Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center Earns National Accreditation

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) has granted Three-Year Accreditation to the cancer program at Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center. To earn voluntary CoC accreditation, a cancer program must meet 34 CoC quality care standards, be evaluated every three years through a survey process, and maintain levels of excellence in the delivery of comprehensive patient-centered care.

Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center - Boone, NC

Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center – Boone, NC

Because it is a CoC-accredited cancer center, Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer as a complex group of diseases that requires consultation among surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, pathologists, and other cancer specialists. This multidisciplinary partnership results in improved patient care.

“Our programs achievement of the accreditation from the Commission on Cancer demonstrates the ultimate commitment to our patients. Patients at Seby B. Jones Cancer Center receive the same level of care as they would at a larger medical facility in a large city,” said Sandi Cassidy, Director of Oncology Services for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. “CoC accreditation ensures that every patient receives the highest standard of clinically accepted treatments and therapies for their unique cancer diagnosis.”

Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center - Boone, NC

Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center – Boone, NC

The CoC Accreditation Program provides the framework for Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center to improve its quality of patient care through various cancer-related programs that focus on the full spectrum of cancer care including prevention, early diagnosis, cancer staging, optimal treatment, rehabilitation, life-long follow-up for recurrent disease, and end-of-life care. When patients receive care at a CoC facility, they also have access to information on clinical trials and new treatments, genetic counseling, and patient centered services including psycho-social support, a patient navigation process, and a survivorship care plan that documents the care each patient receives and seeks to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.

Like all CoC-accredited facilities, Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center maintains a cancer registry and contributes data to the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a joint program of the CoC and American Cancer Society (ACS). This nationwide oncology outcomes database is the largest clinical disease registry in the world. Data on all types of cancer are tracked and analyzed through the NCDB and used to explore trends in cancer care. CoC-accredited cancer centers, in turn, have access to information derived from this type of data analysis, which is used to create national, regional, and state benchmark reports. These reports help CoC facilities with their quality improvement efforts.

ACS estimates that more than 1.6 million cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2013. There are currently more than 1,500 CoC-accredited cancer programs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, representing 30 percent of all hospitals. CoC-accredited facilities diagnose and/or treat more than 70 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer patients. When cancer patients choose to seek care locally at a CoC-accredited cancer center, they are gaining access to comprehensive, state-of-the-art cancer care close to home. The CoC provides the public with information on the resources, services, and cancer treatment experience for each CoC-accredited cancer program through the CoC Hospital Locator at

Established in 1922 by the American College of Surgeons, the CoC is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving patient outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of comprehensive, quality care. Its membership includes Fellows of the American College of Surgeons. For more information, visit:

Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center is located on the campus of Watauga Medical Center in Boone. For more information about Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center, visit


Hospital Volunteers Present Scholarships

The Cannon Memorial Hospital Volunteer Program is proud to announce the presentation of $7,250 in scholarships for 2014 to students from area schools pursuing a degree in the healthcare field.

On August 14, 2014, nine students were awarded scholarships at Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville, NC presented by Paul Hagen, Scholarship Chair of the Cannon Memorial Hospital Volunteers.  Scholarships were presented to the following individuals:

•    Brittany Thomason – pursuing an associate degree in nursing at Mayland Community College
•    Miranda Degrande – pursuing a bachelor of science degree in nursing at Mayland Community College
•    Anneliese Alonso – pursuing an associate degree in nursing at Mayland Community College
•    Miranda Hutchins – pursuing an associate degree in nursing at Mayland Community College
•    Lori Pittman – pursuing a bachelor of science degree in nursing at Lees McRae College
•    Malissa Burleson – pursuing an associate degree in nursing at Mayland Community College
•    William Orr – pursuing an associate degree in nursing at Mayland Community College
•    Rachel Verkode – pursuing an associate degree in nursing at Mayland Community College
•    Sarah Ellis – pursuing an associate degree in nursing at Mayland Community College

Congratulations to each of these outstanding individuals! The Cannon Memorial Hospital Volunteer Program wishes each of them every success as they pursue their futures in the healthcare field!

2014 Scholarship Recipients

2014 Scholarship Recipients with Paul Hagen

Pictured left to right: (Front Row) Anneliese Alonso; Malissa Burleson; Miranda Hutchins; Sarah Ellis; Brittany Thomason; Rachel Verkade; Lori Pittman; CMH volunteer scholarship chair, Paul Hagen.  (Back Row) William Orr

August is National Immunization Month

August is back-to-school month, time to stock up on those backpacks, pencils, crayons and notebooks. But be sure to add one more thing to your back-to-school list, especially if you have a rising kindergartner or sixth grader: Vaccines!

