Supporters of the children’s hospital in Greenville are encouraging folks to celebrate Fat Tuesday at the International House of Pancakes.
National Pancake Day runs today from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at IHOP. The restaurant will offer guests a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes and ask customers to make a donation to the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center.
It is the ninth consecutive year that IHOP restaurants nationwide have participated in the effort, which aims to raise $3 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals programs.
National Pancake Day coincides with the Mardi Gras celebration of Fat Tuesday, the last day before the Lenten season. The restaurant said the tradition of eating pancakes prior to Lent dates back several centuries to when the English prepared for fasting until Easter.
Strict rules prohibited the eating of dairy products during Lent, so pancakes were made to use up the supply of eggs, milk, butter and other dairy products.
Since the inception of National Pancake Day in 2006, IHOP has raised nearly $13 million and given away more than 22 million pancakes to support charities in the communities where it operates, the restaurant reported.
Greenville’s IHOP is at 3010 S. Evans St. in the University Commons shopping center.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Joab Thomas, who served as president of the University of Alabama for seven years in the 1980s, died Monday at age 81, officials said
As president, Thomas helped triple research funding, raise admissions and curriculum standards and build economic development initiatives, University of Alabama officials said in a statement. His cause of death was unclear Monday evening.
“Dr. Thomas had a pivotal impact on The University of Alabama at a critical time in our history,” University of Alabama President Judy Bonner said in a statement. “His commitment to enhancing academic excellence, supporting and encouraging faculty research, and promoting economic development efforts in West Alabama and throughout the state launched the University on a path that we continue to follow in many ways today.”
University of Alabama System Chancellor Robert Witt said Thomas was at the forefront of higher education.
Before becoming president at Alabama, Thomas was an assistant professor in the biology department, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, dean of student development and vice president for student affairs. Thomas left for North Carolina in 1976 and returned to serve as UA president in 1981.
Thomas, of Tuscaloosa, also served as president of Pennsylvania State University and as chancellor of North Carolina State University. Officials at those universities praised Thomas’ dedication to students and faculty.
“As Chancellor at NC State, Joab Thomas left an indelible mark on the university,” North Carolina State University Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a statement. “His steady leadership, for example, led to the creation of NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, which has grown into one of the top such schools in the nation.”
Penn State President Rodney Erickson called Thomas a brilliant scholar, a visionary leader and a true gentleman. After resigning as UA president in 1988, Thomas worked as a faculty member for two years at Penn State before becoming president there.
“During Joab’s tenure as president of Penn State, he led the effort to strengthen undergraduate education; he initiated the largest building program in the University’s history; and his focus on fiscal responsibility resulted in more efficient resource allocation, as well as enhanced philanthropy and corporate partnerships,” Erickson said in a statement.
A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at Christ Episcopal Church in Tuscaloosa. University of Alabama officials say memorial gifts may be made to the Joab Thomas Scholarship at The University of Alabama, the Joab and Marly Thomas Graduate Fellowship at The Pennsylvania State University, or to The North Carolina State University Foundation.
TAYLORSVILLE, Ky. — Dr. Sven Jonsson, a primary care physician in this rural community, is seeing a steady tide of new patients under President Obama’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act. And so far, it is working out for him. His employer, a big hospital system, provides expensive equipment, takes care of bureaucratic chores and has buffered him from the turmoil of his rapidly changing business.
“This is just a much saner place for me right now,” said Dr. Jonsson, 52, who left private practice to work for the system, Baptist Health, in 2012. “I’m probably going to live another five years.”
About 25 miles away in the more affluent suburb of Crestwood, Dr. Tracy Ragland, 46, an independent primary care physician, is more anxious about the future of her small practice. The law is bringing new regulations and payment rates that she says squeeze self-employed doctors. She cherishes the autonomy of private practice and speaks darkly of the rush of independent physicians into hospital networks, which she sees as growing monopolies.
“The possibility of not being able to survive in a private practice, especially primary care, is very real,” she said.
Dr. Jonsson and Dr. Ragland represent two poles of that primary care system. Both live and work on the outskirts of Louisville, with the patience required of family practitioners who spend long days troubleshooting routine problems like back pain and acid reflux. But the similarities in their practices end there.
About 265,000 residents of Kentucky have signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act, and most have been found eligible for Medicaid, which the state expanded under the law. Primary care offices are supposed to be their point of entry into the health care system, providing the preventive care and upkeep that are crucial to improving the nation’s health.
