07/30/04 — WATCH program moves to hospital

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WATCH program moves to hospital

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 30, 2004 2:01 PM

Wayne Action Teams for Community Health, or WATCH, will take up residence at Wayne Memorial Hospital next week.

Since it was formed in 1998, office space has been provided at Wayne Community College. It has grown from one staff member to 10. They will soon be housed behind the hospital in a building that has nine offices and a conference room.

The board of directors this week recognized those who have provided homes for the staff and the mobile unit that currently serves about 581 patients a month.

"Dr. Ed Wilson and Wayne Community College provided us with the first space we had and we're still enjoying that space," said the board chairman, Gwyn Wilson.

She expressed gratitude to Wilson, the college president, for the partnership that had been forged. A gold engraved planter was also presented to him on behalf of the board.

"We have enjoyed having you with us," Wilson said. "We're sorry to see you leave but we hope it will be successful where you will be."

He said WATCH has been a tremendous addition to the community.

"I think you should feel very, very good about the most wonderful things you have accomplished," he said.

Dr. Clark Gaither of Goldsboro Family Physicians, medical director for the program, was also honored at the meeting. He and his partners have provided office space for the staff and a large parking area necessary for the van.

Gaither credited his partners, doctors Keith Clarke and Shannon Jimenez, with supporting his involvement with WATCH.

"I really didn't ask their permission," he said. "They have been willing participants."

Gaither said he has been happy to be host for the WATCH program.

Ms. Wilson told him, "We're leaving your space but we know you'll still be there."

The mobile unit was introduced to the community in August, 2000 and travels to various sites around the county. When not in use, it will now be parked on Cox Boulevard near the hospital.

Ms. Wilson reflected on the progress made since WATCH started.

"Sometimes you plant a little seed and you don't really know what's going to grow," she said. "Look what grew from this idea."

She pledged the group's goal to continue meeting the needs of the community and the many health issues that exist for those struggling financially.