It’s very fitting that the CDC has set aside August as National Immunization Awareness Month. Before entering school or child care, every child in North Carolina must have a record of receiving the required list of immunizations, which you can find here Also, rising sixth graders now need a Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis or Tdap booster before they can start school in the fall.

Of course, vaccines aren’t just for older children. They are a very big part of the health care provided to infants during the first few months of their lives. These shots are like miracles in little packages, protecting our children from potentially deadly diseases such as measles, whooping cough, polio and diphtheria. Find out what vaccines your baby should be getting with the CDC’s recommended vaccine schedule.

It’s hard to watch tiny infants get poked with needles. But remember, you are doing what’s best for them by having them vaccinated. There have been some concerns with vaccinations in recent years, especially news that linked rising rates of autism with vaccines. But the CDC has conclusive evidence that there is no link between autism and vaccines. They are safe for your child, and the mild discomfort they might feel can be alleviated with the appropriate dose of Tylenol.

And of course, vaccines aren’t just for kids. Adults should get a flu vaccine yearly, and have a Tdap booster if it’s been more than 10 years since your last one. And depending on your age, you might also need a shingles and pneumonia vaccine.

Talk with your primary care provider to make sure you and your children are up to date on all the required vaccines. If you do not have a primary care provider, you can find one by visiting our website, and click on the Find a Physician link in the top right corner.

Cancer Patient Emergency Fund Benefits from Pretty in Pink

More than 150 attendees gathered June 19th for the annual Pretty in Pink Fashion Show at Camp Yonahnoka on the grounds of the Linville Golf Club.

Pretty in Pink - 2014

Suzanne Dibble, Emily Gates, Regina Vance, Martha Daniels, Kip Clark, Louise Weatherman, Carmen Lacey, Marian Krege and Carol Schaffer

This year’s show featured fashions provided by Belk in the Boone Mall, modelled by Avery County ladies who have been touched by cancer.  Guest speaker was cancer survivor, Amy Michael.

The event raised $8,000 for the Avery County Cancer Resource Center’s Cancer Patient Emergency Fund.

The Avery County Cancer Resource Center is available to area cancer patients and their families. Patients are referred by their medical provider and have access, by appointment, to a variety of resources including a wig bank, hats and caps, prosthetics and educational literature. The Center is located in the Sloop Medical Office Plaza, beside Cannon Memorial Hospital, in Linville, NC.

For more information, please call contact the Avery Cancer Resource Center at (828) 737-7477.

Breast is Best: August is National Breastfeeding Month

Every new mother wants to do what’s best for their baby. From the moment a child is born, and even before, new moms and dads are worrying about having the right car seat, getting the nursery ready, looking for a great daycare and even starting to save for college. And of course, getting the baby the proper nutrition is one of the most pressing worries. It is well-documented that breastfeeding is the best option for feeding infants. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, babies that are exclusively breastfed for the first six months are less likely to develop ear infections, diarrhea and respiratory illnesses, and may be less likely to develop childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes. In addition, breast milk supplies the appropriate nutrition for a growing and changing infant, providing the appropriate calories, carbohydrates, fats and proteins for each new stage.

The best way to get information out about the benefits of breastfeeding is through talking about it, and what better time than in August, which has been designated National Breastfeeding Month by the United States Breastfeeding Committee to empower women to commit to breastfeeding.

While breastfeeding has been done for as long as time, it is not always an easy experience. We have all seen the sensationalized stories in the media of women being kicked out of public places for breastfeeding their babies. But the state of North Carolina has laws to protect women in these situations. In addition to the question of where to breastfeed, there can be many other challenges, from ensuring that the baby latches on to figuring out how to continue providing breast milk once you go back to work.

Luckily there are plenty of resources available for new mothers. Appalachian Regional Healthcare System has a great team of obstetricians, pediatricians, nurses and lactation consultants who are happy to talk with you and answer any questions you might have. To learn more, visit call or call the New Life Center at (828) 737-7860 or the John R. Marchese, MD Birthing Center at (828) 265-5029.

