One of VGCC’s Earliest Graduates Establishes Scholarships

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Almost half a century after he enrolled at the school that is now Vance-Granville Community College, Steve McRavin is giving back by establishing a pair of scholarships for today’s students.

Along with his wife, Patti, McRavin recently created annual scholarships through the VGCC Endowment Fund in memory of several of his family members.

Steve McRavin graduated VGCC with his vocational diploma in Automotive Mechanics on August 22, 1971 – the college’s first graduating class for curriculum programs. (Photo courtesy VGCC)

The Allen and Margaret Jones/Lucy Jones Allen Scholarship in Nursing is named for his grandparents and his eldest aunt, Lucy, who was a nurse. In awarding this scholarship, preference will be given to second-year Associate Degree Nursing students and students who are single parents.

Meanwhile, the Howard and Thelma “Kitty” McRavin Memorial Scholarship in Automotive honors the memory of his parents. VGCC will prioritize students in the Automotive Systems Technology, the current name for the program from which McRavin graduated, for this scholarship. In both cases, other eligibility requirements will apply.

Steve McRavin grew up on a small farm in Williamsboro, and took automotive classes at Vance County High School. Upon graduating from high school in 1970, young Steve wanted to continue learning and was excited to learn that the new Vance County Technical Institute would soon start offering automotive mechanics as one of its very first curriculum programs.

That summer, McRavin worked for a local construction company. “By coincidence, one of the jobs I worked on was helping to build the automotive and welding shop at Vance County Technical Institute,” he said. “I knew then for certain that the automotive program was going to be a reality! I got to meet Dr. Greene [the school’s first chief academic officer] when he would come out and look at the progress on the buildings, and I told him I would be enrolling that fall.”

Taking classes on that original campus – the former Maria Parham Hospital building – McRavin studied under the head of the new automotive program, the late Thomas Welch, whom he describes as “a great man.”

McRavin graduated with his vocational diploma in Automotive Mechanics on August 22, 1971, in the school’s first graduating class for curriculum programs. He then worked at the local Firestone until he was drafted in 1972 into the United States Army. He served in military intelligence for the next two decades, much of that time stationed in West Germany.

McRavin continued his education while in the service, obtaining an associate’s degree in automotive technology and a bachelor’s degree in workforce education/development because he knew he wanted to work in education in some way after his military career ended.

He retired at the rank of First Sergeant in 1992 and started working at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Washington.

Steve McCravin (right) and Patti McCravin (center) receive the President’s Lifetime Circle recognition as part of the South Pudget Sound Foundation. (Photo courtesy VGCC)

Even after all those years, McRavin credited the inspiration for his new career to Mr. Welch. Starting as a lab technician for the SPSCC automotive department, McRavin served in a variety of roles: teaching automotive classes, advising students, and overseeing recruiting. He retired from the college as a full-time administrator but continues to teach there part-time.

McRavin said the new VGCC scholarships are his way of giving back to a school and a community that had helped him. The local community still includes a number of his relatives, and he has returned to visit from time to time. Describing himself as a “country boy from Vance County,” McRavin also wants to inspire today’s youth to take advantage of educational opportunities, as he did. “It’s not where you start – it’s where you end up,” he said. “You never know where you’re going to go.”

He is also not the only member of his family to benefit from the college. “One of my daughters, Gillian McRavin Johnson, graduated in 1991 from the VGCC Associate Degree Nursing program,” McRavin said. “She raves about the program at Vance-Granville to this day.” Currently a registered nurse in the state of Washington, Johnson is working on becoming a Nurse Practitioner.

McRavin’s wife, Patti, has also worked in higher education and non-profit community groups during her career.

Currently residing in Spanaway, Washington, the McRavins said that they both have a passion for higher education, because education changed the course of their lives. They have also established scholarships at South Puget Sound Community College.

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vance-Granville Community College, it is extremely gratifying that one of our first alumni, and someone who literally helped build the foundation of our institution, has reached out from across the country to pay forward what he received,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, VGCC’s president. “We appreciate Steve and Patti’s service to education and their generous support of our students.”

Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 9,400 scholarships to students since 1982. Scholarships have been endowed by numerous individuals, industries, businesses, civic groups, churches and the college’s faculty and staff. Tax-deductible donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund have often been used to honor or remember a person, group, business or industry with a lasting gift to education. For more information, call (252) 738-3409.

Maria Parham Health to Hold Nurse Recruitment Event; Bonuses Offered

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-Information courtesy Maria Parham Health

Maria Parham Health will hold a Nurse Recruitment Event on Thursday, July 25, 2019, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at 566 Ruin Creek Road in Henderson.

MPH will hire new and experienced RNs and experienced LPNs. Event will include interviews, tours and offers on the spot.

Bonuses: $10,000 for qualified, experienced RNs, $1,000 for new grad RNs.

Refreshments and giveaways provided.

Registration is preferred, walk-ins welcome. Please email [email protected] or call (919) 482-3479

Maria Parham Health Brings New Cardiovascular Services to Area

100.1 FM / 1450 AM WIZS; Local News broadcasts M-F 8am, 12pm, 5pm

-Press Release, Maria Parham Health

Heart disease continuously remains a leading cause of death among Americans, and those living in rural areas have a higher risk of mortality from heart-related issues due to lack of access to cardiac care. On May 1, 2019, Maria Parham Health performed the first Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) in its Cardiac Catheterization Lab.

A PCI procedure is performed to open blocked arteries that supply blood to the heart tissue that is caused by coronary artery disease (CAD). The usual cause of CAD is a buildup of plaque which narrows those arteries and limits the supply of blood to the heart. Stents and/or balloons can be used to keep these arteries open.

Pictured above from left to right, Shirley Davis RN, Lisa Wheeler RN, Kathy Thomas RN, Todd Dresher, Dr Rajesh Swaminathan, Stephanie Carter RT (R), Shannon Hoyle RT ®. (MPH photo)

Maria Parham Health’s Cardiac Cath Lab has been in operation since 2015. Diagnostic Cardiac Catheterizations have been provided since that time to diagnose coronary artery disease. Procedures also include Peripheral Angiograms, Angioplasty and Stenting to treat peripheral artery disease and restore blood flow to the legs.

Now, residents in Henderson and surrounding areas can access expanded cardiology services closer to home. “Expanding our cardiology care to the communities we serve is extremely important,” stated Bert Beard, Chief Executive Officer of Maria Parham Health. “Due to aging populations, cardiology care is going to continue to be a vital health care need for many rural communities, including ours. We want our community members to have access to the care they need close to home.”

Maria Parham Health’s cardiac cath lab is staffed by Duke Interventional Cardiologists, as well as local nurses and technicians. This expansion of the cardiac program to include PCI is a connecting link between the existing Chest Pain Accredited Emergency Department and the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Maria Parham Health.

“We are proud to offer this progressive approach to the residents of Henderson and the surrounding areas here at Maria Parham Health” said Lisa Wheeler, Director of Cardiology Services. The Duke Interventional Cardiologist are just moments away to serve you at Maria Parham Cardiology for diagnosis, treatment and follow up.”

These Duke physicians not only perform procedures in the Maria Parham cardiac cath lab, but also provide care to patients at Maria Parham Cardiology for diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, treatment, and follow up.

For more information on the cardiology services offered at Maria Parham Health, visit If you are in need of a cardiologist, call 800.424.DOCS (3627).

Maria Parham Health Celebrates 20th Anniversary of LifePoint Health

-Information courtesy Maria Parham Health

This month, Maria Parham Health is celebrating the 20th anniversary of LifePoint Health, the health system of which it is a part, with a donation to United Way and Relay for Life. These donations are part of a national anniversary celebration in which LifePoint has contributed $2,000 to causes in each of the 89 communities it serves nationwide. United Way and Relay for Life were chosen by the hospital team in Henderson because it reflects LifePoint’s and Maria Parham Health’s mission of Making Communities Healthier®.

