Brian Byrd, associate professor of environmental health at Western Carolina University and an adviser to state health officials on the Zika virus, will join other WCU faculty members and students in a public program focusing on best practices for reducing the risk of mosquito-borne illness.

The “Tuesdays to Thrive” presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, in Room 204 of WCU’s Health and Human Sciences Building.

Byrd supervises WCU’s Mosquito and Vector-Borne Infectious Disease Facility. Participants will tour the facility and engage in hands-on activities and demonstrations on ways to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika.

Other activities are designed to evaluate the health of local surface waters. “Participants will engage in guided activities that examine chemical and biological indicators of water quality to demonstrate the value of water resource protection and management in Western North Carolina,” said Melanie Batchelor, health management programs coordinator for Harris Regional and Swain Community hospitals.

Tuesdays to Thrive is a series of events held on a Tuesday each month as part of The Ascent Partnership, an initiative involving WCU and the two hospitals. For more information about the activity on Sept. 20, contact Byrd at 828-227-2607 or by email at To learn more about the series or to RSVP if attending, reach Batchelor at 828-631-8825 or