Additional Resources:

North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition

La Leche League of Boone




Blowing Rock Fashion Show Festivities Sold Out

Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation is pleased to share that the Patrons Evening Under the Stars and the 37th Annual Blowing Rock Fashion Show and Luncheon have sold out.

“We are so grateful to the community for their support of these events and Chestnut Ridge,” said Rob Hudspeth, Senior Vice President of Advancement for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System.

Proceeds from both events benefit the new post-acute care center, Chestnut Ridge at Blowing Rock. Chestnut Ridge will offer post-acute rehabilitative care, skilled nursing care, palliative care and memory support care.

The Patrons Evening Under the Stars will be Saturday, July 26, 2014 on the lawn of the private, historical home “Shadowlawn” in Mayview. Patrons will enjoy cocktails, dining and dancing to The Todd Wright Sextet and a live auction.

The 37th Annual Blowing Rock Fashion Show & Luncheon will be Friday, August 1, 2014 at the Blowing Rock Country Club. The event will feature models wearing the latest fashions, live music with The Todd Wright Duo and a magnificent silent auction.

Anyone wishing to attend either event should call Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation at (828) 262-4391 and request to be added to the waiting list.

To learn more about Chestnut Ridge at Blowing Rock, visit


July is National Blueberry Month, and we think that is definitely something worth celebrating! Whether you like your blueberries in muffins, pies, or fruit salads, or you just pop them in your mouth for a fast and easy snack, no matter how you eat them there’s no denying this little berry is a super food.blueberries

According to, just one cup of blueberries will give you:

  • 14% of the recommended daily dose of fiber
  • 25% of the recommended daily dose of Vitamin C

Blueberries are also packed with antioxidants, those compounds that help boost your immune system, and they contain anthocyanins, which have been shown to improve cardiovascular health and might even attack cancer-causing free radicals. You get all of this for less than 100 calories!

Of course, you can get blueberries year round at the supermarket. But now is the perfect time to find fresh, North Carolina-grown blueberries practically in your own backyard. Visit the Avery County Farmers Market, Watauga County Farmers Market or Blowing Rock Farmers Market to find fresh-picked berries from local farms, and mix them up with blackberries and raspberries. Or make an adventure out of it and go pick your own! You can find farms across the state on the Pick Your Own website. Be sure to call before you go to confirm blueberries are available for picking.

Once you’ve got your blueberries, it’s time to start eating! Here are a few ways to incorporate them into your daily diet:

  • Sprinkle blueberries on cereal, yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast
  • Add them to your favorite smoothie recipe
  • Mix blueberries into any fruit salad or green salad
  • Make a patriotic dessert with strawberries, blueberries and Cool Whip topping on a low-fat pound cake

Find more recipes from the North Carolina Blueberry Council.

Make the most of National Blueberry Month, and incorporate these and other healthy habits into your diet for better health!

Stay Safe in the Sun!

Child in a PoolSummer is in full swing, and that means time at the pool, the beach, the lake, the golf course, the tennis courts, and all sorts of other great outdoor activities. It’s a great time of year to be active and healthy, but remember when you’re out there, protect your skin! The sun’s rays are warm and welcoming, but there can definitely be too much of a good thing. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, each year more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States, and most are associated with exposure to UV radiation to the sun.

Luckily, the days of bronze-skinned bathing beauties are a thing of the past, and slathering on the sunscreen or wearing protective clothing such as swim shirts and hats are the new trend. Just be sure that when you are wearing sunscreen you do it right, to make sure you are as protected as you can be. Here are a few tips to remember when applying sunscreen.

  • Apply it liberally. You will need at least two tablespoons, or about a golf ball size, to cover your entire body.
  • Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before going outdoors, to give it time to absorb into your skin.
  • Reapply every two hours, or sooner if you’ve been swimming or sweating.
  • Use an SPF 15 sunscreen every day, and go for SPF 30 or higher for outdoor activities. But keep in mind that SPFs higher than 30 don’t give you much more protection, so don’t overextend yourself. SPF 30 absorbs 97 percent of the sun’s burning rays, while SPF 50 comes in at just 98 percent.
  • Make sure to use a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. These will have ingredients such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or stabilized avobenzone.

In addition to slathering on the sunscreen, remember to also do a body check once a month, and have your doctor do a skin exam once a year. Be alert for any moles or marks that change color, size, shape or texture, or any that have appeared after the age of 21.

For a good list of reliable sunscreens, check out this year’s report from the Environmental Working Group. They methodically test and research more than 700 sunscreens for safety and effectiveness.

