Community Practitioner Program (CPP) participants are true gifts to the underserved communities where they practice. Let’s get to know Dr. Brie Folkner.


1. What is a quote that has significantly influenced your life and why?
I honestly do not have a single quote that I have lived by, but there are some that I can really appreciate. I try to stay open minded to other peoples’ perceptions and I try really hard to understand where people are coming from. I think this helps me to empathize with my patients. Staying grateful for the good things in my life helps me to be a better person in general. I do like the quote by Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It just helps to remember that even the smallest good thing I do for someone each day, like just simply listening, can have a ripple effect to the rest of the world. and actions.

2. Where are you from?
I am originally from Bradenton, FL. I went to both undergrad and med school at University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. I came to NC for residency and attended MAHEC Family Medicine residency program. The year I graduated from residency there were not many jobs in Asheville, so I searched outside the city and made my way to Spruce Pine, NC.

3. Why did you decide to become a physician?
My mom will say I used to say I wanted to be a doctor even as a very young child. I think it really became more of a reality for me after witnessing my step-father go through some severe health issues, including being on dialysis while I was in middle and high school. His nephrologist was just a nice person and so intelligent too. He understood how his CKD, and eventually, end stage renal failure had huge effects on all the members of our family. It was a long road to get there (to getting my MD) but I just stuck with it, took each hoop as it came, and eventually, I had graduated from med school.

4. What do you like about practicing in an underserved area?
I love helping all people but especially those that really need help, and I feel this can definitely be accomplished in Mitchell County. I also love caring for several generations of the same family. It’s fun to see my patients when I am out and about in the community. I feel like I really belong here.

5. Is your practice using any tools to address social determinates of health for patients?
We do use NC Care 360. But mostly we just help patients out on a case-by-case basis. If they need help getting a prescription, we download and help them fill out the pharmaceutical company’s assistance plan. We have helped people find jobs locally. We help with insurance questions and issues, like maybe getting a new plan that is more appropriate for them. We direct them to our local social service office for WIC, Medicaid, and food stamps services.

6. What impact has the Covid-19 pandemic had on your practice and what are some of the changes you have made.
Well, Covid brought a lot of changes. We use telehealth more easily and often to have visits with our patients. We do a lot more nurse visits for Covid and other viral illness tests. We go out to cars to test patients and even see patients at their car if needed.

7. Do you have any hobbies or activities for self-care?
I like to exercise and ride my peloton mostly nowadays. I also like to walk around the woods near my house with my family and animals (2 dogs and a cat). I love to spend time with my wonderful husband, Eric, and our 4 fun and wild children – Addison, Mason, Calvin and Emmett. I like to eat good food at home and out. Sometimes we watch TV like a new Star Wars show or a light-hearted romantic comedy. My sister and her family just moved from NJ to Mooresville, NC so I am looking forward to having her closer!


Learn more about the Community Practitioner Program, and how you can get involved, here.