New Maria Parham Women’s Care OBGYN: Know Facts About COVID-19 Vaccine, Pregnancy

Dr. Michaela Beynon, an OB-GYN, has joined Maria Parham Women’s Care and brings to the practice experience in high-risk pregnancy management, among other women’s care concerns and issues.

Maria Parham Health CEO Bert Beard said Beynon’s commitment to women’s health issues and wellness is an asset to the MPH organization. “Dr. Beynon further strengthens our network of physicians, as she is devoted to providing high-quality care and helping people make important health care decisions,” Beard said in a written statement to WIZS News.

Beynon received her medical education at Ross University School of Medicine in the West Indies and completed her residency at Aultman Hospital OBGYN in Canton, OH. She also has a masters of neuroscience from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.

Beynon has not wasted any time getting important information about the COVID-19 vaccination out to pregnant women and those who want to become pregnant.

She addresses some frequently asked questions about pregnancy and the COVID-19 vaccine – its safety and effectiveness for women who are pregnant, who have recently given birth, or who plan to start or add to their family in the future.

Beynon wrote an article titled “Creating Healthier Families One Shot At A Time” which she recently shared with WIZS News.

“I love helping moms-to-be stay healthy and prepare to welcome their baby into the world,” Beynon writes. “As you can imagine, one of the most important conversations I’ve been having lately with my patients is around COVID-19 vaccines and their safety for those who are pregnant or who are in the planning stage of their pregnancy journey.”

Beynon spells out through a question-and-answer format information for women and families to consider, from possible fertility issues the vaccine may cause to the safety of breastfeeding and the vaccine.

Contact 252.492.8576 or visit the Find a Doctor tab at to make an appointment. For help finding a medical provider near you, call 800.424.DOCS.

Following are commonly asked questions to which Beynon has responded:

Q: Why is it important for pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

A: Pregnant individuals are at a higher risk for severe illness, complications and death than non-pregnant individuals if infected with COVID-19. Also, in some cases, pregnancy can come with medical conditions that put women at even further risk. The best way to protect yourself against potential harm from a COVID-19 infection is to be vaccinated. This is especially true with the continued rise of cases from the more contagious Delta variant and new variants as they emerge.

Q: Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause fertility problems for women or men?

A: The simple answer is no. There is no evidence that getting the COVID-19 vaccine affects fertility in individuals trying to become pregnant, including those using in vitro fertilization methods. The safety profiles and the way the vaccines work to prevent infection and illness from COVID-19 do not cause infertility in men or women.

Q: If I’m trying to become pregnant, do I need to avoid pregnancy for a specific period of time after being vaccinated?

A: No. Whether you are trying to have a baby now or in the future, it is safe for both parents to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. There is no need for a waiting period. Additionally, if you become pregnant after your first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you should still receive your second dose as indicated and recommended (three weeks after your first dose of Pfizer and four weeks after your first dose of Moderna).

Q: Do I need to take a pregnancy test before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: No. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend routine pregnancy testing before getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Q: What if I am currently pregnant or breastfeeding? Is it safe for me to get the vaccine?

A: Yes. Whether you are currently pregnant or breastfeeding your new baby, it is safe for you to get vaccinated against COVID-19. None of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized or approved vaccines contain the live COVID-19 virus, so the vaccines do not present a risk of COVID-19 infection for you or your baby.






MPH Visitation Changes Effective Aug 17

According to information courtesy of, the hospital’s visitation policy changes effective August 17, 2021.

The MPH web post indicates visitors allowed in an inpatient setting will reduce from two down to one. Emergency room visitors are not permitted to wait in the lobby or waiting area with patients. And, there are other limitations for outpatient visitors who accompany patients.


  • This is one visitor per day. Visitors may change to a new visitor each day.
  • Visitors must remain in the patient room.
  • Visitors must observe infection prevention protocols including masking, social distancing and hand hygiene.

Emergency Room

  • Emergency room patients are allowed one visitor.
  • Emergency room visitors will be instructed to wait in the car for patients to be pulled to a room.


  • Outpatient visitors who accompany patients are limited to one person, except where otherwise designated for immunocompromised populations (Cancer Center, etc.).


  • One visitor per day will be allowed for patient births.
  • Pediatric inpatients are permitted one overnight visitor.
  • Visiting hours will remain in place as is.
  • End of Life Visitation is permitted for COVID patients.
Maria Parham Health

Rehab Can be a Key to Better Health

Just a half hour of exercise five days a week – that’s 150 minutes total – can be just what we need to reduce the risk of an adverse health “event” and Chris Cole said we owe it to ourselves to get those heart rates up to become the best version of ourselves possible.