“We are delighted to celebrate LifePoint Health’s 20th anniversary in our community with a donation to United Way and Relay for Life,” said Bert Beard, chief executive officer (CEO) of Maria Parham Health. “LifePoint was founded on the idea that everyone deserves quality healthcare close to home and that strong hospitals create strong communities. We are proud to be part of the LifePoint family and excited to continue our legacy of high quality, community-based care in Vance and surrounding counties for years to come.”

LifePoint was founded in May 1999 as LifePoint Hospitals with 23 community hospitals in nine states.

The company changed its name to LifePoint Health in 2015 as a reflection of its evolution from a hospital operator to a healthcare leader providing a range of services across the communities it serves. Today, LifePoint has 89 hospital campuses, 45+ post-acute service providers and facilities and 50+ outpatient facilities across 30 states. It has nearly 60,000 dedicated employees from coast to coast, including more than 3,000 employed providers and more than 8,600 affiliated providers.

As part of its national anniversary celebration, LifePoint has committed $2,000 to support causes in each of its communities. Hospitals within these communities were encouraged to select charitable causes of their choice that reflect the needs of their respective regions. Maria Parham Health chose United Way and Relay for Life to support the local efforts United Way takes in supporting those services needed in the community and to support an organization dedicated to fighting cancer, one of the leading causes of death in the community.

“LifePoint is dedicated to creating places where people choose to come for healthcare, physicians want to practice and employees want to work,” said David Dill, president and CEO of LifePoint Health.  “We are thrilled to be celebrating a 20-year legacy of Making Communities Healthier with our employees, physicians, board members and volunteers across the nation. We are proud of how far we have come in the last two decades and are excited to continue to collaborate with the talented team at Maria Parham Health to advance our mission in the years ahead.”

For more information about Maria Parham Health, visit For more information about LifePoint Health, visit


Maria Parham Health Reaches Agreement with UnitedHealthcare

-Information courtesy Maria Parham Health

Maria Parham Health is pleased to announce that we have reached a new agreement with UnitedHealthcare. This is a win for our patients who deserve access to quality healthcare here at home, and we appreciate your patience as we worked through this process.

With this new agreement, our hospital* and employed physician* services will be back “in-network” with UnitedHealthcare. You will have “in-network” access to care beginning:

April 25 for hospital services; and

May 1 for employed physician services.

Both commercial and Medicare Advantage insurance plans are included in the agreement.

From the outset, we have been committed to ensuring your healthcare needs would continue to be met, and we are pleased to continue this commitment. Our new contract gives us the ability to continue reinvesting in patient care by recruiting new physicians and caregivers and enhancing the services we provide.

Thank you for the trust you place in Maria Parham Health and our team of caregivers. We look forward to meeting your healthcare needs for generations to come.

*Please note, the contract is between UnitedHealthcare’s insurance plans and Maria Parham Health, its employed physicians, and select Duke LifePoint Healthcare facilities. It does not affect Duke University Health System hospitals or clinics.

Bert Beard, Maria Parham CEO, Talks Growth & Expansion

Bert Beard, CEO of Maria Parham Health, was on Thursday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program to discuss his role at the hospital and to provide updates on recent expansions at both the Henderson and Louisburg locations.

Maria Parham CEO

“My job, most simply put, is to take care of the people who take care of our patients,” said Beard. In other words, Beard listens to and addresses the needs and concerns of Maria Parham employees, a dedicated group he refers to as the frontline of the organization.

To better understand these needs, Beard calls for a “morning huddle” involving the hospital leadership team each weekday morning at 9 a.m. “We kick off the meeting with three positive things going on in the hospital or with team members, then we talk about things happening in the hospital – safety issues, things we need to anticipate throughout the day and things that we need to disseminate to our caregivers.”

With a five-county coverage area from the Virginia border to south of Louisburg, Beard said operating a hospital, in many ways, is akin to running a town with its own unique advantages and challenges.

“A hospital is like a small city in terms of people coming and going every day,” Beard explained. “It’s a high-stress environment. People are coming here with health issues; they’re scared and their family members are scared. It is our job to not only take care of the patient with the diagnosis but also take care of families and help put them at ease.”

MPH Growth and Expansion

One of the main areas of focus for Beard, and many of the Maria Parham staff, over the past year has been getting the Maria Parham Franklin facility in Louisburg up and running.

