Dr. Doug Briggs comes full circle in joining NeighborHealth as medical director. His family moved to Raleigh in 1981, and he graduated from UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine in 1987. After graduation, Dr. Briggs finished a family medicine residency program at UT Southwestern in Dallas in 1990. While in Dallas, he and his wife attended Dallas Theological Seminary and began planning a career serving in the developing world. From 1990 until 1995, he spent time in private practice in Dallas. He was involved in short-term trips to Guatemala, India and China.
In 1995, Dr. Briggs, his wife, Michaele, and their two small children moved to southwest China where he started a village doctor program and a walk-in clinic while working in a school for disabled adults. From 1998 until 2018 he was involved in training village doctors from the Chinese countryside, seeing patients from the poor villages, and taking part in various public health efforts to control the spread of infectious disease while working to put an end to ostracism of the sick and disabled in mainstream society.
Dr. Briggs' medical care vision focuses on caring for individuals, families, and communities in a way that integrates all aspects of health with attention to physical, mental, emotional, and societal health. His intent is to combine health restoration, illness prevention, and preservation of personal dignity and autonomy while training patients how to be more involved with their own health.
Dr Penelope Bliss is a pediatrician who has been practicing for over 25 years in Johnston County, NC. She grew up in a small community in Nebraska and received her Medical Degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She always knew she would be a pediatrician and has never wavered from that conviction. She loves caring for children of all ages, and enjoys watching them grow and change. She has special interests in asthma care, pediatric sports injury prevention and the power of reading to change lives.
Outside of work, she loves spending time with her husband and son, and is an avid marathon runner. She is currently training for the Houston marathon and can be found most mornings with running shoes on.
Stacy Boulton, MD, OB/GYN, is a Knoxville native. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee, also attending medical school at UT. She completed her residency in Ohio in 2004, working in academics at the University of Cincinnati. While there, she directed a Cincinnati clinic for pregnant women affected by substance abuse, then transitioned to private practice.
She and her husband, a Raleigh cardiothoracic surgeon, moved from Ohio to Atlanta, where Stacy remained in private practice. The family relocated to Raleigh in 2012, where Stacy has worked as a WakeMed North laborist. Dr Boulton has a passion for ensuring quality prenatal and gynecological care is accessible to all. The Boulton family regularly travels to a hospital in Kenya where Stacy and her husband provide relief support to missionary & Kenyan physicians, as well as participate in physician training. In her free time she loves to be outside (cycling, hiking, climbing, camping) and spending time with her husband and four sons.
Dr. Ron Halbrooks was born and raised in Texas and received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University. Staying in-state for medical school, he attended The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston. After graduation, he went on to the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center for three years of training in Internal Medicine.
After completing his education, Dr. Halbrooks moved to Ethiopia to work with the Ethiopian people in the midst of a famine. While there, he met his future wife, Mary, and they were married in Australia. After finishing his work in Ethiopia, Dr. Halbrooks and his wife returned to the States, moving to Durham where he worked for Durham Medical Center and later Duke Health Systems. Yet, with a heart to again help those overseas, he with his wife and four daughters moved to China where he worked in a Chinese hospital.
When they came back to the United States six years later, they settled in Durham again and Dr. Halbrooks returned to work at Duke Health Systems in Internal Medicine. Since returning, he has also continued to work with Chinese hospitals helping them with Primary Care, and has helped the North Carolina Baptist Men in developing dental buses and prevention buses that screen for diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol.
When Dr. Halbrooks joined NeighborHealth Center in the fall of 2021, he said
“Having worked with the underserved in Ethiopia, China and in North Carolina, I was drawn to NeighborHealth to help provide care to this group of people who so often lack adequate, quality health care. I am so glad to be able to work here at this time.”
Betsy Joyner grew up in Nashville, North Carolina and received a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology from North Carolina State University. She attended Elon University where she completed her degree in Physician Assistant Studies. Prior to joining NeighborHealth, she worked in Endocrinology.
Betsy enjoys spending time with her husband and son. She is passionate about ensuring everyone has access to quality health care.
Shannon was born in Providence, Rhode Island and spent most of her childhood in the Ohio Valley. She is a 2010 graduate of Johnston Community College and a 2017 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing. Shannon completed her graduate training at Georgetown University in 2020, earning a Master of Science in Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner with honors. She has spent the majority of her nursing career as a critical care nurse providing nursing care for critically ill patients in rural community hospitals. In addition to critical care nursing, she served a nurse leader for several years.
Shannon’s passion as a family nurse practitioner is striving to improve access to high quality healthcare for impoverished, underserved, and historically marginalized populations. Providing culturally competent healthcare is a priority, as she often provides care for refugees from numerous countries. Showing the love of Christ through caring for others has been paramount to her practice.
Shannon and her husband Sascha live in North Raleigh with their fur babies. She has two adult children and is a member of the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral. Shannon enjoys traveling, hiking, bike riding, and visiting family and friends.
