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Community Health Center gets new director

February 13, 2000|By ANDREA ROWLAND

HANCOCK - Paul Capcara once rode, paddled and hiked 34 hours to get to work.

His commute is shorter now.

The former Peace Corps participant only has to drive from his home in Hedgesville, W.Va., to 130 W. High St. in Hancock to assume his duties there as executive director of the Tri-State Community Health Center.

Capcara, 35, took the post Jan. 3, replacing William Wood.

Wood built a solid organization and strong management systems, and Capcara hopes to keep the "community driven" health center on its steady course of providing low-cost, high-quality health care to the people of Hancock, he said.

"We'll continue to do the best job we can of meeting the needs of the local community," Capcara said.

Capcara holds a bachelor's degree in foreign service from Georgetown University and a bachelor's degree in nursing and a master's degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University. He decided in 1989 to join the Peace Corps, which proved to be a "wonderful and extremely difficult" experience, he said.

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After two months of training, Capcara departed for the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific to begin two years of work as a community development adviser. The trip gave him an inkling of how tough the position would be.

"By the time I got to where I was going, I was literally in the middle of nowhere, and I was exhausted," Capcara said.

The Peace Corps stint was a rich source of cross-cultural, foreign language and physical training, but Capcara soon realized that his foreign service degree was useful only in theory.

"On a practical basis, people need health care," he said. "Overseas, you're often forced to do it whether that's what you're there for or not."

So Capcara pursued an education in health care, which he then put into practice with service in Laos, Macedonia, Kosovo and several community health centers in the United States.

He and his wife, Katherine, a registered nurse, spent a year and a half working for World Vision in Southeast Asia. Capcara managed maternal and child health and a primary care project in rural Southern Laos, he said.

The Columbus, Ohio, native also served as a medical programs director for Doctors of the World in Macedonia and Kosovo, he said.

Working in the war-ravaged lands was "very intense," Capcara said.

"It was hard to see so much suffering and need and know that there was a limit to what you could do," he said.

Between his trips abroad, Capcara served as director of a community health center in New Hampshire and community health promotions specialist at a center in Franklin, W.Va., he said.

Tri-State Community Health Center is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The federally funded center accepts many insurance plans and offers eligible patients sliding-scale discounts.

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