An initiative of The N.C. Center for Health & Wellness at UNC Asheville


Washington DC – NC’s Training Academy

Jeanne Dairaghi, NCCHW and Stephanie Stewart, Land of Sky AAA presenting.

On May 22, NCCHW’s CDSME Programs Manager presented on North Carolina’s training academy at the 2018 National Council on Aging Center for Healthy Aging Annual Meeting in Washington DC. She was joined by Stephanie Stewart from the Land of Sky Area Agency on Aging, and together they presented on how Healthy Aging NC, the Training Academy at Centralina Area Agency on Aging, and our vast network of partners across the state collaborate to grow and sustain Chronic Disease Self-Management Education Programs.

The powerpoint for the session can be found at in the “Webinars” section of Healthy Aging NC’s “Resources” tab. You can also click on the link below to see the slides. Thank you Jeanne and Stephanie for sharing our important and successful work with our national colleagues and partners.

Title: North Carolina was invited to present at the National Council on Aging’s Annual Conference on Healthy Aging in Washington DC
Presenters: Jeanne Dairaghi, NCCHW; Stephanie Stewart, Land of Sky AAA; with input from Angel Stoy, Centralina AAA
Powerpoints:A Training Academy Model: Bringing CDSME to the Community and State

Triangle Falls Prevention Coalition launches

North Carolina can add another vibrant falls prevention coalition to help meet local needs.

On April 17th the NC Center for Health & Wellness’ Healthy Aging NC director convened the first official meeting of the Triangle Falls Prevention Coalition. The meeting brought together leaders from public health, clinical healthcare, and the business community.

The group’s vision is to cultivate collaboration between multidisciplinary professionals to reduce falls and fall-related injuries in the Triangle area of North Carolina. The mission includes fostering partnerships to increase awareness of falls risk factors, advance access to fall prevention interventions, increase empowerment among North Carolinians in the Triangle to understand and actively prevent falls, and decrease the risk and incidence of falls among Triangle residents.  Goals include promoting falls awareness events in the Triangle community, compiling and disseminating falls prevention resources, using data to guide the coalition and sustain these efforts long term.

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for June 12 from 11am- 1pm. Inquiries can be directed to Nicolle Miller,

Employee Testimonial: Annie Jo Buchanan


My name is Annie Jo Buchanan and I’m the newest member of the NCCHW at UNCA team serving as a Chronic Disease and Healthy Aging Advocate. I am a psychology major with a minor in music graduating this spring.

I first became interested in this position because I am passionate about disability rights and more specifically working with and creating accommodations for individuals with autism. Working with my supervisor Jeanne Dairaghi to create a disability inclusion toolkit for potential workshop leaders has been my favorite project with NCCHW so far.

In my free time, I love singing with UNCA’s female and gender non-conforming a cappella group, the Bluebirds, drawing and collaging, and songwriting.

Medical Costs of Falls in Older Adults

A recent research article explored the costly nature of falls, both fatal and nonfatal, in older adults. The researchers determined that roughly $50 billion had been spent on fall-related treatment, with over half of that amount being pulled from both Medicare and Medicaid.

With the cost expected to rise, it is more important than ever to explore preventative measures to ensure health and wellness at every age. Preventative programs like Moving for Better Balance and A Matter of Balance can not only keep people safe, but can also lead to “substantial reduction in healthcare spending”.



Participant Testimonial

Nicole Hiegl, Tai Chi for Arthritis and Better Balance Instructor, received a heartfelt letter from a participant of one of her classes.

Many thanks to Deborah W. for your recognition and praise! We hold your letter in the highest esteem and are pleased that you have found use and peace through our evidence-based programs.

“I don’t think this card is actually big enough to express my thanks and praise both to you and the HCAAA! But I will try to give some specifics.

  1. You are a 5 star instructor for us seniors, perfect for me and others.
  2. You take much care to ensure our safety.
  3. You encourage and instruct in a very kind manner.
  4. Yet, you also gently correct our form when needed.
  5. You are willing and skilled to help us individually adapt. When I/others had specific health issues (me-my hip and lower back last year, which due to you and your leadership has greatly healed, along with my left shoulder!!!)

I can only hope that when I get trained in the Spring that I can help other seniors find better health healing balance, flexibility, strength, and more peaceful mindfulness in their lives, as you have done so well in mine!!!

Gratefully to you and the HCAAA,

Deborah W.”


Employee Testimonial: Melody Hager

My name is Melody Hager, and I have been employed as the Healthy Aging Student Communications Employee since the Fall of 2017. My responsibilities span a variety of tasks, including engaging with participants in our evidence-based programs, gathering interviews and testimonials of their successes, photographing and videoing their progress, and drafting relevant posts for both the Facebook page and website.

However, my job is so much more than that. Through this position, I have seen first hand the determination and drive that lies within all of us to better ourselves.Through the YMCA Moving for Better Balance program, I have seen a participant with Parkinson’s gather the skills necessary to navigate the world with their condition. And I was honored to have met Martha, participant-turned-mentor of the Diabetes Self Management Program, and learned how she went from struggling mentally, to a stronger, better version of herself.

My position at the NC Center for Health and Wellness has given me access to some of Asheville’s finest, strongest people. I have been given the opportunity to meet members of my community and engage with them on a human level. This wasn’t included in the job description, but it has been one of the happiest surprises I have ever experienced.

There are few things as special as being able to meet the people who benefit from the programs for which you advocate. Though my time at the Health and Wellness center is coming to a close at the end of the Spring 2018 semester, the things I have learned and the people I have met will forever be ingrained in me, both in my mind and in my heart. I am more than grateful to the NC Center for Health and Wellness for my experience as the Healthy Aging Student Communications Employee.

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

Nearly 15 million people are caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. In honor of them
and their loved ones, HERE is an article that describes 10 ways in which you can help both those with
the disease, and their caregivers.

NC Gov. Roy Cooper Declares Sept. 18-23 “Falls Prevention Awareness Week”

Today is the first day of Falls Prevention Awareness week in North Carolina.  We celebrate the entire week, not just the first day of Fall, Sept. 22, 2017.  Read our Governor’s proclamation for Falls Prevention Awareness Week.  National participation has grown from 11 states to 48 states and the District of Columbia.  More great resources, handouts, videos, marketing and media materials can be found at  NCOA Falls Prevention Awareness Day .