Press release from Mission Hospital, shared Aug. 29:

ASHEVILLE – Mission Hospital hosted the first of a series of meetings bringing together health practitioners, law enforcement, city leaders and support agencies to make Asheville a safer place for women and children.

The kick-off meeting, held July 16 at the hospital, included representatives from the Buncombe County commissioner’s office, the Buncombe County Health and Human Services, the YWCA of Asheville, the district attorney’s office, the Asheville Police Department, the Buncombe County Sheriff’s office, the United Way, Helpmate, Our VOICE, Watershed Capital, Western Highlands Network, Child Abuse Prevention Services, Inc., Pisgah Legal Services and MAHEC.

The group endorsed a zero-tolerance stance on domestic and sexual violence in western North Carolina and identified three immediate initiatives:

  • complete a current safety assessment, including what data is available, and what evidence exists regarding the effectiveness of current or proposed strategies,
  • identify innovative prevention strategies that could be implemented in Western North Carolina, and
  • evaluate the idea of a “Community Wide Collaborative Response” to domestic and sexual violence.

“The statistics and facts are alarming. One out of every three American women has been (or will be) the victim of an attempted rape or other acts of violence in their lifetime, and one in five children will experience abuse,” said Dr. Kellett Letson, Women’s Service Line Leader at Mission Hospital and chair of OB/GYN at MAHEC. “We are taking a stand and making it known that Western North Carolina will not accept violence and abuse.”

“On behalf Mission Hospital and MAHEC, I want to express our gratitude and appreciation for the dedicated group of community leaders who have joined together to make our community a safe place for women and children,” said Jill Hoggard Green, president and COO of Mission Hospital. “Women and children in Western North Carolina should be protected, and I am confident our joint efforts will make this happen.”

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Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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