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Dogwood Health Trust Announces Newest Board Member, Southwestern Commission’s Sarah Thompson

Photo courtesy of NC Rural Center
Sarah Thompson is the executive director of the Southwestern North Carolina Planning and Economic Development Commission. She says she is "thrilled to be able to bring my perspective on rural community and economic development to the board."

Jackson County resident and executive director of the Southwestern Commission Sarah Thompson is the newest member of the Dogwood Health Trust Board.  Officially known as the  Southwestern North Carolina Planning and Economic Development Commission, the regional council of government works with the seven westernmost counties on technical, economic and planning resources. 
“I think it's an incredible opportunity for all of WNC, and I'm thrilled to be able to bring my perspective on rural community and economic development to the board,” says Thompson in an email. 
Thompson is 14th member of the Dogwood Health Trust board. She has served as a Sylva town commissioner and on the Jackson County Planning Board. She is also on the board for a number of local nonprofits that focus on economic development. 
“Sarah is a connector who has spent her career creating relationships and building bridges of opportunity,” said Dogwood Health Trust Board Chair Janice Brumit in a press release. “Dogwood Health Trust will benefit greatly from her experience linking community and economic development.”
Dogwood Health Trust was created as the result of Mission Health's sale to HCA Health at the beginning of February. The sale was finalized after NC Attorney General Josh Stein recommended a number of changes to the deal. Many of those changes centered on the Dogwood Health Trust board. Stein specified that the foundation’s board should fairly reflect Western North Carolina. According Stein's changes, no more than four members of the 15-member board can be from Buncombe County by January 1st, 2021 and that the board can not include any members from the Mission board.
The Dogwood Health Trust Foundation is currently searching for a CEO.
The Dogwood Health Trust board is currently made up of: John R. Ball, MD, JD (Buncombe County), Michell Hicks, CPA (Qualla Boundary), Sam Lupas (Jackson County), George Renfro (Buncombe County), Robert C. Roberts (Buncombe County), Wyatt S. Stevens, JD (Buncombe County) and Martha Tyner (Yancey County),Jackie Godlock(Rutherford County), Vivian Bolanos (Henderson County), Jacquelyn “Jackie” Shropshire Simms (Buncombe County) and Dawna Goode-Ledbetter(McDowell County.)  As well as, Vice Chair Jack Cecil and Chair Janice Brumit, both Buncombe County. 
Asheville-based Mission Hospital announced its new CEO in June. 

Lilly Knoepp serves as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina. She is a native of Franklin, NC who returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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