Mission Health Announces Mountain Area Health Education Center as Successor to lead Safe Kids WNC Program

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (April 22, 2020) – Mission Health and Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) today announced that effective April 27, Safe Kids WNC is transitioning to become a program of MAHEC. The entirety of the Safe Kids WNC program will remain fully operational throughout and after the transition of the program to MAHEC, and current staff will become MAHEC employees.

When HCA Healthcare acquired Mission Health last year, the organization made numerous commitments to the greater Asheville and Western North Carolina community, one of which was to continue Safe Kids WNC for one year. After thoughtful exploration with potential partners, Mission Health determined that MAHEC is the best fit to continue these vital injury prevention services.

“Safe Kids WNC has long provided critical resources to our pediatric population and their families, and it has played an effective role in aiding public safety and preventing childhood injuries since its inception,” said Greg Lowe, North Carolina Division President of HCA Healthcare. “Understanding the importance of this program to families in Western North Carolina, we sought a partner that shared our deep community ties. We are grateful to MAHEC for their partnership to transition the program’s management, staff and the entirety of its programming.”

Safe Kids WNC is funded largely by grants from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. The transition to MAHEC, a not-for-profit organization, will allow for continued public grant funding of the program along with continued collaboration with Mission Health.

Under MAHEC, the Safe Kids WNC program will continue to focus on the prevention of childhood injury and partner with Mission Trauma Program to address the top priorities provided through the American College of Surgeons trauma registry of pediatric injury, including: proper installation of child safety seats, child safety education, ATV safety, poison, choking, fire, burn and falls prevention, bicycle safety and water safety. The program has also served as a special-needs transportation consultant for the state of North Carolina since 1994.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to lead Safe Kids WNC and look forward to continuing to provide excellent child safety education to our community,” said Dr. Jeff Heck, CEO of MAHEC. “It is critical to continue providing resources and training to children, parents and guardians to prevent injuries. Safe Kids WNC perfectly aligns with our commitment to improving health in Western North Carolina and we are happy to partner with Mission Health in providing compassionate education and care to our region’s children and their families.”

Upon the transition to MAHEC, Safe Kids WNC will continue to partner with Mission Health to provide trauma prevention education, car seat consultation and education services across the region.


Mission Health, an operating division of HCA Healthcare, is based in Asheville, North Carolina, and is the state’s sixth largest health system. In 2018, for the sixth time in the past seven years, Mission Health has been named one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems by IBM Watson Health (formerly Truven Health Analytics). Mission Health is the only health system in North Carolina to achieve this recognition. Mission Health operates six hospitals, numerous outpatient and surgery centers, post-acute care provider CarePartners, long-term acute care provider Asheville Specialty Hospital and the region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center. With approximately 12,000 colleagues and 2,000 volunteers, Mission Health is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the people of western North Carolina. For more information, please visit missionhealth.org or @MissionHealthNC.
Mountain Area Health Education Center was established in 1974 and is a leader in healthcare, education, and innovation. Located in Asheville, MAHEC serves a 16-county region in Western North Carolina and is the largest of nine Area Health Education Center in North Carolina. MAHEC’s mission is to recruit, train and retain the workforce needed to create a healthy North Carolina with a focus on primary care in rural communities and those with less access to resources. MAHEC’s Biltmore campus is also home to UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC, an academic health center in partnership with UNC-Chapel Hill that includes programs from the UNC School of Medicine, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. For more information, visit www.mahec.net.
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