Boone NC


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!

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…





Celebrating Cancer Survivors

Through our cancer services, we have the opportunity to meet with and talk to many people at different stages of their cancer journey, from diagnosis through to survival. But a recent conversation with one patient stands out. The patient was coming in for her last radiation treatment, and was congratulated by the staff for making it through the treatments and praised for the strength she had shown through it all. Needless to say, the staff were all caught off guard when she responded, “I am not sure how I feel about this being my last treatment. Cancer has become a part of who I am, and I think I will miss it.”

The response spoke volumes about what cancer patients go through. This young woman felt she was no longer a carefree 30-something. She was now a person who had grappled with death, and had won, for now. And not only that, but she would always live with the fear that the cancer could return. And what would the results be next time?

Cancer patients, cancer survivors, and their caregivers and loved ones have gone through a life experience that other people cannot fully understand. It is that very experience that is celebrated and recognized on June 1 each year, Cancer Survivor’s Day. For 27 years, this day has been set aside to raise awareness of cancer prevention tools and educate the public. It’s also an opportunity to hold events and activities that bring cancer survivor’s together to connect with each other and celebrate milestones, as well as to recognize the supporters and loved ones who have been touched by someone with cancer.

Luckily, the support found on Cancer Survivor’s Day is not for one day only. Events like Relay for Life bring together cancer survivors and their loved ones to celebrate their successes while raising money for cancer research to help even more people become survivors. You can be a part of two great events in our area, the Relay for Life at Watauga High School on June 20, and the Relay for Life at Avery High School on July 25.

cancer_center2006Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center offers a range of services for cancer survivors through the Avery County Cancer Resource Center and the Cancer Resource Alliance. Support groups, social counseling, pastoral care, exercise and wellness programs and many other services help cancer survivors through their journey from diagnosis and treatment to living as a cancer survivor.

Whether you are battling cancer now or have in the past and are living as a cancer survivor, remember, you are not alone. We are here for you.

For more information about Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center, call (828) 262-4342 or (828) 262-4332.

Scott Eggers is Heart Healthy Thanks to The Cardiology Center

 (June 4, 2013) -Watauga County native, Scott Eggers, is heart healthy thanks to The Cardiology Center of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS).
Scott Eggers

Scott Eggers

In 2010, when Eggers went for routine blood work, he was advised to take a stress test. The results were abnormal, so he was sent to Charlotte to have a diagnostic procedure known as a heart catheterization and found an artery that was 85% blocked. A stent was placed successfully.

In December of 2012, Eggers was back at The Cardiology Center for a routine baseline stress test that is typical a year or more after a procedure. Abnormal results and his previous stent warranted a closer look. Eggers was scheduled for a diagnostic heart catheterization or heart cath the very next day. However, this time it was performed in Boone, by cardiologist, Dr. Paul Vignola.

“I like Dr. Vignola because he is very personable and explains everything to you. He respects your time and doesn’t piddle around with you. He makes sure you are well taken care of and then he is ready to move on and help someone else,” said Eggers with a smile.

Eggers shared that Dr. Vignola not only prepared him for the procedures, but helped reassure his wife and family with several personal calls during the procedure. Dr. Vignola explained the process in a very clear and concise manner. The first step is to perform a diagnostic heart cath to find out if there is a serious blockage. If there are no serious blockages or if the blockage can be treated with medication, the procedure stops. However, if it is determined during the diagnostic heart cath that there is a critical blockage, similar to the one Eggers had previously, then the procedure proceeds with repairing the blockage, if safe to do so.

“When I was in Charlotte, a few years ago, I felt more like a number as opposed to a person who was stuck lying on a gurney for hours waiting for my catheter procedure to be done,” said Eggers. “However, having this procedure at Watauga Medical Center was quite different. You are close to home, you are familiar with the hospital, you are treated with the utmost care by the staff, and they are as well trained and certified as the staff you will find down the mountain.”

Dr. Paul Vignola

Dr. Paul Vignola

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System began offering diagnostic catheterizations and angioplasty stents in November 2012. Since that time, more than 246 diagnostic heart catheterizations have been performed and 84 of those patients received stents with no serious complications.