As an independent physician, Dr. Ragland must carefully devise strategies to keep her three-person practice afloat amid rising overhead, flat or dropping reimbursement rates, and new federal rules, many of them related to the health care law.
She said that she embraced the goal of extending health coverage to far more Americans, but that Medicaid paid too poorly for her to treat any of the new enrollees. And while she is accepting some of the private plans sold through Kentucky’s new online insurance exchange, she has rejected others — again, because she considers the payment too low.
Only about 40 percent of family doctors and pediatricians remain independent, according to the American Medical Association — and many, including Dr. Ragland, feel that harsh economic winds that were already pushing against them have been accelerated by the Affordable Care Act.
“We’re in an unknown time,” she said.
Dr. Jonsson is less mired in the daily worries of running a medical business. His hospital system, with far more bargaining power than a private practice, negotiates with insurers on his behalf, pays his overhead and malpractice insurance, and handles much of the ever-expanding paperwork. It provides him with an X-ray machine and a costly system for keeping digital patient records, a move encouraged by the new law. He has been able to take his first long vacations in years, including a recent month in his native South Africa.
“It’s that stability factor,” Dr. Jonsson said. “People know they can get a certain amount of salary, and the hospital’s not going anywhere, you know?”
Since the passage of the act in 2010, hospital systems have been acquiring physician practices to shore up their market positions and form networks to take advantage of incentives under the new law. For now, Baptist is taking a financial hit by putting so many doctors on staff: Moody’s Investors Service downgraded its credit rating in September, citing “increased losses from an aggressive and rapid physician employment strategy.”
Baptist enlisted about a dozen of its primary care providers in the Louisville region to take on new Medicaid patients, officials there said, both to get more paying customers in the door and, as a nonprofit system with a stated charitable mission, to help more of Kentucky’s poor get medical care under the law.
“We all have to sort of dig in and work hard and see what happens,” Dr. Jonsson said.
Dr. Ragland is both a general internist and a pediatrician, treating infants to patients in their 90s. Her office is on a winding road lined with horse pastures and upscale subdivisions, with a big sun-splashed waiting room and a Pilates studio next door. She grew up on a farm and does not bother wearing a white coat.
One Monday this month, she saw 15 patients at an unhurried pace, partly because she had some no-shows because of bitterly cold weather.
There was Marcia Robinson, 54, who learned she had shingles in December and was seeking follow-up care before a Caribbean vacation; Dylan Waddle, 10, who had a bad cough; and Margaret Smith, 77, who was dealing with a painful wisdom tooth.
“She’s very attentive,” Mrs. Smith, a retired piano teacher, said of Dr. Ragland. “She doesn’t just cut you off.”
Dr. Ragland has seen a handful of newly insured patients since Jan. 1, but most of her adult patients have insurance through their jobs or Medicare. Some have switched to the new private exchange plans that her office takes — all except those offered by Humana, a large insurer based in Louisville, which she said would have reimbursed 20 percent less than what her office gets for Humana plans outside the exchange. Still, she does not hesitate to recommend the exchange to her patients if she thinks it could help them.
Halfway through her day, Dr. Ragland walked into an exam room and found Aline Burgin, 61, waiting for her. “I haven’t seen you in a while!” she said, noting that Ms. Burgin’s last visit was two years earlier. Ms. Burgin, who works the overnight shift at a nursing home, said she had temporarily dropped her employer-sponsored insurance because it was too expensive.
“It’s $170 out of my paycheck every two weeks,” she said.
“Did you go to the exchange to see if you could qualify for some help?” Dr. Ragland asked.
Ms. Burgin agreed to take the phone number for Kynect, the state exchange. Then she lingered in the exam room, telling Dr. Ragland about her sister’s recent death from emphysema and the guilt she felt about not being with her that day. Dr. Ragland listened for nearly 10 minutes, nodding her head and saying, “Mm-hmm.”
By the time they were finished, 30 minutes had passed — 10 minutes longer than the usual appointment time. It is that kind of flexibility that Dr. Ragland said she treasured about private practice.
“Some patients need five minutes; some patients need all kinds of time and follow-up,” she said. “I never want to be in a situation where my employer tells me I need to be more productive or I’m going to have a severe cut in my pay.”
