Can you remember the last time you were sick and unable to schedule an appointment at your doctor’s office? All too often, patients feel helpless and frustrated when they hear that their medical provider’s next available appointment is more than two weeks out.

We can see you now!

In response to patient feedback, on Monday, April 3, 2017, the Baker Center for Primary Care will begin offering same-day acute care (sick or injured) appointments for both new and established patients. The Baker Center’s walk-in clinic will operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

“The first step in providing patient-centered care is making sure that care is available when patients need it most,” said Robert Johnston, ARHS Vice President of Ambulatory Services & Clinical Integration. “Our goal is to help these patients feel better while also helping them avoid an emergency room visit for a non-life-threatening condition.”

Patients seeking an annual physical, disease management check-up or other routine medical appointment should call 828-737-7711 to schedule an appointment.


About the Baker Center for Primary Care

In 2012, Dr. Charles Baker along with the other healthcare providers in his office, decided to join Appalachian Regional Medical Associates to form the Baker Center for Primary Care. Dr. Baker, who is board certified in both Family Medicine and Pediatrics, has faithfully practiced medicine in Avery County for more than 30 years. From your pregnancy, to caring for your infant, child or adolescent, as an adult and into your later years, we are truly your medical home for all ages.

The Baker Center is recognized by The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Tier 3 Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH). The PCMH distinction acknowledges the Center’s high-quality of care devoted to emphasizing access, health information technology and partnerships between clinicians and patients.

The Baker Center for Primary Care is located in the Sloop Medical Office Plaza adjacent to Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville, NC. To learn more about the Baker Center call 828-737-7711.

The Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center recently raised $3,640 to support patient scholarships for the Parkinson’s Boxing Program in an initiative known as “10 for 20.” In December of 2016, just in time for the holidays, members of the community purchased 10 guest passes for $20 with all of the proceeds benefiting the program.

Last year, collaboration between The Wellness Center and The Rehabilitation Center of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System resulted in a new clinically supervised boxing program to “fight back” against the deteriorating effects of Parkinson’s disease.

“I love to witness the progression each patient makes in terms of their boxing, overall health and confidence,” said Martin Hubner, boxing coach and personal trainer at The Wellness Center. “In a small way, this program has allowed participants to take their lives back.”

The one-hour program, which is offered four days a week to improve patient mobility, encourages participants to rotate through a variety of clinically modified boxing drills. Between each interval, Hubner provides coaching and explains the “why” behind each exercise.

“Historically, patients with Parkinson’s disease were forced to fend for themselves due to a lack of available support groups,” said Katherine Graham, a physical therapist at The Rehabilitation Center, who also serves as a clinical consultant for the boxing program. “I am very excited that this program recognizes the needs and potential of persons with neurological conditions.”

According to Graham, program participants have noticed significant improvement in the areas of strength, endurance, mobility and psychological health. In addition, she notes that in many instances a closer bond has formed between patients and their spouses as a result of the program.

The Parkinson’s Boxing Program does require a physician referral, which can be granted by your primary care provider or neurologist. The program costs $60 per month for Wellness Center members and $85 per month for non-members.

To learn more about the Parkinson’s Boxing Program or available scholarship opportunities contact the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center at 828-266-1060 or visit For more information about The Rehabilitation Center call 828-268-9043.

Has anyone ever told you, perhaps during a difficult time in your life, that everything happens for a reason? For many of us, it can take years before we fully understand that the waves of life were actually a part of a larger current leading us safely to shore.

Angie (Del Nero) Shoemake’s life story is an inspiring tale of storms, unwavering resolve and confirmation that everything does happen for a reason – a reason for good.

Shoemake was raised by her mother in a modest home in Baltimore, Maryland. She was the youngest of four girls and shared a small bedroom with her closest in age sister, Jenny. Despite her mother earning less than $20,000 a year to keep a roof over their heads, Shoemake can remember annual family trips to see the Ice Capades, where she and her sisters were each allowed to have their own cotton candy.

“My mom would not take any government assistance,” said Shoemake. “Not because she was above it, but she wanted to teach us that through hard work, us girls could pull together and succeed.” 

Snowballs & Grit

Angie outside of cancer centerAs soon as she turned 14-years-old, Shoemake started working after school at the neighborhood snowball (snow cone) stand and volunteering at St. Agnes Hospital as a Candy Striper. On the weekends, while most of her friends were sleeping in, she would put on her pink and white uniform and walk a mile to the city bus stop to go to work. A year later, the hospital hired her as a service aid and eventually promoted her to unit secretary in the neonatal intensive care unit as a 16-year-old.

“We all got jobs as soon as we were old enough to help pay for things,” she said. “I paid for my prom dress, my first car and all four of us [siblings] individually paid for our own college educations.”

While in college, Shoemake did an internship at Charles H. Hickey Jr. School for juvenile delinquents. “The experience was as tough as you might imagine,” she said. “But I quickly fell in love with the idea of meeting people where they are and doing my best to help them.”

After college, she joined AmeriCorps and spent the next few years doing service projects like providing disaster flood relief assistance in Louisiana, renovating apartments for Habitat for Humanity in Chicago and working at a Boys and Girls Club. From there, she went on to work in an AIDS hospice house in California, while simultaneously completing her Masters in Social Work at Sacramento State.

 “I have come to realize that you don’t truly ever know what is going on in someone else’s life,” she said. “For me, there is no higher calling than that of service.” Shoemake has a unique understanding of depression and mental health issues as one of her sisters committed suicide six years ago.  “What people show on the outside isn’t necessarily what’s going on inside – it’s important to me to gain the trust of my patients to get that insight.”

