John is a native of Hickory, NC. He completed his medical education at Wake Forest University in 2004. He practiced as a physician assistant in Boone for 6 years before commissioning into the United States Air Force as a Medical Officer. While in the Air Force he was stationed at Edwards AFB in California and Kadena AB in Okinawa, Japan. John returned to Boone, NC in 2015 where he has settled with his wife and two children. John has training and experience in treating a spectrum of medical conditions, but a special interest in the treatment of general surgery patients. He enjoys spending time outside with his family and developing knowledge and skills in amateur radio communications. He looks forward to opportunities to participate in Christian world medical missions. Education • B.S. Criminal Justice, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, (1996) • Wake Forest University School of Medicine, (2004) Medical Affiliations • American Academy of Physician Assistants • North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants • National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants
Dr. van der Westhuizen graduated from Covenant College and entered the Medical College of Georgia, obtaining his medical degree in 2007. In 2012 he finished his General Surgery training at Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center in Greenville, SC. He subsequently completed a surgical fellowship in Minimally Invasive Surgery in Greenville, as well.
In addition to general surgical procedures, Dr. van der Westhuizen has interest and specialty training in both complex hernia repair and advanced laparoscopy. He offers laparoscopic and open repair options for a range of hernia defects including umbilical, incisional, flank, parastomal, inguinal, and recurrent hernias. Other advanced laparoscopic techniques include paraesophageal (hiatal) hernia repair and fundoplication for gastroesophageal reflux, Heller myotomy for achalasia, colon surgery, adrenalectomy, splenectomy, and nephrectomy.
Dr. van der Westhuizen was born in South Africa, grew up as a missionary kid in Chile, South America, and speaks Spanish fluently. He served in medical missions during his surgical residence in Honduras, and he has a continuing interest in medical missions in the future.
Dr. van der Westhuizen is married to his wife Stephanie. They have four children Elie, John, Caleb, and Joel.
After surviving a skiing accident in 2000, Matt knew he wanted to pursue a career in medicine. Before going into the medical field, Matt graduated from Messiah College with a degree in Biblical Studies. He served as a missionary in Thailand, a youth pastor, and an interim senior pastor with various churches in Pennsylvania and in Charlotte, NC. His desire to minister to people both spiritually and physically led him to train as an EMT and then gain entrance into the Physician Assistant Program at Wingate University from which he graduated in 2017. He is married with three children. In his free time, his greatest joy is spending moments with his family.
Dr. Paul Sami Dagher graduated from Wheaton College in 1989 with a major in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Bible. He completed medical school at Loma Linda University in Southern California in 1993 and completed his general surgery residency at Loma Linda University Medical Center in 1998.
Dr. Dagher is the recipient of the Watauga County People’s Choice Awards for 2011, 2012, and 2013 Best Surgeon Award.
Dr. Dagher has been an active staff member at Watauga Medical Center since 1998 and has been the CEO of Watauga Surgical Group. He has served on various committees at Watauga Medical Center and has been Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Chief of the Medical staff. He currently serves on the Clinical Transformation Committee, the Credentials Committee and as a member of the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System board of trustees. He also works as the Medical Director at the Wound Care Center.
During his career, Dr. Dagher has served as an educator/preceptor to many physician assistant and family nurse practitioner students during their surgical rotations.
In addition to his expertise in general surgery, Dr. Dagher has a particular interest in the care of patients with breast disease including breast cancer. He utilizes minimally invasive techniques such as stereotactic biopsy, mammotome biopsy, and breast ultrasound to evaluate his patients and obtain a diagnosis. Many of these procedures are performed in his office. When the diagnosis of cancer is made he works closely with our medical and radiation oncologists, presenting each case in our cancer conference to come up with a comprehensive plan of care.
Dr. Dagher has also provided the residents of Watauga County with varicose vein care. For approximately 8 years he has been treating symptomatic varicose veins with radiofrequency ablation, a minimally invasive technique. This procedure is done through a needle stick in the comfort and privacy of his office. He also performs sclerotherapy (injections) for unsightly spider veins.
Dr. Dagher has a keen interest in medical missions and has been overseas in that capacity on multiple occasions. He has served in Zaire, Iraq, Togo, and Zambia. He is an active member of his church, Alliance Bible Fellowship, where he and his family attend.
Medical Society Affiliations:
Diplomat, American Board of Surgery
FACS – Fellow of the American College of Surgeons
Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons
American Society of Breast Surgeons
Christian Medical and Dental Association
American Medical Association
North Carolina Medical Society
North Carolina Chapter of the American College of Surgeons
Watauga County Medical Society