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Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital announce multi-year partnership extension with Western Carolina University to remain exclusive healthcare provider for Catamount Athletics

Sylva/Bryson City/Cullowhee, NC (September 23, 2021) Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital announce multi-year partnership extension with Western Carolina University to remain exclusive healthcare provider for Catamount Athletics Sylva/Bryson City/Cullowhee, NC (September 23, 2021): Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital are pleased to announce a three-year partnership extension with Western Carolina University to remain the exclusive healthcare provider for Catamount Athletics through The Ascent Partnership. 

For decades, the hospitals’ support for Catamount Athletics has included physician-led game and injury coverage for WCU student-athletes, physical therapy and sports medicine services on the sidelines and on the court, and clinical rotations for students training in musculoskeletal disciplines. The Ascent Partnership formalized the relationship in 2015 featuring an exclusive corporate sponsorship for all WCU sports.

“Western Carolina University and Catamount Athletics are essential to our region,” said Steve Heatherly, CEO of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital. “We are proud to always support the university and to continue to strengthen our commitment to our role as the exclusive healthcare provider for WCU student athletes, their coaches, trainers, and everyone who supports the teams and players.”

“We are thrilled to continue our extensive partnership with Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital,” said Alex Gary, WCU Director of Athletics. “This relationship positively impacts Catamount Athletics in so many ways and is a vital component to our student-athlete experience.”

The partnership features significantly greater visibility for Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital including signage on the Jordan-Phillips Field House overlooking Paws Porch on the north end of E.J. Whitmire Stadium and new hospital signage in the main concourse of the Ramsey Center. The Harris and Swain medical team will evaluate and treat injuries in a new Harris/Swain triage tent at all home and away football games.

In addition to high visibility within Catamount Athletics, the hospitals have a permanent presence on the WCU campus in the Health and Human Sciences Building on Little Savannah Road including both a primary care clinic and Harris Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy. 

Team physicians are practicing providers at Harris Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine on the campus of Harris Regional Hospital.

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About The Ascent Partnership

The Ascent Partnership is the formal collaboration between Western Carolina University, Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital focused on ensuring access to quality health care in North Carolina’s westernmost counties.

Partnership initiatives include training the next generation of health care workers and supporting educational and outreach activities that benefit the health of those living in the region. The Ascent Partnership was officially named in 2015 after a decades-long relationship between the organizations featuring clinical training opportunities for students and hospital support for WCU’s athletic teams and arts events.

About Harris Regional Hospital

Harris Regional Hospital, established in 1925, is an 86-bed acute and specialty care facility serving Western North Carolina with more than 100 physicians practicing in locations throughout a multi-county region, including Harris Regional Hospital Medical Park of Franklin, an outpatient facility in Macon County. 

About Swain Community Hospital

Swain Community Hospital, established in 1950, is a 48-bed Critical Access Hospital serving a multi-county region with primary care, emergency medicine and subspecialty care including a pain clinic and a transitional care unit. Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital began an affiliation in 1997 and joined Duke LifePoint Healthcare in 2014.

About Catamount Athletics

Western Carolina University fields 16 intercollegiate varsity sports – nine women’s and seven men’s – as an NCAA Division I member that includes playing in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). All 16 of WCU’s sports teams compete in the Southern Conference, the fifth-oldest conference in the nation that is celebrating 100-years of competition in 2020-21. Since 1976, Catamount athletics teams have won 81 combined SoCon championships that include 23 regular season and 58 tournament titles. Western Carolina also holds the distinction of being the first SoCon school to play for the NCAA FCS football national championship in 1983, with both men’s and women’s basketball programs also competing for national championships in 1962-63 (NAIA) and 1968-69 (CIAW), respectively. For the latest on Western Carolina athletics, visit CatamountSports.com.

About Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University is the University of North Carolina System’s westernmost campus, providing access to higher education for deserving students in the mountain region and driving economic development in the far west as well as across the state. While we remain committed to our regional mission, our reach and impact has expanded in our more than 125-year history.

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