Everything Happens for a Reason 

In 2000, after marrying and having her first child in California, Shoemake decided to move across the country to Wilkesboro, North Carolina to live closer to her mother who had relocated there. During that time, she had another son and worked in home health and hospice care for nine years before joining the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center team as a social worker 2012.

“Cancer is a devastating diagnosis,” she said. “My goal is to meet with each patient to determine if there are any existing barriers to care. Sometimes, thanks to our Cancer Patient Emergency Fund, this may mean providing financial assistance or connecting them with a support group. Other times, this may mean helping patients complete a living will, pick out a wig or learn how to apply cosmetics during chemotherapy.”

Her office, which is strategically located in the middle of the Cancer Center, serves as a refuge for discouraged hearts. Its large windows illuminate the room with hope and an Every Person Matters poster on her bulletin board serves as a reminder for patients that they have entered into a safe space.

“By the time the patient gets to me, they are completely overwhelmed by their diagnosis, much less the paperwork,” she said. “I learned at an early age the importance of persistence and I consider it an honor to advocate for these patients.”

In addition to her responsibilities at the Cancer Center, Shoemake was recently appointed as the Chairperson for the Adult Services Coalition of Watauga County. In this role, she will work with area partners to better serve the senior adults in the High Country.  

“As a child, I often wondered at times why life was so hard,” she said. “Today, I understand that those experiences helped prepare my heart to better serve the patients that I get to work with today.”


To learn more about cancer services, visit


An interesting series of serendipitous events led William Orr to Cannon Memorial Hospital.

As a child, Orr desired to follow in his father’s footsteps by serving in the military and working with airplanes. After serving in the Navy for four years, his dream came true when he was hired as an aircraft fabricator and repairman for several large aircraft producing companies. Orr relished the opportunity and he proudly served in that capacity for 20 years.

Unfortunately, turbulence struck when he was suddenly laid off a few years ago. Not ready to retire, the seasoned aviation expert considered his options and decided on nursing, a field he developed a passion for as a teenager and continued to work in as a side hobby throughout his career.

In need of additional training, the Mitchell County resident enrolled in the nursing program at Mayland Community College. As the guardian for three children, he was pleased to learn that scholarship opportunities were available through Cannon Memorial Hospital’s Volunteer Scholarship Program. During his three years at Mayland Community College, Orr was the beneficiary of two scholarships from Cannon Volunteers totaling $1,500.

“I could not have finished the nursing program without the support of Cannon Memorial Hospital’s Volunteer Scholarship Program,” said Orr. “This gift, that they provide, makes it possible to fulfill God’s plans in my life and in the lives of others.”

The icing on the cake came at the end of 2016 when after receiving his associates degree in nursing, Orr was hired as a team member at Cannon Memorial Hospital. “More than a scholarship, in all reality Cannon Memorial Hospital gave me a fresh start on life,” he said.

In 2016, the Cannon Memorial Hospital Volunteer Program raised more than $9,000 in their inaugural Paul Hagen Swing for Scholarships Golf Tournament at Linville Land Harbor. These funds will be dispersed throughout the year to assist other students pursuing degrees in the healthcare field.

The second annual Paul Hagen Swing for Scholarships Golf Tournament will be held on August 5, 2017 at Linville Land Harbor. For years, Paul Hagen has served as a volunteer and major supporter of Cannon Memorial Hospital. He currently serves as the chair of the scholarship committee and was a major contributor to the golf tournament last year.

For more information about the Paul Hagen Swing for Scholarships Golf Tournament or the Cannon Memorial Hospital Volunteer Scholarship program, contact Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Volunteer and Career Pathways Director Sallie J. Woodring at 828-387-1445.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System asks that anyone sick with the flu or flu-like symptoms voluntarily refrain from visiting family and friends who are patients at Cannon Memorial Hospital (Linville, NC), Watauga Medical Center (Boone, NC) and The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge (Blowing Rock, NC).

During this time of increased flu and flu-like illness in our area, we ask that children 12 and under refrain from visiting as well. If a patient’s condition becomes critical, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System will make every attempt to allow a child to visit per family request.  We will evaluate requests on a case-by-base basis and provide guidance on protecting staff, visitors and patients.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu activity is on the rise in the U.S., with all 50 states reporting sporadic to widespread illness. North Carolina is reporting widespread illness.   

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System's hospital emergency rooms, along with the physician offices and AppUrgent Care, have seen an increase in the number of people presenting with influenza-like illness.

"Patients and residents are very vulnerable while in the hospital and long-term care, so we are appealing to those community members who may be ill with the flu, or exposed to the flu, to refrain from visiting hospitalized or long-term care family and friends in order to help us protect the patients in our facilities," stated Dr. Danielle Mahaffey, Chief Physician Executive for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. "Our top priority is to take every appropriate precaution to keep our patients and residents safe."   


Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes an individual may catch flu by touching an object infected with the virus and then touching the eyes, mouth, or nose. There are several things you can do to prevent catching or spreading the flu, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. After coughing or sneezing, wash or sanitize your hands.
  • If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not into your hands.
  • If you get sick with flu, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from making them sick.
  • Get the recommended seasonal flu vaccine.


  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea      
  • Vomiting

Typically patients recover from the flu after one week.

When to Seek Care

Seek emergency medical care if you or a family member has any of these symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with fever and worsening cough
  • In babies, bluish or gray skin color, lack of responsiveness or extreme irritation

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is working diligently to prevent the spread of flu and appreciates any assistance the public can provide. For more information about the flu, visit or