The next morning, Dr. Ragland and her partners had their monthly meeting with a private consultant they hired recently to take over their billing and help them maximize reimbursements. They talked about their effort to recruit a fourth partner, which has stalled partly because so many young doctors now prefer to work for hospitals. And they examined spreadsheets showing their productivity over the previous month, including how many patients each doctor had seen and how much they had billed for each visit. Productivity was down because of harsh weather.
“I want to rent a truck and pick up patients and say, ‘Go to the doctor!’ ” said the consultant, January Taylor-Mills.
One investment Dr. Ragland has delayed making is in a sophisticated electronic records system; for now the doctors are using what Ms. Taylor-Mills called a “very basic” model that is essentially free but not as comprehensive as those used by hospital systems.
As a survival tactic, the practice has joined an “accountable care organization” — a network of physicians, in this case independent, who coordinate care for a group of patients. These networks, encouraged by the new law, reap financial rewards if they improve patients’ health and spend less doing it. Dr. Ragland said her accountable care organization is eager to prove that it can succeed “at probably lower cost than a lot of the hospital systems.”
Ms. Taylor-Mills asked the partners if they were aware that under the Affordable Care Act, primary care doctors could temporarily get reimbursed for seeing Medicaid patients at much higher Medicare rates. The doctors were unmoved; the law raised the rates only for 2013 and 2014.
“It’ll go back down,” said one, Dr. Tony Karem. “It’s all a big game, I think.”
An Influx of Patients
In his Baptist Medical Associates office across from a drab shopping center in Taylorsville, Dr. Jonsson chugged through 30 patient visits one Wednesday in January. He hustled between exam rooms carrying a laptop equipped with voice recognition software, provided by Baptist, that allows him to dictate notes into patients’ digital records.
“There’s no question I have more time,” he said, comparing his life now to when he owned a private practice. But, he added, “I work hard when I’m here.”
For now, hospitals generally provide doctors like him with a baseline salary and potential bonuses tied to productivity — a system likely to change as the Affordable Care Act calls for basing payment on results instead of volume.
His office is utilitarian: a single long hallway lined with exam rooms that Dr. Jonsson, a nurse practitioner and a physician assistant shuttle between. In the waiting room, fliers for other Baptist services — weight-loss surgery, addiction treatment, home health aides — share rack space with magazines like Field and Stream.
Dr. Jonsson, a competitive kayaker who advocates a plant-based diet to anyone who will listen, quickly dispensed with a back pain case and a follow-up visit for chest pain that seemed to be acid reflux. There were also patients with leg cramps, obsessive compulsive disorder, pneumonia and rheumatoid arthritis, most of whom had followed Dr. Jonsson when he went to work for Baptist — or as Steven Pippin, the chest pain patient, put it, “when Obamacare came along.”
Down the hall, Melissa Thomas, the physician assistant, was examining Craig Dooley, a newly insured patient who had limped into Dr. Jonsson’s office with a catalog of ailments, including pain in his knees and shoulders. A physical exam, his first in more than six years, turned up other concerns: possible heart and prostate problems that called for referrals to specialists. He had traveled about 20 miles from Louisville, he said, because he could not find a doctor who would take his newly acquired Medicaid closer to home.
“I wouldn’t normally come all this way,” said Mr. Dooley, 56, who left with referrals to an orthopedist, a urologist and a cardiologist, and an appointment for an overdue colonoscopy. “But I can’t complain. This is good insurance, and I’m overjoyed by having it.”
Dr. Jonsson is accepting new Medicaid patients under the Affordable Care Act because his rural practice has room to grow, said Donna Ghobadi, an assistant vice president at Baptist. In particular, Ms. Thomas and Darline Caldwell, the nurse practitioner, are still building their patient base; Baptist considers these types of providers, who have less training but work with doctors as a team, crucial to taking on new patients in the Affordable Care Act era.
“It’s a way to expand capacity without maybe so much the cost of a physician,” Ms. Ghobadi said.
Dr. Jonsson owned his practice in Louisville for a decade — and did not accept Medicaid, for the same reasons that Dr. Ragland generally does not — but sold it in 2010, months after the Affordable Care Act passed. He did so, he said, expressly out of concern that the law and related requirements were about to ratchet up the pressures and expense of private practice. In particular, he dreaded having to buy and learn how to use an electronic records system, not only because such systems are expensive but because doctors’ productivity slows down while they are learning the computerized systems, threatening tight margins.
