus on addressing these issues in partnership with the many non-profit and health organizations in the region is critically important and offers boundless opportunity to change lives,” said Mims.

In seeking a permanent CEO, the board will focus its initial efforts on evaluating organization needs, CEO skills, and priorities for the next phase of leadership before setting a timeline for an official search process. 

“In choosing someone as experienced as Susan for this role, we are creating an opportunity for the board to reflect on Dogwood Health Trust’s long-term needs, while ensuring that the organization continues to grow in strength and impact during these formative years,” said Brumit. “Susan has no learning curve in terms of understanding the region, and we are confident that she is the right person for this position.”
Dogwood Health Trust is a North Carolina nonprofit corporation with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and well-being of all people and communities of Western North Carolina. Dogwood Health Trust was created from the net proceeds of the sale of Mission Hospital and focuses on innovative ways to address the many factors that contribute to overall health and wellness. To learn more, please visit www.dht.org.

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