And remember, sunscreen isn’t just for summer. You can burn just as easily out on the ski slopes as you can on the lake. There’s just less skin exposed! So make sure you wear sunscreen every day.

For more information about changes in your skin, consult your primary care provider or a dermatologist in your area.




Groundbreaking for Chestnut Ridge at Blowing Rock to be held June 24th

Chestnut Ridge

Chestnut Ridge at Blowing Rock

The groundbreaking for Chestnut Ridge at Blowing Rock will take place on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 from 2 – 4 p.m.

Chestnut Ridge, part of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, is a 112-bed Post-Acute Care facility that will replace the existing 72-bed Blowing Rock Rehabilitation and Davant Extended Care Center – formerly known as Blowing Rock Hospital. The new facility will provide rehabilitation, skilled nursing care, palliative care and memory support care.

“Looking to the future, Chestnut Ridge at Blowing Rock, will allow Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) to take care of the right patient, at the right place, at the right time,”said ARHS president and CEO Richard Sparks.

The public is invited to attend this momentous occasion. Due to road construction and limited accessibility, those who wish to attend the groundbreaking are asked to park at Tanger Shoppes on the Parkway in Blowing Rock and ride an ARHS shuttle to the property. Multiple shuttles will run every 15 minutes from 1:15 pm until 2 pm.

Map for Tanger Shoppes on the Parkway

To learn more about Chestnut Ridge at Blowing Rock or visit or call (828) 262-4391.

Urgent Care Vs. Emergency Room: Making the Decision

AppUrgent Care Center

AppUrgent Care Center

The following scenarios are fictitious and not based on real people.

It’s 5:30 on a Wednesday evening. Sue has just picked up her kindergartener Billy from after-school care and he tells her his ear has been hurting all day. When they get home she checks his temperature, and isn’t surprised when she sees he has a fever, a temperature of 103 degrees. He’s had two ear infections already this winter, this must be another one. If they can get him antibiotics soon, he might only miss one day of school. This is a perfect opportunity to visit the AppUrgent Care Centeropen weekdays 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Saturday night at 2 a.m., Joe wakes up with a gripping pain in his chest. Without thinking twice, his wife Carol calls 911 and Joe is transported to the emergency room at Watauga Medical Centerwhere he is immediately taken back and taken through the appropriate tests. It turns out he had a minor heart attack, and Carol’s quick trip to the ER might have saved his life.

Emergency Department Entrance at Watauga Medical Center

Emergency Department Entrance at Watauga Medical Center

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is fortunate to be able to provide both emergency services and urgent care services for people in our communities. But for many people, it is hard to know where to go. The examples above are two very black and white cases, but there are many more that are not that clear cut. Overall, you can feel safe in making decisions for your family by using the following guidelines.

Urgent Care Centers

  • Sprains and broken bones
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Ear infections, cough, or sore throat
  • Animal bites
  • Cuts or minor laceration repairs
  • Urinary Tract Infections

Emergency Centers

Emergency Department Entrance at Cannon Memorial Department

Emergency Department Entrance at Cannon Memorial Department

  • Chest pain
  • Stroke symptoms
  • Severe/sudden pain
  • Severe Bleeding
  • Head injury
  • Difficulty Breathing

The rule of thumb is that emergency centers are equipped to treat severe and life-threatening illnesses and conditions. The doctors and medical staff have been trained in these areas and have the appropriate equipment and labs to run tests and prescribe medicine to treat traumas in the best possible manner.

Urgent care centers, on the other hand, can often be confused with emergency departments because they are also a place where you can come on a walk-in basis. But they are set up for less severe illnesses and injuries. The extended and weekend hours make them an appropriate place to go for things that you would normally visit your primary care physician for, but can’t because it’s after hours. They are also equipped to handle sprains and broken bones and other minor injuries. In most cases it’s cheaper and faster to visit the urgent care than the emergency room!

Understanding the differences and the types of services each provide will help you be able to plan where to go when the moment of need arises. And if there’s any doubt, call your primary care physician to ask which is the best place to go for your illness or injury.

For more information about AppUrgent Care Center (2146 Blowing Rock Road, Boone, NC 28607), visit

For more information about the Emergency Department at Watauga Medical Center (336 Deerfield Road, Boone, NC 28607) and Cannon Memorial Hospital (434 Hospital Drive, Linville, NC 28646), visit…