Since its grand opening in October 2018, the Franklin facility has seen more emergency room patients than originally projected and expanded outpatient services with the addition of a multispecialty clinic and medical office building located next to the hospital.

Beard also reported that ground was recently broken on the construction of a 20-bed psychiatric unit to open in early 2020.

At the main Maria Parham facility in Henderson, hospital leaders are currently submitting a proposal to build a new catheterization laboratory to further expand the cardiovascular services offered through the hospital’s partnership with Duke LifePoint Healthcare.

A regional human resource center has also been added across the street that will serve all of LifePoint and add jobs to the community, according to Beard.

Maria Parham’s cancer treatment program is yet another bragging point for the hospital. “Our cancer program here has been a feather in our cap for nearly 20 years,” said Beard. “We have Duke providers, and we use Duke protocols and Duke research. Anything you can get done in Durham or Raleigh, you can get done here – radiation oncology and medical oncology.”

When looking at how much Maria Parham has to offer, including the convenience of quality care close to home, Beard said the community is fortunate to have access to “excellent services, especially general surgery and cardiology – the core to a community hospital.”

From his unique perspective as CEO, Beard is able to see the way all of the parts and pieces come together to make up the bigger picture. “I love what I do. There isn’t a single job in this hospital that isn’t critically important.”

To hear the Town Talk interview with Bert Beard in its entirety, click here.

Maria Parham Health Limits Visitations Due to Seasonal Flu Outbreak

-Information courtesy Maria Parham Health

Due to high levels of viruses in the community, Maria Parham Health is implementing seasonal influenza precautions. Visitation restrictions will be in place during peak flu season, which generally lasts through the first of April. Our primary goal at Maria Parham Health is to provide the best quality of care in an environment that is safe for our patients. To protect them, at times we must manage their exposure to illnesses that are easily spread, like the flu.

We carefully monitor flu activity levels in our hospitals and the community.  When certain thresholds are met, we must take action to halt the spread and limit the number of visitors allowed in our patient areas. Due to the high numbers of respiratory illness and influenza, Maria Parham Health has implemented visitor restrictions.

If you are visiting our hospital during flu season, please be prepared for limited visitation restrictions and safety hygiene requests to be made:

Visitors are limited to two immediate family members or designated adult caregivers, who have no fever, cough, or other flu-like symptoms.

Children under the age of 18 are not permitted to visit unless for a medical appointment or an ED visit.

All persons with flu symptoms (cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat, vomiting, extreme tiredness, muscle aches and or diarrhea), please do not visit patients.

Visitors are asked to wash hands frequently. Foam hand cleanser is available throughout the building

If you are here for services and have flu symptoms, please ask for a mask upon arrival.

You may see some of our staff wearing masks as a safety precaution for our patients.

To help prevent the spread of flu germs outside of the hospital, please wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol hand gel and encourage others to do so as well.

Maria Parham Health’s Cafeteria Under Construction, Closed to Foot Traffic

-Information courtesy Maria Parham Health

Starting Monday, February 4, 2019, the cafeteria of Maria Parham Health in Henderson will be under construction.

During this period, the cafeteria will be closed to all normal foot traffic.

Breakfast and lunch meal service for employees and visitors will be available daily in the Outpatient Surgery waiting area. A variety of hot and cold Grab & Go items, along with hot coffee, tea and bottled beverages will be available.

A menu will be sent out daily to all users and posted on the intranet page. All forms of payment will be accepted.

Hours of Service:

Breakfast – 7:30 – 9 a.m.

Lunch – 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Henderson Fire Department’s Boot Drive Raises $13K+ for Maria Parham Oncology

On Monday afternoon, Chief Steve Cordell and other representatives with the Henderson Fire Department presented the administration and staff of Maria Parham Health with a check for $13,300 to be used for care and resources for cancer patients.

Over a period of three days in October, the fire department held their second annual Breast Cancer Boot Drive to raise money for Maria Parham Oncology Center’s “Angel Fund.”