“I’m not sure how I could have done it,” Dr. Jonsson said.
When he is done seeing patients, he tends to the grapevines he recently planted on his property with plans to make wine.
“I don’t have to go look at anything related to the finances of the office,” he said. “I can actually go dig a hole on my farm.”
Support for Doctors
On a recent blue-sky morning, Dr. Ragland drove to the State Capitol in Frankfort with a mission: proposing that Kentucky provide scholarships to medical and nursing students who agree to practice primary care in underserved areas for at least three years. She is on the board of the Greater Louisville Medical Society — part of an attempt to become “more outward-looking,” she said — and wants to offer ideas for easing a worsening shortage of primary care doctors.
She sat down with State Representative Larry Clark, the Kentucky House speaker pro tem, and State Representative Jimmie Lee, who oversees the House human services budget. Mr. Lee peered at her, arms crossed, as she made her pitch. Money was tight, he told her, and a new bill that would give experienced nurse practitioners more leeway to practice independently — being voted on by a committee that day — would likely do more to address access issues because there would never be enough primary care doctors.
“I’ve got seven doctors in my family, and there’s not one of them who’s a family practice doctor,” Mr. Lee said. “I’ll tell you why: because they don’t make any money.”
Dr. Ragland smiled, resolute. “Listen, I’m pro-nurse practitioner — very much,” she said. “There’s no question we have to have them, but until we supplement their training they can’t substitute for us, representative.”
The lawmakers suggested a second meeting with members of Gov. Steven L. Beshear’s administration and ushered Dr. Ragland out. She made her way to the building’s cafeteria, where a group of nurse practitioners were celebrating the unanimous committee vote in favor of the bill expanding their authority.
“I don’t get the emphasis on primary care is so important, but primary care physicians aren’t,’ ” she said, sitting across the room from the group.
Over the following weeks, the nurse practitioner bill won passage in the Legislature, and Governor Beshear signed it into law. Dr. Ragland had another meeting with the lawmakers, who agreed to keep discussing her proposal and perhaps bring some version of it to the Legislature next year.
In Taylorsville, the new patients are still coming. Dr. Jonsson’s practice has seen dozens of them — even though he left on Jan. 17 for five weeks in South Africa, where he helped at a remote clinic. While he was gone, Ms. Caldwell, the nurse practitioner, and Ms. Thomas, the physician assistant, handled the patient flow.
He had never been able to take more than a week off in private practice, he said — “if you did, you really didn’t earn anything that month because it all went to overhead” — and Baptist’s willingness to let him do so was another source of new happiness. The typical fears about hospital employment — pressure to refer only to other Baptist doctors, for example, or to bring in as much revenue as possible — have not burdened him, he said, at least not yet.
“I don’t know where I’ll be in 10 years,” he said, acknowledging that the uncertainty pervading his profession may lead him down yet another path. “Hopefully I’ll be here and hopefully I’ll be happy, right?”
Kim Kenyon, a QAR (Queen Anne’s Revenge) conservator, explains the process of how one of the anchors taken from Blackbeard’s ship is being cleaned and restored at a conservation lab in Greenville. The archaeologists who have brought up tons of artifacts from Blackbeard’s flagship are opening up the warehouses and conservation labs where the artifacts are being treated, examined and preserved to the public for guided tours. The tours are slated to start Tuesday. CHRIS SEWARD — email@example.com
By Jay Price
March 2, 2014
GREENVILLE — Generally, there are few rewards in concretions – concrete-like lumps of mineral buildup – when they’re pulled from the sea floor.Unless they’re packed with an unpredictable jumble of Blackbeard’s stuff, such as grenades, cannonballs, navigational instruments, pewter plates, coins and broken gin flasks. And they’re even more intriguing when their contents is in various stages of being examined, cleaned, preserved and documented.This week, the public will start getting behind-the-scenes access to the state facility where the concretions from the iconic villain’s flagship yield their secrets. There, a car-sized anchor is waiting patiently in a tank of water for cleaning, and cannons packed with gunpowder and iron balls by pirates 300 years ago are gently unloaded. The ship captained by the legendary Edward Teach (or Thatch), fresh from a blockade of Charleston, went aground off Beaufort in 1718.
