Health: The sound of progress

By Bill Kirby Jr.

Nagowski said the Medical Education & Research and Neuroscience Institute, which will encompass 120,000 square feet, stand five stories high and include state-of-the-art classrooms, lecture halls and simulation labs, is a credit to the Cape Fear Valley Health board of trustees and the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation.

You could see and hear the construction workers above as they awaited the final steel beam about to be hoisted in the June 17 “Topping Off” ceremony for the Medical Education & Research and Neuroscience Institute, the $30 million addition to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.


There was anticipation.
There was a sense of pride.

“It’s the sound of progress,” said Brian Pearce, vice president of facilities and emergency management for Cape Fear Valley Health, just before the huge crane lifted the white beam for placement. “It began on the back of a napkin, and we are delighted to celebrate this today.” No one may have been as proud of the moment as Dr. Donald Maharty, vice president of Medical Education for Cape Fear Valley Health and regional associate dean of the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine at Campbell University. Scheduled for completion in 2022, the structure will serve as home for the Medical Residency. The program, underway since 2017, anticipates training 300 residents annually in health care fields such as emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, cardiology, internal medicine, podiatry and psychiatry.

The Medical Residency Program, CFVH officials say, will have an economic impact of 900 new jobs and bring more than $500 million to the Cape Fear Region and to southeastern North Carolina in the ensuing decade. The program is about training “the next generation of physicians,” with hopes that many graduates will choose to practice in southeastern North Carolina, including this community. And so far, so good says Maharty.

“We have had about half of all our graduates choose to stay in the health system after graduation and become part of our community,” Maharty said., who is also regional associate dean of Campbell’s School of Medicine. “Of the 30 graduates we’ve already had, a total of 15 will remain – two in OB/GYN, five in emergency medicine and eight
in internal medicine. This is wonderful news for our community and its healthcare needs.”

“This is a cause more noble and greater than ourselves,” he said. “With great dreams come great vision. We’re excited” Equally proud was Mike Nagowski, the 55-year-old
chief executive officer for the health system. “Today, we are one step closer to greater health care in southeastern North Carolina,” Nagowski said about the residency program. “They’ll be learning their craft, and this will be home for the Neuroscience Institute, too. You’ve done world-class work in facilities that don’t match your skills.”

Nagowski said the Medical Education & Research and Neuroscience Institute, which will encompass 120,000 square feet, stand five stories high and include state-of-theart
classrooms, lecture halls and simulation labs, is a credit to the Cape Fear Valley Health board of trustees and the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation.

“This program generates many positives for our community, positioning us as a regional leader in medical education while attracting talented young professionals to our community,” says Robert Van Geons, president and chief executive officer for the Fayetteville Cumberland Economic Development Corp. “Like many metropolitan areas our size, it is often hard to recruit established practitioners from larger, more well-known markets. As the impressive results of this effort demonstrate, once people get a chance to see first-hand what we have to offer, they are happy to make Fayetteville and Cumberland County their home. The investment of Cape Fear Valley Health and our community into this program will yield returns for years to come.”

‘Privilege To Take Part’
Dr. Denis Trinnel is trained in Internal Medicine and says Medical Residency graduates are “fortunate” to work in the Cape Fear Valley Health community that
serves the Cape Fear Region to include Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Robeson and Sampson counties.

Dr. Donald Maharty, vice president of Medical Education for Cape Fear Valley Health and regional associate dean of the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine at Campbell University, with his residents including Chris Benton, center.

“We provide care to people who traditionally do not have socio-economic resources and access to health care,” says Dr. Trinnel, 35, who is a native of Brooklyn, New York. “Many of our patients have a lot of co-morbidities, allowing us tremendous learning opportunity and privilege to take part in their health care.” He likes his colleagues, and something else.
“I chose to stay at Cape Fear Valley mostly because I genuinely like the people with which I work,” Dr. Trinnel says, “including patients and colleagues.”

A Robust Program’
Ilona Brown, DO, says Campbell University and the Cape Fear Valley Health Medical Residency Education program were the essence of her pursuit in internal medicine since coming to the United States from her native Dnipro, Ukraine. “The program provided robust, wellrounded training in internal medicine, and its subspecialties,” Dr. Brown says.
Today, Cape Fear Valley Health and this community is home.

“I went to Campbell University for medical school first and then stayed for residency,” Dr. Brown says. “After moving around for years for my husband’s Air Force
service, we wanted to settle and put down some roots.” Dr. Brown didn’t have to look far. “I stayed at Cape Fear Valley because I really like the people I work with,” Dr. Brown says. “Medicine is not an easy job, and it’s much better when you have a good team by your side.”

To Pay It Forward

There could have been no better place to train and hone his skills in emergency medicine, Christopher Benton, DO, says, than the Medical Residency Program at Cape Fear Valley Health. “I feel that the training I have received as a part of the Emergency Medicine residency at Cape Fear Valley has been phenomenal,” says Dr. Benton, 30, a native of Morganton nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“Having the opportunity to train in one of the busiest emergency departments in the country has afforded me many educational experiences that I likely would not have had if I trained elsewhere.” And he is grateful to those who mentored him.

“As a resident at Cape Fear Valley, I have valued the input and mentorship of many great attending physicians,” Dr. Benton says, “and I am looking forward to being able to support and guide future residents throughout their Cape Fear Valley Health journey.”