“In 2012 when we were developing our Cardiology Service Line, the current literature demonstrated that percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), was safe and effective in rural areas without cardiovascular surgical capabilities,” said Kim Bianca, Sr. VP of Clinical and Outpatient Service Lines for ARHS. “Therefore in keeping with the American College of Cardiology guidelines we moved forward with the vision to provide this life saving program for the High Country. Thanks to the support of our CEO, Richard Sparks, our Board of Trustees and our medical staff, we have very successful interventional cardiac services here in Boone.”

“I have been a doctor for 43 years in a variety of large cities, however, here in the High Country is the first time I can honestly say I feel like I am really taking care of my friends and neighbors,” Vignola continued.

After recovering from his surgery, Eggers was advised to participate in the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation program offered at the Wellness Center and led by Dr. Jeff Soukup, PhD, CES and Kathleen Collins RN, along with students from Appalachian State University.

Eggers admitted the scariest part of the whole process was the looming lifestyle change. Known by his friends and family as the man who does not slow down, he knew it was time to trust the Lord and his doctor with some changes in his diet, exercise and smoking habit.

“You have to trust in the Lord when he opens doors,” said Eggers. The Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation program “has helped me immensely with my recovery and it has increased by endurance level. Everyone is supportive and the interaction with other heart and pulmonary patients is very motivating.”

With only a few more weeks until he graduates from the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation program, Eggers looks forward to spending more time with his family, landscaping, and playing golf and much less time worrying about his health thanks to the team of providers at The Cardiology Center.

“We are very blessed to have such a strong cardiology center available to us in the High Country,” said Eggers. “I would recommend speaking with Dr. Vignola before anyone considers having a cath or stent procedure off of the mountain.”

For more information about the Cardiology Center, call (828)-264-9664 or visit

Cardiology Center Provides Peace of Mind for Beverly Stahl

Beverly Stahl

Beverly Stahl

(May 15, 2013) – Beverly Stahl, a Michigan native and a high country resident since 2001 has found peace in the compassionate and continual care provided by The Cardiology Center of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS).

In 2006, Stahl was told that she needed to consult with an Electrophysiology Cardiologist, which was not available in the High Country at that time. Therefore, she drove off the mountain to get a pacemaker implanted. After the procedure, Stahl met Kim Denny, RN, a device clinical specialist in Boone that she now meets with regularly to get her pacemaker serviced.

“Kim is a very caring and knowledgeable person,” said Stahl. “Over time we have developed a comfortable relationship. When I ask her a question, it is like asking a friend.”

Kim Denny

Kim Denny

Denny, who has been a nurse for 22 years and has specialized in cardiology for 16 years, shared that “Beverly is a pleasure to work with; we have known each other for years. She feels like family.”

The Cardiology Center of ARHS is the only device provider in the High Country that has two registered nurse device clinic specialists. Other facilities utilize a variety of device representatives to service their patients’ devices. A local device clinician provides consistency for the patient and expertise with regards to the specific device.

In 2012, Stahl learned that she would need a new pacemaker. “When I heard that The Cardiology Center of ARHS had Dr. Hordes, I decided to have the procedure in Boone,” said Stahl.

Stahl’s cardiologist, Dr. Andrew Hordes, is an Electrophysiology Cardiologist  who has been with The Cardiology Center for a year. He has 25 years experience as a cardiologist and is ranked among the top 10 percent of cardiologists in the United States.
Andrew Hordes, MD

Andrew Hordes, MD

“Dr. Hordes is very nice. He answers my questions and I would recommend him to anyone,” said Stahl. “I am thrilled to not have to leave the mountain anymore for my healthcare concerns. ARHS and The Cardiology Center has provided a lot of peace of mind (and heart) for me and my family.”

“I love giving patients good news,” shared Hordes. “This area has needed this service (defibrillator, pacemaker, and cardiac resynchronization therapy) for a long time.”

For more information about the Cardiology Center, call (828)-264-9664 or visit

Wound Care Center Moving to Doctors Drive

Wound Care Center

169 Doctors Drive, Boone, NC

The Wound Care Center of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is relocating  from their current home at Watauga Medical Center to 169 Doctors Drive in Boone.  The expanded, updated space will offer patients a warm, welcoming atmosphere and allow for ample parking and ease of access to the building.  According to Toni Gault, Director of Post-Acute Services,  they will begin welcoming patients at their new location on Monday, January 7.