The Queen Anne’s Revenge conservation lab, on a small satellite campus of East Carolina University a little more than an hour east of Raleigh, will offer regular monthly tours to the public starting Tuesday, plus various other opportunities to visit.
“We’ve been accumulating so much material down there that we decide it’s time to start showing it to people,” said Stephen R. Claggett, the state archaeologist. “And what they do there is really interesting, all the behind-scenes-stuff that’s so important.”
The lab is where the artifacts, from cannons (one with loops of rope still tied on) and huge anchors to medical instruments and tiny glass beads, are taken after they’re raised from the wreck site. Their encrustations are gently removed, mainly with tiny, air-powered chisels, and the destructive salt leached out of metal, something that takes years for cannons.
It’s also where details about each artifact are meticulously documented, with measurements, drawings and photographs, and where the data about them is compiled.
The wreck was found in 1996 by a private research company just offshore near Beaufort and Atlantic Beach in about 25 feet of water. Archaeologists have been gradually recovering the artifacts from it, and plan to bring up the entire wreck eventually.
The state maritime museum in Beaufort is officially designated as the repository for the ship’s artifacts. It houses a modest number of them now, and eventually its expected to expand to accommodate more.
But many of the more than 250,000 artifacts raised so far are still at the lab, some of them already cleaned up and ready for display, but until now out of the public eye. Among them are 16 of the 22 cannons recovered so far, one of the largest collections of cannons ever raised from a single shipwreck. And there are at least eight more on the sea bed that will eventually come to the lab.
The lab is part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources’ Underwater Archaeology Branch. Much of its operating costs, though, and costs for the annual recovery efforts at the wreck site are paid for by a nonprofit group called the Friends of the Queen Anne’s Revenge. Entry fees from the tours will go to that group.
About 60 percent of the wreckage has been recovered, and the archaeologists hope to finish up the rest – mainly the bow area – in the next couple of years, said Kim Kenyon, one of the conservators who will lead the tours.
From the beginning, the public has been able to get a sense of the recovery via media reports, and it also has been able to see some of the cleaned and preserved artifacts once they go on display. But the biggest part of the Queen Anne’s Revenge project went on behind closed doors, at least until now, Kenyon said.
“We’re such a closed lab, and we wanted to be able to share what goes on here,” she said. “You see the recovery, you see the display, but we wanted to show what happens in between.”
What goes on at the lab is an unusual blend of science, technology, scholarship, art and plain hard work. And it’s a huge undertaking.
Beside the lab there is a warehouse that’s, coincidentally, about the length of the pirate ship. It’s jammed with nearly waist-high tanks containing solutions of water and chemicals that stabilize the condition of large artifacts and concretions until they can be cleaned. Large metal pieces such as the cannons remain in the tank after cleaning and electrical charges are used to drive the salt out of the metal, a process that takes years. Otherwise, when the artifact is dried, the salt would form crystals that would destroy the artifact.
The cannons and other large objects are cleaned in the warehouse. Others are brought into the main lab, which is the size of a large car repair shop, complete with bay doors.
There is also an industrial-size X-ray that can see through the cement-like concretions so that the conservators can tell what’s in them, and how much of the mineral coating they can remove, and where they can remove it, without damaging the artifact, Kenyon said.
Visitors will tour the warehouse, where they can see the largest anchor brought up so far, a 3,000-pound giant, and most of the recovered cannons.
And in the lab, they will see where and how the conservators work, and several arrays of cleaned artifacts will be set out for them to check out, perhaps years before they’re shown in a museum. These include pewter dinnerware, bar shot and cannonballs, navigational instruments and, perhaps the scariest thing on the entire ship, a pipe-like implement used for pirate enemas, perhaps the catalyst for the first utterance of the exclamation “Arrrrr!”
The conservators leading the tours will answer questions and explain the various conservation processes.
“It’s pretty neat stuff,” Claggett said. “I think of it as kind of this cross between a machine shop and of a chemistry lab, where they’re doing all this wizardry with chemicals and electricity.”
If you goThe Queen Anne’s Revenge conservation lab is just off U.S. 264 a few miles west of Greenville.There will be several kinds of tours, including those for the public twice a day on the first Tuesday of each month. Reservations are required and admission varies, but is free for educational groups and members of the nonprofit Friends of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, which raises money to support the recovery efforts and to run the lab. There will also be a free open house in April.