“We all need to be physically active. We can all do that. It’s going to lower your risk of dying early by 30 percent or more,” Cole told John C. Rose on Tuesday’s Town Talk. He said in addition to aerobic exercise, we should also adopt a resistance training program two days a week to build strength. The two activities combine to create a one-two punch against health problems.

Cole, a clinical exercise physiologist at Maria Parham Health’s rehabilitation clinic in Henderson, works with patients who already have had one of these “events” – whether heart attack, respiratory ailment or other chronic condition  – get back on the road to recovery. He talked about ways to prevent health problems, reduce risk and improve quality of life.

He and the rehab team, which also includes physicians, nurses, therapists, a clinical psychologist and a nutritionist work with patients to put together a plan tailored to the individual.

Through exercise or activity counseling, he said he tries “to get an individual to adopt physical activity in a way that’s going to reduce their risk” for future health problems. “I try to get people to their best physical shape, no matter how they show up to me.”

A big chunk of his work is during Phase 2 of a 3-phase rehabilitation plan, mostly for cardiovascular patients. Phase 1 occurs while the patient is still in hospital, usually 24-48 hours after a cardiovascular surgery. Phase 2 is an out-patient program lasting 12 weeks, during which patients come in three times a week, he said. Phase 3 patients are in maintenance and are continuing the program independently, “taking lifestyle changes into their own hands.”

Others who come to the clinic have peripheral artery disease, or PAD. Unlike coronary artery disease, which is artery disease around the heart, peripheral artery disease presents as pain in the areas like the calf or buttocks and makes walking painful.

It’s a lack of oxygen to the muscle that creates the problem, and the rehab clinic’s job is to help patients increase the distance they can walk without pain.

“If we can take 100 feet and turn it into 100 yards” that people can walk pain-free, it’s a good thing. In fact, he said patients, on average, have had a 452 percent increase in their walking distance, which Cole said is substantial.

The clinic has seen a few patients with long COVID, for whom recovery has been slow and who face overall fatigue. Interestingly, those clients are below the age of 65, the opposite of the clinic’s normal clientele. Cole said those “long-haulers” have had a 100 percent return to work rate after working with the rehab clinic team.

In an effort to try to get people to be more proactive about warding off health problems, the rehab clinic began a preventative program. “We were always reacting to a problem,” Cole said, so doctors can refer a patient with certain risk factors to participate. Although insurance will not pay, the cost is $4 a day, less than some gym memberships, he noted.

The patient has access to exercise experts, the team of medical professionals and are covered by a supervising physician. This team can evaluate and make suggestions for patients to reduce their risk for major health problems. “It’s a very effective program,” Cole said.

Barriers to services, including transportation, cost and lack of insurance coverage, can also be overcome, thanks to an endowment fund that is available to help cover costs.

“If you have risk factors, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor,” Cole said. “We’ve got things that we can do to get you here.”

To learn more, call 252.436.6395.

(This is not a paid ad.  This is not medical advice.)

For complete details and audio click play.


TownTalk: White Coat Ceremony Officially Welcomes Two Residents To MPH-Duke Partnership

According to Maria Parham Health CEO Bert Beard, it took almost four years to come to fruition, but two new physicians donned their white coats during a ceremony Wednesday to celebrate the beginning of a residency program that focuses on providing care in rural areas.

“This is a tremendous day for Maria Parham,” Beard told the gathering of local government officials and community leaders during the white coat ceremony Wednesday afternoon, hosted by MPH.

“What would it be for Duke and Maria Parham to partner on a rural track family medicine program that could facilitate health care in rural areas of North Carolina for the future,” he recalled during opening remarks.

“This is a small start, but it’s a big step,” Beard said, adding that providing appropriate medical care in rural areas is not just a concern locally, but an issue that is getting more and more attention nationally.

The first year, residents will spend a good deal of their time learning and working at Duke University Hospital and Duke Regional in Durham. In years two and three, their time will shift to Maria Parham and the Oxford office of Duke Primary Care, according to information released earlier about the program.

Dr. Tom Koinis, a physician in the Oxford office, serves as program director. Dr. Alexa Namba, once a resident Koinis worked with in 2015 on a weekly basis at the Oxford office, also will play a role in the new partnership.

As the residents who donned their white coats on Wednesday – Dr. Rashmi Saincher and Dr. Jessica Sanders – begin their work in the program, Koinis gave them a heads-up: “as you move into the physician’s world, you’ll be a major part of that community in many different ways.”

Pastor Frank Sossamon offered a blessing of hands during the ceremony. “We don’t realize sometimes how important our hands are,” Sossamon said. Hands speak, they affirm, they comfort. And they heal, he said. His blessing called for the physicians’ hands to do all those things for the patients they see in this community.

Saincher comes from a small town outside Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She studied medicine at St. George’s University in London and then completed clinicals in Philadelphia. Koinis said she is happy to leave all the cement of big cities for a return to small-town life.