The Wound Care Center of ARHS opened in the Fall of 2010 to serve a growing need in the community for comprehensive, effective wound care for the residents of Watauga, Avery and Ashe, without having to travel off the mountain.  Accessed with a physician’s referral, The Wound Care Center provides several therapeutic modalities to treat acute and chronic wounds including compression treatment, negative pressure wound therapy, wound irrigation and debridement.  The Wound Care Center also provides Ostomy pre-op education, Stoma marking and post-op care and in the near future, will be offering an ostomy support group.

The Wound Care Center team includes a Physician Assistant who has obtained specialized training in wound care, Wound, Ostomy, Continence RNs and nursing assistants, who will collaborate with patients, their families and physicians to provide targeted therapies to treat existing wounds and provide education on preventing chronic wounds. Harold Frazier, Jr., MD of Watauga Surgical Group is the Medical Director of The Wound Care Center.
As part of the ARHS family, the team has the opportunity to easily collaborate with Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, certified diabetes educators, nutritionists and social workers, as well as other medical professionals as needed to provide well-rounded, comprehensive care.

For more information about the services provided by The Wound Care Center, call (828) 262-9520.

Get the Scoop on Women’s Health Care at the Women’s Extravaganza

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System will host the Women’s Extravaganza on Friday, September 7th at the Boone Mall. Ladies, and gentlemen, can drop by anytime between 10 am and 2 pm for Health, Wellness and Fun!
Women's Extravaganza
The event will feature more than 40 vendor booths related to local health care, non-profit organizations and businesses such as The Cardiology Center, Earth Fare, OASIS, The Rehabilitation Center, Alzheimers NC, ARHS Home Health, Diabetes Education, Energy Wellness, Stroke Education, ASU Health Sciences, Harmony Center for Women, WAMY, Broyhill Wellness Center and more!

A fashion show, featuring apparel from the stores in the Boone Mall, will take place at 11:30 am. In addition, there will be yoga and Zumba demonstrations at 10:30 am, live entertainment at 12 pm and 1 pm, Women’s Vitality Trail Mix to sample, Westglow Spa passes to win, door prizes and more!

Join us to get the scoop on women’s healthcare at the Women’s Extravaganza on Friday, September 7th at the Boone Mall.

Area Officers Trained in Crisis Intervention

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System and Watauga County Sheriff’s Department recently hosted a Crisis Intervention Training course at Watauga Medical Center.

A total of 22 participants including officers from Avery County Sheriff’s Office, Boone Police Department, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, and Appalachian State University Police Department completed Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) at Watauga Medical Center the week of April 30 thru May 4, 2012. Other participants were telecommunicators from ASU and a Chaplain with Avery County Sheriff’s Office.

Crisis Intervention Training Group

CIT is an intensive 40-hour training curriculum that educates officers about a variety of mental illnesses, addictive diseases and developmental disabilities. Officers learn how to better respond to an individual in a mental health crisis and help those individuals receive appropriate care. The objectives of the training were to increase law enforcement’s knowledge about mental illness; to learn about their community resources; to learn how to connect mental health clients to the appropriate services and to avoid incarceration and involuntary commitments when appropriate.

The CIT program is a community based collaborative between consumers, families, the Mental Health Local Management Entity,, law enforcement agencies, mental health providers, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) consumer advocacy organization, the community college, and the medical community.

Law enforcement officers are frequently first responders to people in crisis. Therefore, CIT training facilitates ongoing collaboration between law enforcement and the mental health community. CIT is designed to assist law enforcement officers who respond to incidents involving people experiencing a crisis. Police officers receive training on a variety of topics, including an Overview of Mental Health, Geriatrics, Substance Abuse/Co-Occurring Disorders, Special Concerns with Adolescents, Mental Health Commitment Process, Personality Disorders, Developmental Disabilities, Autism, Suicide, Trauma and its aftermath, Homelessness Crisis Intervention and De-escalation, site visits, and hands on exercises.

The training received in this course will help our community’s law enforcement officers protect themselves in encounters with consumers suffering from mental illness and the knowledge learned will result in safer encounters for our citizens with mental illness.