For more information on the tours, go to: www.qaronline.org
East Carolina University Sophomore Grace Turner, center, walks with her two best friends J.J. Hughes, left, and Megan DeMarco outside of Mendenhall Student Center. Turner helped organize the Take Back the Night event called Walk a Mile in Her Shoes after being a victim of sexual assault in hopes to inform other victims. Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. (Aileen Devlin/ The Daily Reflector)
By Jane Dail
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Educating others has long been a passion for one East Carolina University student, though the topics she wants to teach others about would change after surviving a harrowing incident last semester.
Grace Turner, a Raleigh native, is a sophomore at ECU double majoring in English education and religious studies.
She also is survivor of sexual assault.
The sophomore still is healing and wants to use her experience to educate others who have been through what she has or to prevent it from happening to others.
She will be speaking at Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, a Take Back the Night event sponsored by her sorority, Gamma Sigma Sigma, the campus’ Office of Victims’ Services and the Greenville Police Department. The event, which starts at 6 p.m. today at the top of College Hill, has a goal of eliminating sexual violence and educating other victims about resources at the university and in the community.
Rosalie Mackiewicz, a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma, said the purpose of the event is personal for her sorority.
“We have some survivors within our sorority,” Mackiewicz said. “It’s giving them a lot of support. … They’re able to work through it.”
Turner’s goal is to have 30 men wearing high heels at the event, and they have been recruiting. She said some family members of survivors will attend and wear high heels.
“The heels they hurt, obviously,” Turner said. “It’s to show what women walk through. … It symbolizes the pain. It brings into light and to show support that there are men that support and are willing to stand up for girls and be advocates for them.”
Turner said she will talk about the healing process, the support she has received and how her experience has affected her.
“My desire is to educate people so they wouldn’t have to go through the things that I went through, because some education could really prevent that as well as create an environment on ECU’s campus that will be supportive for survivors so that they don’t feel isolated or (that) they can’t come forward,” Turner said.
Turner said she wants to help educate others on what constitutes sexual assault and clear up misconceptions.
She said perpetrators of sexual violence often are pictured as strangers, though the majority are acquaintances, dates or even significant others.
Turner said her assailant was an acquaintance, which she finds more frightening.
“That person earned your trust, and that’s something that I find to be pretty scary,” she said.
Turner also said people often blame the victim, especially when alcohol is involved.
She said society teaches women not to get raped rather than teaching men to not rape, which does not make sense if equated to other dangerous behavior, such as drunk driving.
“Suppose if we taught our society, ‘Don’t get hit by a drunk driver,’” she said. “… But if you don’t teach ‘Don’t drink and drive,’ and if you get hit by a drunk driver, it’s your fault. … It’s instilled in us that we have to avoid (sexual assault), and if it happens, we were being careless. That’s how the blaming and the fault and the guilt come to be.”
Turner considers herself blessed after the support she has received from friends, family and law enforcement.
“I was shown a lot of support and told from the very beginning I was being taken seriously,” she said. “But from other stories I have heard, that is not always the case.”
Turner said she still is learning the ways her assault has affected her and still recovering, and she hopes to share her experience.
“I’m proud of how far I’ve come,” she said. “… I’m not afraid to tell people that it happened to me, but it’s not about me.
“I’m doing this event for the people that either haven’t been through it yet and can get an education or the people that are going through it but afraid to talk to someone because they don’t have the support,” Turner said.
Chapman’s ultimate goal is to be a family physician.
“Learning how to communicate with people is a huge part of teaching and being a doctor in the future,” Chapman said. “Nutrition is a vital part of preventative medicine in general and that’s why I’m studying it here.”
Chapman was one of 19 freshmen who entered ECU in August as EC Scholars — the most prestigious academic scholarship program the university offers. Service is integral to the scholars program.
“Tori is a model student in the Honors College in that she is already providing a positive impact in eastern North Carolina. Her contributions of leadership and service reflect the spirit of all honors students as they seek to replicate the generosity of those who have provided critical scholarship dollars to support their education,” Kevin Baxter, associate dean of the Honors College and interim director of admissions at ECU, said.
Growing up in Sylva, a small town in western North Carolina, Chapman said the class, and other service projects, have helped her learn about the needs of the greater ECU community.
Alumni networking breakfast
ECU alumni are invited to a networking breakfast in Greenville on March 11, hosted by the East Carolina Alumni Association.
