On December 5 the newly established Dogwood Health Trust announced the appointment of two women to its Board of Directors, Vivian Bolanos of Henderson County and Jacquelyn (Jackie) Shropshire Simms of Buncombe County.
Unlike the seven of nine people on the new foundation’s originating board, neither woman has ties to Mission Hospital, whose proposed sale to the for-profit HCA chain of hospitals required the establishment of a nonprofit foundation.
Vivian Bolanos is Vice President and Business Development Officer for First Bank, responsible for the development of business relationships for branches in Henderson, Transylvania, and Buncombe Counties. She previously worked in leadership positions with Mountain 1st Bank & Trust, based in Hendersonville; Asheville Savings Bank, which was purchased by First Bank in 2017; and Carolina First in Hendersonville. Before entering the banking profession, Bolanos worked at Roper Insurance in Hendersonville and was a General Education Development Instructor at Blue Ridge Community College.
A community advocate and volunteer, she serves on the boards of the United Way of Henderson County, Safelight, and Pardee UNC Health Care, and was recently appointed by Governor Roy Cooper to the Blue Ridge Community College Board of Trustees. Ms. Bolanos attended the University Estatal of Cuenca (Ecuador) Law School and is currently attending the North Carolina School of Banking at Chapel Hill.
“I recognize the incredible responsibility of this Board appointment and feel honored and grateful to serve,” said Bolanos. “I will give western North Carolina and Dogwood Health Trust my very best.”
Jackie Simms has been a passionate advocate for education of children with hearing impairments for more than 50 years. As a teacher in the State’s Early Intervention Program for Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, she has worked closely with families of such children and with interagency coordinating councils in all 18 of the westernmost counties of North Carolina. She also served as Director of the Preschool Satellite Program of the Western North Carolina School for the Deaf.
An Ethical Culture Officiant and Humanist Celebrant, Simms is a founder, and currently board vice president, of the Ethical Humanist Society of Asheville. She earned her BS in Elementary Education from the historically black Langston University in Langston, OK and a Master of Education of the Deaf (M.E.D.) degree from Smith College in Northampton, MA.
Ms. Simms has volunteered for Building Bridges of Asheville for twenty-five years and has filled numerous volunteer positions for the American Ethical Union since 1978. A member and correspondent for the Mountain Area Interfaith Forum, she was presented with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Service award in 2016 by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville & Buncombe County.
“Serving on the board for Dogwood Health Trust is such a wonderful and unique opportunity,” she said. “I am delighted to have this opportunity to work with a team devoted to radically improving the lives of western North Carolinians. I’m engaged in a steep learning curve and am committed to representing the underserved in our region. I ask that the community join in wishing me effectiveness.”
“From the beginning, Dogwood Health Trust made an intentional pledge to the entire 18-county region of western North Carolina, and we have continued to evolve to more closely reflect, fully understand, and meaningfully serve the region,” said Janice Brumit, chairwoman of the trust. “We are honored to add Jackie and Vivian and to now have a group of 11 extraordinary leaders, all of whom have demonstrated their commitment to serve as an engaged, thoughtful and strategic Board that will lead Dogwood Health Trust in its important work.”
Under state laws governing the sale of a nonprofit hospital to a for-profit corporation, Dogwood Health Trust was established to be an independent foundation to “improve the health and well-being of all people and communities of Western North Carolina.”
The NC Attorney General, Josh Stein, is currently reviewing the sale to ensure that the Trust will be completely independent of HCA, which, with 178 hospitals and 119 surgery centers in the U.S. and United Kingdom, is the largest health care provider in the country. If the purchase is permitted to go through, Dogwood Health Trust will begin with an endowment of up to $1 billion, based on the estimated value of the sale and of settlement costs.
The new foundation will be completely independent of the hospital corporation. “Dogwood Health Trust will focus all of its efforts on opportunities to improve both individual and community health,” Ms. Brumit said. “We are incredibly excited about the transformative capacity the Trust brings to systemically address Western North Carolina’s most intractable barriers to health and wellbeing.”
About Dogwood Health Trust
Dogwood Health Trust is a North Carolina not-for-profit corporation with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and well-being of all people and communities across of North Carolina. Dogwood Health Trust is the successor foundation of the not-for-profit Mission Health System should the proposed transaction with HCA Healthcare move forward. To learn more, please visit dogwoodhealthtrust.org.