Third annual Rural Health Symposium to be held in Asheville on March 10

Mass casualty 3Western Carolina University’s School of Nursing, the WNC Health Network and the Mountain Area Health Education Center are partnering to present the third annual Rural Health Symposium in Asheville on Friday, March 10.

The focus of this year’s symposium will be population health, and session topics will include regional improvement strategies, cultural considerations in health care, behavioral health, substance abuse, chronic disease management, and childhood experiences and social determinants impacting health.

“We are excited to announce that our plenary speakers will be Heather Gates, executive director of the WNC Health Network who earned her graduate degree in public health; Susan Lane, a registered nurse who holds a Ph.D. in nursing and now directs graduate programs for the Appalachian State University Department of Nursing; and Dr. Soma Stout, executive lead for 100 Million Healthier Lives, an organization bringing together hundreds of partners worldwide to support 100 million people living healthier lives by 2020,” said Karen Cochran, director of the RN to BSN Rural Education and Support scholarship program in WCU’s School of Nursing.

“The first two symposiums were very successful, with full attendance,” Cochran said. “This year’s symposium is expected to sell out as last year’s did. We are pleased that the MAHEC facility will allow for an increased capacity.”

The conference is made possible in part by a three-year workforce diversity grant provided to WCU and Mission Health of Asheville by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.

Lunch is included as part of the full-day symposium. For more information and to register, visit