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N.C. dollars have health leaders smiling


When it comes to the best of health care for those of us who call Fayetteville and Cumberland County home, Mike Nagowski isn’t one for hiding his excitement at Cape Fear Valley Health.  

These days, he’s beside himself. 

Learning that the health system will receive $15 million from the state for the Center for Medical Education building under construction at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center is welcome news for the health system’s chief executive officer.  

“It’s a game-changer,” Nagowski, 56, was saying after Gov. Roy Cooper on Nov. 18 signed the state budget into law, thanks to the work of the Cumberland County legislative delegation of Sens. Kirk deViere and Ben Clark and Reps. Billy Richardson, Diane Wheatley, Marvin Lucas and John Szoka.

A third provision of $9.6 million will provide funds for residencies through the Southern Regional Area Health Education Center that will benefit the health system, according to Chaka Jordan, vice president of marketing and communications for Cape Fear Valley Health.

With the funding, Nagowski says, the $33 million construction for the center is fully funded. 

“Our brilliant Sen. Kirk deViere put that in the budget,” Szoka says. “It’s for classrooms, special labs and it allows them to fund the building. I’m very excited about that. We are training all kinds of residents there” in a number of specialties to serve patients. “You’ve got to have doctors to take care of them.” 

The Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation has devoted most of  its current capital campaign in building infrastructure and programs, Sabrina Brooks says, and now will focus on faculty endowments, state-of-the-art learning environments for residents and equipment for research, clinical trials and other program goals. 

“We’ve raised $6.3 million so far from individual and corporate donors through our Caring for the Future campaign,” says Brooks, vice president for the foundation. “That included $1.4 million for program support, which is where we will now focus the rest of the campaign.” 

The five-story Center for Medical Education is scheduled to open this summer, with a goal of allowing the health system to increase its residency programs beyond the current 10 that will increase the physician workforce throughout southeastern North Carolina. Current residency programs include emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, cardiology, internal medicine, podiatry and psychiatry. 

You better believe Nagowski is ecstatic, and likely telling everybody he sees when making his way through the corridors of the medical center. Nagowski is like that. He likes engaging with every employee wanting to know about their families or just how they’re getting along. You can be sure, too, Nagowski is telling about funding for the Center for Medical Education building.  

It’s a shared enthusiasm.   

“The Graduate Medical Education program is very humbled and  honored to receive all of the outpouring of resources from the community and the legislators,” says Dr. Donald Maharty, vice president of Medical Education for Cape Fear Valley Health. “The residents, faculty and staff are extremely grateful. These funds will be used to advance learning skills by affording the latest technologies for teaching that will ultimately benefit our patients.” 

Glenn Adams, chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, concurs. 

First, I wish to thank our legislative delegation for their efforts to have these funds put into the state budget,” says Adams. “As a hospital trustee, these funds allow the medical center to continue its mission to provide quality health care to the citizens of Cumberland County and this region. It allows the medical center to meet the educational needs of health care providers for the future. The future looks exciting for the medical center.” 

A few dollars more 

State funding didn’t just end with the $15 million. You can throw in another $8 million for  Harnett Health, which is part of  Cape Fear Valley Health. And those dollars will be earmarked for funding of new behavioral health beds.  

“There’s such a great need, not just in our community, but throughout all of North Carolina, for these services,” says Corey Hess, president of Harnett Health. “We’re proud and excited to be able to expand our service offerings with this funding and continue the expansion of behavioral health services that is already happening with the Dorothea Dix Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit on the Fayetteville campus.” 

Back to Nagowski.  

“We are thankful our state legislators have committed to this funding, which will greatly enhance several areas of operations and patient care in the Cape Fear Valley Health System,” Nagowsk says about the health system that serves Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, Highsmith-Rainey Specialty Hospital, Cape Fear Valley Rehabilitation Center, Behavioral Health Care, Bladen County Hospital, Hoke Hospital, Health Pavilion North, Health Pavilion Hoke and Harnett Health. “We’re especially thankful for the tremendous boost this will give the Center for Medical Education.” 


Morning comes early for Nagowski at his office looking out on the Cape Fear Valley Medical Center’s front lawn. There’s a quick stop to check with Anita Davis-Melvin, his administrative assistant who has served hospital CEOs for more than 40 years, about daily appointments and board meetings to attend throughout the health system network and a review and discussion with Dr. Sam Fleishman or Dan Wheatley about updates on the COVID-19 health pandemic.  

He’s a CEO on the move throughout every day, but never too busy for a moment to call you by name and ask about the family. But give Nagowski some leeway these days, because he just may remind you the Center for Medical Education is paid for in full, and he can’t wait for the christening in the summer to come.  

Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961.   


Cape Fear Valley Health, Center for Medical Education, Mike Nagowski, residency program, Southern Regional Area Health Education Center, Harnett Health, health care