Gillings alumna Mims named MAHEC chair of community and public health

June 1, 2020

Dr. Susan Mims

Dr. Susan Mims

The Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) in Asheville, North Carolina, recently welcomed Susan Mims, MD, MPH, to chair the newly established Department of Community and Public Health at UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC.

Mims, who studied epidemiology and medicine at UNC, will provide strategic leadership for the Asheville-based Master of Public Health program. The program is affiliated with the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health and UNC-Asheville. Mims will work closely with Director of Academic Affairs Amy Lanou, PhD, and program faculty to train future public health leaders across Western North Carolina in innovative models of public health delivery.

Mims also will help guide population health initiatives at UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC that include supporting a regional response to the COVID-19 pandemic, rural health initiatives and health professions education programs spanning high school through post-fellowship rural teaching practices.

“We have enjoyed working with Dr. Mims on a variety of community health initiatives as a trusted partner at Mission Health,” shares MAHEC CEO Jeffery Heck, MD. “We’re thrilled to have her join our leadership team to help guide the expansion of our population health and workforce development initiatives across our region.”

Under Mims’ direction, the Department of Community and Public Health will provide support for initiatives that that focus on eliminating health inequities and addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) in collaboration with regional and state partners. These efforts include coordinating care through the NCCARE360 program, community health improvement through WNC Healthy Impact and the expansion of community health workers across Western North Carolina. This department also will support Western North Carolina families through preconception health education in partnership with the March of Dimes, Safe Kids WNC, the Triple P Positive Parenting Program and regional lactation consultation.

In addition, Mims will help guide clinical best practices and innovation at MAHEC, including a medical-legal partnership with Pisgah Legal Services, SDOH screening and referral, community-based doulas, and community health work and peer support.

While at Mission Health, Mims led Mission Children’s Hospital as well as Women’s Health and Clinical Genetics. Her work included community health initiatives addressing oral health, asthma, the expansion of medical services for infants and children, social determinants of health, and the prevention of injury, neglect and abuse of children. Prior to her work with Mission Health, she served as medical director and a primary care physician for the Buncombe County Department of Public Health.

Mims currently serves as president of the North Carolina Pediatric Society, is an active member of the North Carolina and Western Carolina Medical Societies, serves on the N.C. Physician Advisory Group advising Medicaid and is a former member of MAHEC’s board of directors.

Mountain Area Health Education Center was established in 1974 and is a leader in health care, education and innovation. Located in Asheville, MAHEC serves a 16-county region in Western North Carolina and is one 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 also is home to UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC, an academic health center working in partnership with UNC-Chapel Hill that includes programs from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC School of Medicine and UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at

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