Dogwood Health Trust To Host Series of Community Meetings on Factors That Influence Health

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ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (September 9, 2019) – Dogwood Health Trust today announced plans to host a series of three community meetings in October that will be used to provide education and obtain input on the priorities for addressing social determinants of health throughout Western North Carolina.

During the sessions, national public health experts will take part in a panel discussion highlighting the various factors that influence health and well-being and discuss possible ways to address these issues throughout the region.

“One of the Trust’s guiding principles is to keep people and communities first,” said Janice Brumit, chair of the Dogwood Health Trust Board of Directors. “These community meetings will help us better understand the unique health needs of the nearly one million Western North Carolinians we serve and hear expert perspectives that will help collectively determine how to best address some of our region’s most pressing health issues.”

The meetings, which are open to the public, will also be the region’s introduction to the Trust’s new CEO, Antony Chiang, J.D., who will serve as a panelist prior to formally assuming his new role in November. Additional speakers include:

  • Rebecca Onie, J.D., Co-founder, The Health Initiative: A nationally recognized leader in population and public health, Onie is a MacArthur “Genius” awardee and recipient of Forbes’ Impact 30 Award for leading social entrepreneurs. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and an Aspen Institute Health Innovator.
  • Rocco Perla, Ed.D., Co-founder, The Health Initiative (MODERATOR): Perla is a former director of the CMS Innovation Center, where he established the national learning system to test new delivery and payment models through the Affordable Care Act and oversaw the $1 Billion Partnership for Patients and the Million Hearts Campaign. He is president emeritus of Health Leads and currently holds an assistant professorship at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
  • Betsey Tilson, Chief Medical Officer, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services: As state health director, Tilson promotes public health and prevention activities throughout the state while continuing to practice as a primary care physician at Wake County Human Services Child Health Clinic. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Dartmouth College, a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The meetings will take place in communities across Western North Carolina to make them widely accessible to the region’s diverse population. They will be held:

  • Oct 9 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Crane Resistoflex Auditorium at McDowell Technical Community College in Marion;
  • Oct 10 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Burrell Building at Southwestern Community College in Sylva (A livestream of this meeting will be available at; and
  • Oct. 10 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Mission/AB Tech Conference Center at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College in Asheville.

“Our vision is to measurably transform the health of our region, starting with an understanding of the health equity needs and health disparities of our communities,” said Chiang. “That’s why we are so incredibly grateful for these meetings, which will be a meaningful step to learn, and to hopefully begin to build deep relationships with partners.  If it was easy for any one actor to move the needle, that stakeholder could just do it. Instead, it will take collaboration to transform health.”

While the meetings are open to the public, space is limited. To register and reserve seating, visit:

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Erica Allison

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735 Locust St.
Hendersonville, NC 28792

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