BOONE, N.C. — Collaboration and clinical service for rural Western North Carolina are hallmarks of the newly opened Beaver College of Health Sciences (BCHS) Interprofessional Clinic at Appalachian State University. Appalachian Alumnus Bryan Belcher ’97 is the recently appointed clinic director.
The Interprofessional Clinic enables students to learn important skills while providing needed services to the community, Belcher said. The clinic is part of Appalachian’s Blue Cross NC Institute for Health and Human Services (IHHS), which provides multidisciplinary research opportunities, clinical services, community outreach and training programs related to holistic health and well-being.
Its newest location in the Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences opens up possibilities for additional collaborations and new clinical services, Belcher said. The original office is located on University Hall Drive and provides services for adolescents with developmental needs. With this new location and the additional university resources, Belcher said students have the opportunity to serve patient populations of all ages and from a full spectrum of socioeconomic backgrounds.
The new facility provides clinical space, scheduling, billing and electronic health record support to a number of affiliated clinics, including Appalachian’s Charles E. and Geneva S. Scott Scottish Rite Communication Disorders Clinic, and Music Therapy and Psychology clinics. It also initiates and supports interprofessional clinical programs and activities.
Belcher gave this example: The communication sciences and disorders and psychology clinics are partnering with Appalachians’ social work, nutrition, and reading and special education programs to provide assessments, education, training and support to individuals with suspected or confirmed autism and related neurodiversities.
This clinic is receiving community support, as well, through the Blue Cross NC IHHS’ Hub for Autism and Neurodiversity, an organization that collaborates with community members and other organizations to improve education and services related to autism.
Belcher is currently working with students and faculty from the Department of Social Work to develop a social needs assessment that will help to identify gaps in needed services, and with the Department of Nutrition to support community nutrition education.
While working closely with BCHS departments and other university partners focused on health and wellness, Belcher said he wants to establish broader partnerships with other clinics and health professionals within the community and region.
“Everyone I meet is excited to be here — from the staff, to the professors, to the students. Everyone is focused on their program, but they are also focused on the incredible opportunity to collaborate with others, especially our community,” Belcher said. As the clinic grows and more programs become involved, it will have an even greater impact on the region, he added.
Belcher graduated from Appalachian in 1997 with a B.S. degree in health promotion (a major now known as public health). In 2008, he helped build and manage the High Country Community Health Center, which provides primary care, behavioral health and dental services within an integrated medicine model of care that treats the whole person.
To schedule an appointment with any of Appalachian’s affiliated clinics, call 828-262-8658.
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About the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Institute for Health and Human Services
The Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Institute for Health and Human Services connects Appalachian State University to the community by supporting health and wellness research, interprofessional clinics and community outreach programs. The institute partners with the community to better prepare students to become exceptional practitioners who will continue to address health issues and disparities throughout the region and beyond. Learn more at https://ihhs.appstate.edu.
About the Beaver College of Health Sciences
Appalachian's Beaver College of Health Sciences opened in 2010 as the result of a strategic university commitment to significantly enhance the health and quality of life for individuals, families and communities in North Carolina and beyond. In 2015, the college was named for an Appalachian alumnus and pioneer in the health care industry — Donald C. Beaver ’62 ’64 of Conover. The college offers nine undergraduate degree programs and seven graduate degree programs, which are organized into six departments: Communication Sciences and Disorders; Health and Exercise Science; Nursing; Nutrition and Health Care Management; Recreation Management and Physical Education; and Social Work. Learn more at https://healthsciences.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.