Sanders is a native of Houston, Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas-Austin and worked for several years in New York City before realizing through volunteer work that her passion lay in helping people. She returned to her hometown and was admitted to the McGovern Medical School, part of UT-Houston.

Koinis said the local team submitted a 200-page application to be considered for the program, and the application was approved on Jan. 29, 2021. The national “resident match day” occurred on Jan. 30, so “we got in just in the nick of time,” Koinis said. Of the 20 “excellent applicants” that were interviewed, Saincher and Sanders were selected.

“I’m deeply honored and humbled to be able to lead this residency as it starts off,” he added, noting that it took a team effort to get the program off the ground. “And support from ‘big’ Duke has been really, positive, really strong.”

The residency program should be proof positive to this community and region, Beard noted earlier in the ceremony, that “our partnership with Duke is very strong and we’re going to advance it.”

TownTalk Broadcast including the Entire Ceremony


Maria Parham Practice Opens Second OB-GYN Office In Henderson

Maria Parham Physician Practices opened a second office in Henderson for women’s care on Thursday, June 3. The new clinic, Maria Parham Women’s Care, is located at 568 Ruin Creek Road, Suite 001. The other office is located in Oxford, and CEO Bert Beard said the new clinic expands the medical group’s footprint for OB-GYN services in the area.

“Maria Parham Health is committed to expanding access to healthcare for women in all stages of life,” Beard, stated in a press release. “Last year, our hospital received national recognition for Newsweek’s Best Maternity Hospitals, and this year, we are excited to expand our footprint for OB-GYN services with our newest practice location in Henderson offering local access to great women’s care.”

Maria Parham Women’s Care provides a comprehensive range of services and procedures including routine checkups, general gynecological care, urinary incontinence treatment, minimally invasive gynecological surgery, prenatal and postnatal care for mother and baby, as well as menopausal management. The providers deliver babies exclusively at Maria Parham Health in Henderson.

Providers are: Kayla Cagle-Colon, MD; Emma White, DO; Janice Martinez, CNM; Karen MacLean, CNM; and Alyson Ringle, CNM.

To schedule an appointment, call 252.492.8576 or visit

(Maria Parham is an advertising client of WIZS Radio and This is not a paid ad.)

Maria Parham Health

Maria Parham Health Urges Patients to Schedule Cancer Screening

– MPH press release –

Maria Parham Health has joined a nationwide effort to encourage patients to resume appropriate cancer screening to prevent excess deaths.

Maria Parham Health is urging people across the country to talk with their health care provider to resume regular primary care checkup and recommended cancer screening. This has the potential to lessen the negative impact that the pandemic is having on identifying and treating people with cancer.

Throughout the pandemic, many healthcare resources were redirected to combat rising COVID-19 cases and to prevent the spread of the virus. Elective medical procedures, including cancer screening, were largely put on hold at the onset of the pandemic. The impact was immediate as screening related procedures dropped drastically in March and May 2020 according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Estimates also project 35% of Americans missed routine cancer screening due to COVID-19 related fears and service disruptions. ACS foresees that the pandemic-related reductions in health care access and cancer screening will result in a short-term drop in cancer diagnoses and a later corresponding increase in late-state diagnoses and preventable deaths.

“Simply put, regular cancer screening tests can improve and save your life,” said Kimberly Smith, Director of The Cancer Center at Maria Parham Health. “Screening increases the chance of detecting some cancers early, when they may be easier to treat. We’re encouraging everyone in our community to talk to their doctor or a health care professional about getting on track with their recommended cancer screening.”

Screening refers to testing individuals who have no signs or symptoms of disease. It is critical to ensure that patients with signs or symptoms associated with cancer undergo diagnostic evaluation as soon as possible. Breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death among women and colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of death among men and women in the U.S., yet nearly one in three people for whom screening is recommended were not up-to-date with screening prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information about cancer screening, visit or contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.

(Maria Parham Health is an advertising client of WIZS Radio and  This is not a paid ad.)

TownTalk 5-3-21 Dr. Michael Sylvia, Chief Of Pediatrics, Maria Parham Health

Children can safely return to school said Dr. Michael Sylvia, Chief of Pediatrics at Maria Parham Hospital, earlier today on TownTalk.

TownTalk broadcast audio and written story below.

In the past year or so, experts and laypeople have spoken at length about all the complications brought on by COVID-19 and the effects it has had, both in the community and across the globe. But one local pediatrician said Monday he would offer a simple response to the question about children’s safe return to school: Yes.

“The short answer is yes, it is safe to send your child- and kids – back to school,” said Dr. Michael Sylvia, chief of Pediatrics and vice chair of the department of Medicine at Maria Parham Medical Center.