While born and raised in North Texas, the desire to meet new people and explore new places has been consistent all her life. Her college studies took her out of Texas to Cedarville University in Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's in nursing. During those college years, she developed a love for different cultures and people through mission trips all over the world. After graduation, she worked as a nurse in a neuro ICU. In 2012, she graduated from Baylor University as a Family Nurse Practitioner. In her free time Allison also enjoys reading, hiking, and traveling on medical mission trips.
Since becoming a nurse practitioner, Allison has thoroughly enjoyed working in family medicine. She enjoys seeing patients of all ages, children through geriatrics. She delights in hearing each of her patient’s stories. Allison desires to be a partner in her patient’s health, coming alongside to teach, encourage, and address barriers to a healthy lifestyle. Her aim is to provide holistic care, by addressing the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs with dignity and respect to each and every patient. She was thrilled to join NeighborHealth Center in the summer of 2022.
Rachel Lehman is a Nurse Practitioner who joined NeighborHealth Center in 2019. She received her undergraduate degree from Wheaton College. In 1999, she graduated with her master’s in nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner training from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. While attending Vanderbilt, she was awarded a National Health Service Corps scholarship and went on to serve at a network of rural health clinics in Iowa. Over the last 20 years, Rachel has enjoyed working in a variety of health care settings including family practice, pediatric pulmonology, community health, Health Care for the Homeless, and Federally Qualified Health Centers. Together with her husband and two children, she also spent seven life-changing years in Southeast Asia working to improve access to high-quality medical care.
Rachel strongly values compassion, empathy, teamwork, and holistic care and is passionate about every person having access to affordable, quality health care. In her free time, she loves to hike, read, travel, and run.
Camieko Luck is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner. She is a Virginia native, and has lived in North Carolina since 2018. She originally graduated from Radford University in 2012 with her bachelor’s in nursing. As a registered nurse, she has worked in various settings to include; Med-Surg, renal, outpatient dialysis, PACU, and mother/baby. Camieko graduated from Winston Salem State University's MSN, FNP program with honors in May of 2023. Her goal as a provider is to "meet patients where they are," working with them as a team to address and improve their health care goals, using evidence-based knowledge and education. She joined the NeighborHealth team in November, 2023.
In her free time, she thoroughly enjoys spending time with family and traveling. Her favorite Bible verse is Hebrews 11:1; “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Hermes Silva is a board-certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner originally from the Texas Gulf Coast. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. After serving on active duty for nine years, he chose to pursue a vocation in nursing. He earned his Master of Science in Nursing degree at Vanderbilt University.
After several years of moving wherever the military called, Hermes and his family are excited to call North Carolina their home. Hermes is active in his parish's community outreach initiatives. He is involved in his children's extracurricular activities like cross country and equitation.
Hermes is thrilled to be a part of the NeighborHealth Center (NHC) team. He believes parenting is one of the greatest mission God bestows; he knows from experience that access to quality, affordable, healthcare is a vital component of this mission. Hermes thanks you for choosing him as one your family's pediatric healthcare providers.
Grace Garach grew up in Clinton, North Carolina, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She subsequently worked as a Medical Assistant in orthopedics before completing her degree in Physician Assistant Studies at Duke University.
Grace spent a summer during college in Thailand on a mission trip. This experience fueled a passion to learn more about other cultures and a desire to reflect Christ through service. In her free time, Grace enjoys spending time with her family, exercising, and baking cookies. She is excited to provide quality healthcare to every patient as part of the NeighborHealth team.
Yaying received her undergraduate degree from Emory University. She moved to Durham NC to attend Duke’s Physician Assistant Program and subsequently met her husband during her studies. Prior to joining NHC, she worked in an urgent care setting. Yaying is passionate about helping people navigate our complex healthcare system and ensuring access to good care. Yaying enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and traveling.
Onitisha V. Anders is a board-certified women's health nurse practitioner and certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner. She graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham's MSN-Adult/Women's Health NP program in 2012. She has worked in several areas of nursing including Med-surg, ER, OR and Labor and Delivery. As a women's health nurse practitioner, she has worked in family planning, low-risk OB, urogynecology and infertility. She is passionate about women's health and being able to educate women to help them make informed decisions regarding their health. Onitisha has a BSN from the University of Detroit Mercy and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Davenport University.
She is excited to be a part of the NeighborHealth family and joined in June 2023.
In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with ministries who serve in their communities and are impacting change for future generations. Her favorite verse is "I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me."
Cheryl Herndon DeFrank, a Raleigh native, joined NeighborHealth Center in October 2023. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she graduated with a Batchelor of Science in Nursing as well as a Master's of Science in Nursing/Adult Nurse Practitioner degree. Later in her career, she also completed a post Master's Family Nurse Practitioner program at the University of Cincinnati. Before coming to NHC, Cheryl was blessed to spend 23 years as a Nurse Practitioner in Oxford, NC, where she provided primary and Ob/GYN care to women in all stages of life. While there, she developed her core belief that personalized, equitable, and compassionate care in a supportive and nurturing environment cultivates optimal health outcomes.
Cheryl is a dedicated advocate for her patients and their families and is committed to the best practices of obstetrical and gynecological care. Her special interests include contraceptive counselling, STD prevention and treatment, cervical and breast cancer screening, treatment of menstrual irregularities, pelvic pain, and menopause symptom management. In her free time, she enjoys fellowship with her family and friends, traveling to the beach and mountains, reading, and when she's lucky enough, roller skating with her 3 children.
