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SEARCH Gains Two New Board Members With Valuable Insights on Rural Healthcare

At their March meeting the Board of Directors of SEARCH welcomed two new members, both with valuable perspectives on rural healthcare. They are Josh Newton, a P.A. at Mountain Community Health Partnership (MCHP), and Bryant Reid, the director of Mitchell Medics. The board also elected current members Misty Evans and Alex Green to a second term and confirmed Susan Larson as Board Chair, Britt Kaufmann as Secretary, and Misty Evans as Treasurer. Three members have retired from the founding board but remain members of SEARCH Teams; they are Risa Larsen, Karin Rolett, and George Walters.

Josh Newton has lived all over the world, but “rural” has been a unifying theme of his training and work. He grew up in Ashe County and went on to study mechanical engineering and biology, leading to positions at NASA in bioinformatics and later as a biomedical engineer and engineering manager. However, he ultimately sought a career that allowed him to help people directly. His experience as a childhood cancer survivor led him to the medical field and to earn a master’s degree in PA studies at Wake Forest University. He was attracted to the kind of rural medicine practiced at MCHP, where he served as Medical Director for three years (two of them during COVID), but he has recently returned to being a full-time medical provider. At the same time he works with his brother on IT projects, including a healthcare app focused on rural areas. Josh lives with his wife and daughter in the Estatoe area of Mitchell County

Josh has immediately taken a leadership role on SEARCH as co-captain with Alex Green of the “Access to Care” Team, which will partner with the WNC Health Network to do a study of healthcare usage and services in Mitchell and Yancey counties.

Bryant Reid is also from the mountains, primarily Wilkes County, where he began his EMS career as a paramedic. With his wife and daughter he moved near Spruce Pine in June of 2021 to become head of Mitchell Medics. Rural EMS and healthcare has been a passion through his education and career and was the primary focus of the Master of Health Sciences degree which he completed at Western Carolina University. Bryant has collaborated on various research projects and piloted rural EMS projects. His major goals for Mitchell Medics are for it to become a model rural EMS service for North Carolina and to provide the best evidence-based medicine for its citizens. You may remember Bryant from SEARCH's November 2021 Ambulance Services Forum. See the video and full transcript of that forum here.

As a member of the SEARCH board, he is captaining the Outreach Team, with help from board member Ed Seel. Under Outreach are two strong ongoing initiatives – the Community Engagement Project and the COVID Committee (called Bring Summer Back) – with a third initiative in the planning stages.



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