HEALING AND HELPING
Dr. John Cotton arrives at
Wilmington International Airport
in a driving rainstorm.
At right, from top to bottom: At
New Hanover Regional Medical
Center, Cotton confers with
Grlaselda Torres after examining
her son Omar. At right is another
Cotton with Kenan Bridges and
Kenan's mother, Lisa Bridges.
Cotton examines 3-month-old
Atlas Cooper. At right is Jamar
Then-UNC System President Bill Fri-
day' 48 (LLB) served on the Carnegie
Commission on Higher Education that
recommended a system of regional centers
to support community health care. When
the General Assembly created the AHEC
program in 1974, it found its home at
AHEC created its huge primary care
residency program at a time when such
primary care doctors were considered
unspecialized. It sought to emphasize that
they did specialize - in family or internal
The program supports 326 residency
positions across the state, placing residents
from the medical schools at Carolina,
Duke, East Carolina and Wake Forest.
AHEC operates five community doc-
tors offices staffed by its residents and pro-
fessors. They give physician residents the
real-world experience that completes their
training and offer local communities health
care they might not get any other way.
"The indigent, the Medicaid and those
without insurance enter the system
through the hospital clinics," said Paul
Woodworth, associate director of the
Coastal AHEC, ba ed in Wilmington.
"New Hanover [Regional Medical Cen-
ter] is a big tertiary care hospital. They are
going to drift this way from the counties
they are in. Brunswick County, Columbus
County and Pender County residents will
come to the clinics."
Becky Knight, director of the Greens-
September / Octob e r 2004