ECU notes: Scholars expand outreach | The Daily Reflector


Sunday, March 9, 2014

At last week’s wellness day in Rocky Mount, Willie Green compared preventive health care to looking after his car.

“You got to keep everything checked up,” Green said. “It’s like checking the air in your tires.”

Green was one of more than 20 men and women from Rocky Mount and surrounding towns who attended a health assessment recently at the Edgecombe County Health Department building. The third-annual event was led by students from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, specifically the school’s Brody Scholars.

The four-hour event included a free stroke-risk screening, blood pressure measurement, cholesterol assessment, blood glucose screening, a cardiovascular screening, dental screening and a review of risk factors. Local health center representatives were available to follow up with participants determined to be at high risk for stroke or other diseases.

“We’re trying to make it a bigger type of screening event,” Stephanie MacPherson, a Brody Scholar and fourth-year medical student, said. “Not just for stroke but to bring more resources for them to utilize.”

In Edgecombe County, the age-adjusted death rate from cerebrovascular disease from 2007 to 2011 was 95.2 deaths per 100,000 people, more than twice the rate for the state as a whole and the highest in the state, according to the N.C. State Center for Health Statistics.

In Nash County, the figure was 48.4 deaths per 100,000 residents. Rocky Mount straddles both counties.

Green, 79, said hypertension was one of the conditions he wanted to check on.

“Blood pressure has been up and down like a roller-coaster,” Green said. “I’m on about three different medicines for it.”

Nikki Wooten, chronic disease self-management program assistant with Edgecombe County Human Services, worked with the Brody Scholars to organize and carry out the event. She was pleased with the turnout considering the rainy weather and said providing dental attention was important.

“Most people don’t have dental insurance, and dental care for the un- and underinsured is hard to find,” Wooten said. “I wish we could have done more than a screening.”

Dr. Michael Scholtz, assistant dean of the ECU School of Dental Medicine, performed the dental screenings. In addition to being valuable for the public, the event also was valuable for the students.

“It’s very important for us to meet the public we’re going to be serving,” MacPherson said. “We have a mission to help eastern North Carolina, so I think it furthers the mission of our school to come out and do this and make a positive impact.”

Darci Hinnant, 33, of Rocky Mount said insurance changes have made some services too expensive for her.

“I trust the quality of the care I’m getting from the students, and I would like to learn more about how to keep myself healthy,” Hinnant said.

Presenters and sponsors of the wellness day were Vidant Edgecombe Hospital, the Brody School of Medicine, the Brody Foundation and the ECU School of Dental Medicine.

The Brody Medical Scholarship was established in 1983 by the family of J.S “Sammy” Brody. It is administered by the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation. The Brody Medical Scholarship provides full tuition and fees to incoming medical students who show high scholarship ability, leadership, a desire for service, moral character and a promise of distinction in medicine. The program shares the goals of the medical school to improve the health and quality of life for people in eastern North Carolina.


Family donates portrait of Dail House patriarch

Three grandchildren of the man who built Dail House, the official residence of East Carolina chancellors for the past 65 years, have donated a portrait of him that now hangs in the Fifth Street home.

Chancellor Steve Ballard and Nancy Ballard greeted Alex B. Dail, Anne Dail Ashe and Nancy Dail Hall for the Feb. 28 unveiling.

The portrait of the late William Haywood Dail Jr. was created in 1923 when he was 45. For many years, Dail owned Greenville’s only brick making company. Four of East Carolina’s original buildings were constructed with Dail bricks, as was the Dail House.

The university acquired the 5,100-square-foot Italianate home in 1949. John Messick was the first chancellor to live there.

The grandchildren, who all live in Virginia, return to Greenville every December to lay wreaths at the family plot in Cherry Hill Cemetery. In a letter accompanying their gift of the portrait, the Dail grandchildren said, “We cannot think of a better place for this portrait to hang.”

Haywood Dail Jr. was an avid supporter of a local bond referendum to attract the fledgling East Carolina Teacher Training School to Greenville. By his own admission given during the college’s 50th anniversary, he chewed up and swallowed some “no” paper ballots during the vote counting.

He died in 1959 at the age of 81.


East Carolina to host biodiversity symposium

The East Carolina University Center for Biodiversity will host a two-day symposium on the effect of climate change on biodiversity in the southeastern United States on Friday and Saturday in Room 307, Science and Technology Building.

Events on Friday begin at 8:30 a.m. and run through 5:30 p.m. Saturday’s events begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at noon.

Twelve scientists in the field of biodiversity and climate change will present at the symposium, including Terry Root of Stanford University, a 2007 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on the International Panel on Climate Change. Root will lead the Friday discussion on “Changing Climate: Changing Species.”

Other topics will include future climates for the southeastern United States; the responses of forests, waterways, insects, avian migration and food webs to climate change; and the short-term and long-term concerns associated with climate change.

“Our planet is currently in the midst of two very dramatic global changes – the loss of its biodiversity and a rapid change in its climate,” David R. Chalcraft, director of the Center for Biodiversity and associate professor of biology, said.

“The goals of the symposium are to advance our collective understanding of how biodiversity is responding to climate change in the southeastern U.S., and more broadly, to provide a general framework that could guide researchers, managers and policy makers. It is imperative that we understand the consequences of climate change on biodiversity if we wish to better conserve our remaining biological resources.”

More than 90 participants from various institutions across the Southeast — including universities, community colleges, state and federal agencies, private companies and politicians — will attend the two-day event. All are welcome at the free, public lectures. A full schedule and registration information is online at