Dr. Jennifer Harrison, D.O., and Lauren Gaines, a nurse practitioner, recently joined the Ocracoke Health Center.  Photo: C. Leinbach/Ocracoke Observer

With the departure of Dr. Erin Baker, the Ocracoke Health Center has new staff.

Lauren Gaines, a nurse practitioner, came on board in November.

Originally from Oxford, Mississippi, she finished her Master of Nursing for her Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) certification in 2013 at the University of Mississippi.

Since graduating, Gaines has worked in several states as a family nurse practice practitioner in primary care, retail health, urgent care, community health, substance use management.

As an FNP, she has spent most of her career (six years) in northern California.

She is looking forward to taking on and taking in the surroundings of this unique and rewarding opportunity to serve the community of Ocracoke Island.

While the health center does not yet have a full-time doctor, Dr. Jennifer Harrison, a D.O. who lives in Manteo, comes to the island two days a week, on Mondays and Tuesdays. Wednesdays through Fridays she is at the Engelhard Medical Center.

In addition to Gaines and Harrison, other health center staff include Angela Miller, a FNP who lives on the island and works part-time.

Jolene Jernigan, FNP, who lives in Washington, Beaufort County, and works one week a month and as needed; Amanda Cochran, R.N. and clinic nurse manager; Lucy O’Neal, R.N., Nicole O’Neal, medical assistant/certified nursing assistant; Anna Rucker, patient access; and Amy Perrin, lab technician.

The Ocracoke Health Center is still seeking a medical assistant and a front desk receptionist. See the classifieds online at www.ocracokeobserver.com for details.

The Ocracoke Health Center and Engelhard Medical Center joined forces in 2013 to become a federally qualified health center (FQHC), making the organization eligible to receive federal grants.