The “Angel Fund,” according to Hope Breedlove with Maria Parham Oncology, was created to help patients overcome the financial hardships that serve as barriers to cancer treatment and care.

According to Captain Lee Edmonds, the fire department was proud to top last year’s donation amount. “This is our second year doing the boot drive; last year we raised $11,353,” said Edmonds. “We had our pink boots and helmets out on Dabney Drive in front of Henderson Fire Department Station 1 raising money.”

Chief Steve Cordell and other representatives with the Henderson Fire Department present the administration and staff of Maria Parham Health with a check for $13,300 to be used for care and resources for cancer patients. (WIZS Photo)

While the pink boot drive just wrapped up its second year, Edmonds said the idea to raise funds for breast cancer started five years ago with part-time fire department member Ian Arthur.

“Ian came to Chief one day and asked if the department could get pink shirts made for breast cancer awareness, and Chief said yes. He [Ian] had a design made up, and the guys sold the shirts. That’s when we said we had to have something to give the proceeds to and we found the ‘Angel Fund’ at Maria Parham.”

With t-shirt sales only raising $2,500 – $3,000 each year, Edmonds said Chief Cordell had the idea to try a boot drive instead. “We raised so much more money on the boot drive that we felt we should continue,” said Edmonds.

Edmonds said the firefighters are proud to be a part of a fundraiser that allows Vance County citizens to give back to their fellow community members. “We felt that with this money going to Maria Parham Oncology, it would help our own people in the community. In today’s time, everyone is touched by cancer in some way, whether it is family or friends.”

In addition to being a morale booster for the firefighters, Edmonds said the annual boot drive is also a lot of fun. “With 30 members, each shift wants to outdo the other on their daily amount raised. So it’s always fun at the end of the day when all the guys are standing there waiting for the final number to see who guessed the closest.”

The donated funds also mean a lot to Maria Parham. “It’s hard to put into words what this means to us,” said Breedlove. “In our community, we don’t have a lot of resources for patients. It means a lot to have the support of our fire department and we thank them for coming through and making this possible.”

Breedlove also expressed gratitude for all the community support of this drive. “We are very thankful for everyone who came down Dabney Drive those three days and put money in those pink boots. It’s going to stay right here in Vance County and help our patients here at Maria Parham.”

Maria Parham Health Encourages Community to Get Vaccinated

-Press Release, Maria Parham Health

To minimize the spread of influenza this fall and winter, Maria Parham Health is encouraging all employees, medical personnel and community members to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccination for everyone six months and older, with any age-appropriate flu vaccine. If you are considering a nasal spray flu vaccine, it is important to know that this option is approved by the CDC for use in non-pregnant individuals, ages two through 49, and that there is a precaution against this option for those with certain underlying medical conditions.

“Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from the flu this season and, in turn, protect your family and our community from illness,” said Jeana Testerman, director of infection control at Maria Parham Health. “Vaccinations significantly decrease the likelihood of catching the flu and help minimize symptoms if you do get sick. I highly recommend that every person gets vaccinated this season to help stay healthy this fall and winter and fight the spread of influenza throughout our community.”

The best ways to protect against the flu are to:

  • Get vaccinated and encourage your friends and family to do the same, especially those at greater risk for serious flu-related complications (children younger than five, adults 65 and older, pregnant women and those with certain chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart and lung diseases and more).
  • Practice good health habits. Avoid close contact with others; stay home when you are sick; practice good hand hygiene; cover your nose and mouth with a tissue; and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • If prescribed by a physician, take flu antiviral drugs.

In order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of patients and to help prevent the spread of infection, Maria Parham Health also asks the community to be mindful when visiting friends and loved ones in the hospital. Specifically:

  • If you have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough or runny nose, please do not visit.
  • Remember to wash your hands before entering and exiting a patient’s room and after leaving the hospital.
  • If you are in the hospital for tests or procedures and have a flu-like illness (fever over 100 degrees with cough or sore throat), please ask for a mask.

Maria Parham Health is committed to its mission of Making Communities Healthier by protecting patients, employees and volunteers, and limiting the spread of influenza in our community. For more information about the flu and effective prevention methods, visit