CIT Roster (April 30, 2012 – May 4, 2012)

Watauga County Sheriff’s Office

  • Sergeant Todd Lyons
  • Deputy William Gilliam
  • Deputy Gerald Townsend

Boone Police Department

  • Lieutenant Donnie Goodman
  • Senior Patrol Officer Dennis O’Neal
  • Patrol Officer James Long
  • Senior Patrol Officer Tylor Greene
  • Patrol Officer Jason Reid

ASU Police Department

  • Senior Patrol Officer Michael Baker
  • Patrol Officer Dennis Fletcher
  • Support Services Manager Sandra Evans
  • Telecommunications Supervisor Angela Stewart

Avery County Sheriff’s Office

  • K9 Deputy Casey Lee
  • Deputy Timothy Clawson
  • Deputy Jack McCloud
  • Deputy Daniel Jones
  • Deputy Ralph Coffey
  • Chaplain Ron Greene

Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office 

  • Deputy Timothy Rhoades
  • Deputy Thomas Cheek

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Police Department

  • Sergeant Mary Carrero
  • Patrol Officer Dustin Clark

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

Better Speech Month LogoSince 1927, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has celebrated Better Hearing and Speech Month each May to raise public awareness of speech and language disorders that affect 14 million Americans.  Speech, language, voice and cognitive disorders can take many forms and can limit academic achievement, social adjustment, and career advancement. An individual may be born with a speech,  language, swallowing or cognitive disorder, or it may be caused by accidental injury or illness.

“Fortunately, most people with speech and language problems can be helped,” said Jules Roberts, MA, CCC-SLP.  “Even if the problem cannot be eliminated, we can teach people with speech, voice, language, cognitive, swallowing problems strategies to help them cope. People may not fully regain their capacity to use speech and language, cogntive or swallowing skills, but a speech-language pathologist can help them live more independently.”

Speech Pathologists

Jules Roberts, MA, CCC-SLP and Helen Wolter, MA, CCC-SLP

“At ARHS, we have a new team of Speech-Language Pathologists who have raised the bar relative to quality and patient-centered care, said Jeanne Bradshaw, ARHS System Director of Rehabilitation Services. “ Through a partnership with Appalachian State University, we have access to top- notch clinicians.  Jules Roberts, MA, CCC-SLP and Helen Wolter, MA, CCC-SLP have brought a new focus to our Speech department and provide excellent care at all three hospitals, as well as provide outpatient services, continues Bradshaw.

“We are particularly excited about a new technology arriving soon to evaluate swallowing disorders, called the FEES (Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing), “ reports Helen Wolter, MA, CCC-SLP.  “This equipment will allow us to examine swallowing function using high definition endoscopy, and is the standard of care at most hospitals.”

Speech-language pathologists are the professionals who treat all types of speech,  voice, language, cognitive, and swallowing disorders. They hold at least a master’s degree and are certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. [In NC, they also are licensed by the state.] Speech-language pathologists work in schools, private practice, hospitals, clinics, and other health and educational settings.

To learn more about Speech Therapy through Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, click here to visit our website.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific and credentialing association for more than 145,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists and speech, language, and hearing scientists.

Moore Awarded Outstanding Dietitian of the Year

Paul and Amanda

Amanda Holliday, President of the North Carolina Dietetic Association and Paul Moore, Assistant Director of the Broyhill Wellness Center

Paul Moore, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*D was awarded the Outstanding Dietitian of the Year for the North Carolina Dietetic Association (NCDA) at their annual meeting held April 15 and 16 in Charlotte, NC. This award is the highest recognition NCDA bestows and is made annually on the basis of professional achievement and active participation in the association at the national, state, and district levels.

Each year, NCDA recognizes the contributions of some shining individuals at the Annual Meeting.  Award categories include: Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year, Recognized Dietetic Technician of the Year, Outstanding Dietetics Student Emerging Leader in Dietetics Practice, Outstanding Dietetics Educator and Outstanding Dietitian of the Year.

Paul is currently the Assistant Director for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s Wellness Center in Boone, NC and an adjunct instructor in the College of Health Sciences at Appalachian State University.  He has served as the Foothills District Dietetic Association President this year, in addition to being the Annual Meeting Committee Co-Chair for the NCDA.  Paul volunteers on the national level with the Weight Management Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as the Weight Management Matters newsletter editor and serves on its Executive Committee.

The NCDA is the state affiliate for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetic Association.  The NCDA has approximately 2000 members comprised of Registered Dietitians, Dietetic Technicians Registered, students and other professionals in the field of nutrition and dietetics.  The Academy has over 70,000 members and is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.  The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.  To find out more information about the North Carolina Dietetic Association or the Academy, visit

Click here to learn more about the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center.