November 22, 2013
Hatteras Village Medical Center to
open on Monday, Nov. 25
By JORDAN TOMBERLIN
When the Hatteras Village Medical Center closed its doors in December 2010, it left a big void in the community.
the loss of convenient access to medical care, there was a general
feeling of having lost an important piece of island history—a piece
that spoke to the independence and resourcefulness that characterizes
islanders and their tight-knit communities.
fact that the facility had been most recently operated by one of the
largest hospital systems in the state, it began as a small, rural
health clinic, established in the 1960s by a group of villagers who
fought to bring reliable medical care to the island.
In a way, the Medical Center was more than a health care facility. It was a cultural institution.
And now, nearly three years after it shut down—and 50 years since it first opened—it’s finally returning to its roots.
Monday morning, Nov. 25, the Hatteras Village Medical Center will once
again provide comprehensive health care to islanders and visitors
alike, operating as a private, non-profit, community-based corporation
that will be run by a local board of directors.
In short, the island has its rural health center back.
And, in keeping with tradition, we have a bunch of determined, resourceful villagers to thank for it.
Basically, as soon as the Medical Center closed, a handful of concerned villagers rushed in to try and save it.
formed a private, non-profit corporation, and the board—comprised of
chairman Ted Midgett, county commissioner Allen Burrus, Hatteras
Village Civic Association president Dennis Robinson, and villagers
Geraldine Farrow and Hal Gray—spent the next two-and-a-half years
securing the facility, finding funding, and tracking down the equipment
they would need to reopen the facility.
They also began their
search for a health-care provider, knowing that finding the right
person for the job would be the key to the clinic’s success.
board members knew needed someone special -- someone who would be
willing to integrate into the local community, who had experience
working with diverse populations in rural areas, and who could adapt to
and thrive in the island environment.
They needed someone like Margaret Jazayeri.
38-year-old physician’s assistant, Jazayeri is a self-described
“small-town girl,” and she’s got the laid-back charm and earnest smile
to prove it.
She’s also got deep roots in Eastern North Carolina.
was born and raised in Grifton, N.C., and received two bachelor’s
degrees from East Carolina University—one in environmental health and
one in physician assistant studies. She has also lived and worked in
On top of all that, she’s also a confident, caring, and accomplished medical professional.
completing her degree in environmental health in 1997, Jazayeri started
working as a sales representative for a drug company.
didn’t take her long to figure out that she was on the wrong side of
the glass. She realized that her real passion was for helping
people in a direct way—working one-on-one with patients and doctors.
she went back to ECU and, in 2004, completed her bachelor’s degree in
physician assistant studies, and, after that, completed her master’s in
physician assistant studies at the University of Nebraska.
physician assistants (PAs) are permitted to practice and prescribe
medicine in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. And when it
comes to primary care—particularly in rural areas—their practice
closely parallels that of a physician. They work under the supervision
of a medical doctor.
After completing her master’s, she moved to Wilmington and began working as a PA.
when she met her husband, Ray Jazayeri, a Kalamazoo, Mich., native who,
at the time, owned Rum Runner’s piano bar in Wilmington.
a few years in Wilmington, the Jazayeris were looking for a change.
They decided to move to Florida, where Margaret continued working in
the medical field.
Unfortunately, her father’s health began to
falter, and she and her family moved back to North Carolina to be
closer to him. They settled in Raleigh, where Margaret was recruited by
Duke University Medical Center to work in their primary care clinics.
her time at Duke Primary Care, she worked in the rural health clinics
they had established in Piedmont towns, such as Mebane and
Hillsborough. She realized how much she loved working in that
And after a while, even Ray—an admitted “city
boy”—started to notice that Margaret was at her best when she was
working with the people in small towns and rural communities.
her father recovered, the Jazayeris moved briefly back to Florida,
before deciding to settle down—now with their very young son Kamran—in
Margaret had been recruited by the Carolinas
Healthcare System—the ninth largest healthcare system in the
country—and was working in primary care in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg
“Charlotte was just too big,” she said with a laugh. “Even for Ray. We were both ready for a change.”
submitted her resume to the Office of Rural Health and was talking to
the folks at Duke Medical about possibly returning to work there.
when Cheryl Ballance, the manager of the Hatteras Village Medical
Center, called her. Ballance, who lives on Ocracoke also manages two
other rural health centers – one on Ocracoke and one in Engelhard.
researching the area and talking to her father’s wife, an Elizabeth
City native who owns a house in Ocracoke, Margaret and Ray decided that
Hatteras seemed like a good fit for them and their 14-month-old son.
“We’re very happy,” said Dennis Robinson, a member of the Medical Center board. “We are so lucky to have her.”
As Jazayeri and her family settled in this past week, the board put the final touches on the Medical Center.
starting Monday, the Hatteras Village Medical Center will be open,
providing medical care to all patients and populations. Medicare,
Medicaid, and all major insurances will be accepted.
for the Hatteras Village Medical Center is still a work in progress,
but Ballance hopes it can break even in about a year. It will be funded
by grants and patient fees – and, to some degree, community donations.
center offers well care, preventive care, disease management, and sick
care to patients of all ages and is open five days at week.
In the beginning, at least, it will not offer after-hours care.
The staff includes a registered nurse and a front-desk person.
“[The Medical Center] is truly a great asset for our community,” Robinson said.
And he’s not the only one who’s excited about it.
said that, though she didn’t know yet if she would even have patients
to see on Monday, she is excited about the work and is ready to get
“I know what I’m doing,” she said with a big smile,
taking it all in stride. “So if anyone comes in, I will be happy to see
The Hatteras Village Medical Center will be open Monday
through Friday from 8 a.m. until noon and from 1 until 5 p.m. It
will be closed on holidays, including Thanksgiving and the day
The phone number is 252-986-2756, which is the same one
the medical center had in its former life.