Originally from Washington State, Chelsey spent the majority of her childhood years in Virginia and earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Mary Washington in 2004. After 4 years working in cancer research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she returned to the classroom at East Carolina University and was awarded a Master of Science in Nursing, with a concentration in Midwifery in 2015. Her nursing career has focused almost exclusively on Maternal/Infant Health, with 10 years spent in Neonatal Intensive Care, Newborn Nursery, and Mother-Baby in the hospital setting, as well as 2 years in out-of-hospital birth. She was immersed into the world of public healthcare during her first job as a midwife with the local health department prenatal/family planning clinics, and it was there that her passion and desire to serve the underserved really grew. She joined the NeighborHealth Center team in 2020.
Chelsey appreciates the continuity of care afforded by her practice, as this allows her to build meaningful relationships with her patients. It is such a reward to support women through life’s journey, from preconception, to pregnancy, postpartum, contraceptive care, and a return to well women visits. Her professional interests include teen pregnancy, culturally competent prenatal/postpartum education, and breastfeeding support. In her free time, you can find her enjoying the outdoors with her husband, 3 sons, and 2 doodle pups.
Letoria is a North Carolina native, born and raised in Winston Salem. She received her bachelors degree in Recreational Therapy from Winston Salem State Univeristy in 2003, and her Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling in 2017. She received the Mary McCloud Bethume Medal of Education and also was inducted into the Epsilon Tau Sigma Honor Society graduating with honors in 2017.
She has worked in the mental health field since 2000 and enjoys helping others. She discovered psychotherapy was her passion after years of working with the youth. She is passionate about making mental health services available for everyone.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, making candles, and spending time with her family.
Elise grew up primarily in Kenya, East Africa. She has two adopted children and has lived in/visited several states and countries. She earned her Master of Arts Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from George Fox University in 2004. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in MFT from Virginia Tech in 2008.
Elise's work experience includes teaching, research and therapy as an associate professor, working in an integrated care setting, as well as working in child centered therapy clinics. Elise is passionate about providing behavioral health care in a way that promotes hope and whole person health.
In her free time she loves spending time with her family, being outdoors, and running.
As a military kid, Meagan grew up with several hometowns, but she has called North Carolina home for nearly ten years. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology: Pre-Counseling in 2014 and went on to get a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from East Carolina University in 2017. Meagan's work experience includes serving in rural health clinics where she fell in love with integrating behavioral health care in the primary care setting. She is passionate about providing easy access to behavioral health care services and doing so in a way that involves the patient and promotes whole-person health.
In her free time, Meagan enjoys spending time reading at the beach or the mountains with her husband. She joined the NeighborHealth Center team in January 2021.
Dr. Fernando R. Puente, M.D., a native of Guatemala, Central America, moved to Raleigh from New York City at the age of 17 and graduated from Broughton High School in 1971. He is board-certified in dermatology and family practice.
Dr. Puente established Raleigh Dermatology Associates, P.A., in 1990 and began practicing general and cosmetic dermatology at that time. He received his B.A., Master of Science and M.D. from East Carolina University, then completed a family practice residency at the University of South Florida’s College of Medicine and a dermatology residency at the King-Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he served as chief resident.
Dr. Puente’s expanding and diversified practice afforded him the opportunity to research and design a skin rejuvenation center during the 1990s. He opened Skin Solutions in the spring of 1995, and later renamed it Skin & Cosmetic Solutions. Dr. Puente continues to enrich his medical education by attending American Academy of Dermatology conferences and meetings, and training other physicians in the Tumescent Liposuction technique.
Dr. Puente enjoys photography, hiking, cycling, swimming and distance running. Each September he and his wife, Carol, Associate Director of Skin & Cosmetic Solutions, cycle 150 to 200 miles in the MS 150 Bike Tour, a two-day cycling event in New Bern that raises money for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis.
Dr. Puente has been running in marathons since 1976. In 1979 he began competing in the New York City, Los Angeles and Boston Marathons, which he has competed in almost every year since then. Carol completed her first marathon in 2004, and in November 2005 the Puentes finished the New York City Marathon together. Dr. Puente recently added another hobby to his list of interests: triathlons. He has completed eleven full Ironman events, finishing his first full Ironman Triathlon in July 2005 in Lake Placid, New York. He has now completed 92 Marathons, 11 Iron Man Triathlons, and 7 Ultra Marathons.
The Puentes have been married since 1977 and have three children: Lauren, Eric, and Alex.
Kelly was born and raised in eastern North Carolina. She attended NC State and Meredith College for her undergraduate nutrition degree. After getting married and moving to Northwest Ohio, she completed her Master's in Food and Nutrition and dietetic internship at Bowling Green State University. She worked as a clinical dietitian at a level one trauma hospital in Toledo, Ohio. She got to the chance to move back to Raleigh about 10 years ago and has spent time teaching college nutrition courses, seeing nutrition patients in private practice and volunteering at the Durham Rescue Mission. In her free time, Kelly enjoys running for exercise and spending time with family and friends.