“We know that school is incredibly important, not just for the learning’s sake, but there’s a lot of social skills that kids develop in school, especially in the 6- to 12-year age group, that pre-adolescent range,” Sylvia told John C. Rose on Monday’s segment of Town Talk.

He said children invariably will come home with the everyday, run-of-the-mill germs that cause colds, stomach bugs and other common ailments when they do return to in-person school full-time. But it is important for parents and other adult family members to be able to discern those routine symptoms and not jump to the conclusion that the child has COVID-19.

“Kids share germs – it’s inevitable,” he said. Symptoms such as a high fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, chills and body aches, and loss of taste or smell could indicate something more than just a standard cold, he said. If a child complains of those symptoms, or has been exposed to COVID-19, a call to the doctor is in order for possible testing.

As children return to group activities like sports, it’s going to be important to be vigilant about hand washing and not grabbing the wrong water bottle.

But not letting young people play sports could have a more negative impact than letting them get back on the fields for practice and games. “Sports is huge for team building and emotional development,” Sylvia said. “I’m all about kids getting out and exercising.”

Parents who notice changes in their children’s behavior – physical or emotional – should talk with their pediatrician. “The one thing that parents can do is just be open,” Sylvia said. “Share your concerns with your child.”

Sylvia commented on the ongoing research around COVID-19 and how it affects different age groups. Teenagers are still far less likely to catch COVID-19 or have symptoms bad enough to put them in hospital, he said. Younger children are even less likely to experience symptoms, he added. But children are still being included in clinical trials, and the research can help health experts target the age ranges that should be vaccinated.

“We’re optimistic that we’ll have some pretty good information about vaccines in kids by summer,” Sylvia said.

The decision to vaccinate young children has yet to be made, but Sylvia said it probably would be a good idea, even if there is a low incidence of infection. Why? “It’s (for) the child or the adult in the community who can’t get the vaccine for health reasons,” he said.

“I’m optimistic that we will be through this in the near future,” Sylvia said. “Parents just have to stick it out just a little longer.”

Maria Parham Health

Maria Parham Health Visitation Policy Adjustments Made April 6

Maria Parham Health’s visitation policy was adjusted effective Tuesday, April 6th.

Donna Young, coordinator of marketing and communications, told WIZS, “Maria Parham Health is pleased to announce that we are adjusting our visitation policy.”

The list of changes provided includes:

  • Patients are now allowed two visitors per patient per day on the inpatient floor, with no swapping out
  • Patients are allowed to have two new visitors the following day, under the same guidelines
  • ED patients will be allowed one visitor, who must remain at the patient’s bedside at all times
  • Patients will be allowed one visitor to stay overnight
  • Visitors must comply with mask mandate and pass the screening process (no temp, symptoms, recent exposure, etc)
  • All visitors must be 18 years or older, and should not roam the hospital

Young said, “We are continuing our current policy of no visitors for Behavioral Health Units, and no visitors for any COVID-19 positive patients.”

Visiting hours remain unchanged.  You may visit 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Maria Parham Health

Betsy Hunt Named Chief Nursing Officer of Maria Parham Health

— press release from Maria Parham Health

Maria Parham Health announced today that Betsy Hunt has been named Chief Nursing Officer of MPH, effective immediately. Betsy Hunt has been acting as interim CNO since October of 2020.

“We are so excited to have Betsy step into this important leadership role,” said Bert Beard, chief executive officer (CEO) of Maria Parham Health. “She is an exemplary leader with a tremendous amount of clinical experience and expertise. Her commitment to patient care, physicians, employees, and the community is evident in all that she does, and I know that she will help us further advance our mission of Making Communities Healthier.”

“Betsy is a great fit for this leadership role,” Beard added. “We have been so impressed with her experience and knowledge, as well as her genuine care for people. We are looking forward to working with her to lead the hospital forward.”

Betsy Hunt has been with LifePoint since 2013, working at Person Memorial Hospital and then joining Maria Parham Health in 2015. At MPH, her roles, responsibilities, and impact have progressed on the nursing and clinical quality front to position our health system among the safest in the company and throughout the nation as it pertains to process, protocols, and preventable harms.

“Maria Parham Health is such an important part of this community,” said Hunt, and I am really excited to take on this new role with this incredible team of individuals. I look forward to building on the solid foundation that already exists and helping the leadership team look for even more ways to improve the overall health and well-being of this community.”

Betsy Hunt holds a Master’s degree in Nursing with a concentration and leadership and management from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She also has an Associate in Science in Nursing from Nash Community College in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and an Associate in Arts degree from Louisburg College in Louisburg, North Carolina. She is a certified professional in patient safety (CPPS).

(Maria Parham Health is a paying advertising client of WIZS.  This is not a paid ad.)