This event is part of a series of networking events to be held across the Pirate Nation this spring. Attendees can tap into the Pirate alumni network and interact with East Carolina professionals who are leaders in their industries and communities.
The featured alumnus will be Mark Garner, vice president of Rivers & Associates, a civil and environmental engineering company in Greenville. A certified planner, Garner graduated from ECU in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning. Garner is a member of the ECU Board of Visitors, the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Pitt County Development Commission.
This event will be held 7:30-9 a.m. at the City Hotel and Bistro at 203 Greenville Blvd. Attire is purple and gold business casual.
Anyone who attended ECU is welcome; membership in the Alumni Association is not required. The cost is $11 for members and $22 for non-members, which includes breakfast food and beverages. Registration is required by Thursday.
Visit PirateAlumni.com/March11GreenvilleNetworking or call 800-ECU-GRAD to register. For more information, contact Christy Angle at Christy.Angle@PirateAlumni.com or 252-328-1958.
Wednesday: The School of Art and Design’s Ceramics Guild will host their annual mug sale, 8 a.m.- 2 p.m., Jenkins Fine Arts building.
Wednesday: In celebration of International Women’s Day, ECU will host a series of discussions, 8:30 a.m.- 4 p.m., Mendenhall Student Center Great Rooms 1 & 2. Schedule available at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/ccsw/News-and-Events.cfm. Event sponsors include the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women, Ledonia Wright Cultural Center and the Office of Equity and Diversity.
Thursday: Lifetime and Five-Year Achievement in Research & Creative Activity Awards presentation, 4 p.m., East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU. Call 328-9471 with questions.
Last fall when the American Heart Association issued new guidelines to help doctors teach their patients about their risks of developing cardiovascular disease — accompanied by a bulky computer spreadsheet calculator — one ECU physician thought he had a better idea.
So he created his own free smartphone app that makes assessing patients’ risk as simple as tapping a screen.
Cardiac Risk Assist is designed by Dr. Tin Nguyen, a second-year internal medicine resident and former computer engineer. It takes the newest risk assessments and recommendations from the American Heart Association, unveiled in November and previously accessible only through a bulky computerized spreadsheet, and puts them in an easy-to-use mobile platform.
The app is aimed at primary care physicians to help them explain to patients how changing behaviors, such as stopping smoking or reducing cholesterol, can help them reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease. It also recommends whether starting a statin drug will benefit patients and has information about various statins for reference.
Dr. Deepa Kabirdas, an ECU cardiologist and assistant professor, said she and Nguyen were talking about the AHA guidelines and its spreadsheet after the guidelines were released. They agreed the spreadsheet was hard to use.
“I told (Nguyen) ‘I wish there was an app for this,’” she said. “We discussed it in our clinic on Friday, and Monday morning he showed us the preliminary app.”
To create his simpler way for doctors to help their patients, Nguyen bought an Apple laptop computer on a November Friday and taught himself to program it over the weekend. By the following Tuesday, he had finished the app, and he submitted it to Apple’s iTunes app store the next day.
“Trying to get something that’s going to help improve stroke and heart attack outcomes and get it to physicians around the world,” Nguyen said was the motivation for creating the app.
Nguyen made the app free. “If we can improve these things, it’s going to help patients’ lives,” he said. “It’s not about the money. It’s about getting it out and making it accessible.”
Dr. Jennifer G. Robinson, a professor and heart disease specialist at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, is one of the physicians Nguyen consulted while creating the app to get their ideas for making it better, simpler and easier to use.
“Tin’s app is a well-designed, handy, easy-to-use tool that will help doctors better take care of patients,” Robinson said in an email. “The app lets the doctor estimate the risk of heart attack/stroke/death in the next years. Using this information the doctor and the patient can then discuss whether the patient should start a statin to reduce that risk of heart attack/stroke/death. The app is also a memory aid that includes the recommendations from the 2013 (American College of Cardiology)/AHA cholesterol guidelines.”
Nguyen hopes to enter a cardiology fellowship once he completes his residency training. He might also keep making apps.
“Doing little things to make (patients) feel better, it’s very rewarding,” he said.
Cardiac Risk Assist is available for iPhones on the iTunes App Store. A version for Android phones, published by the American College of Cardiology and called the ASCVD Risk Estimator, is available at Google Play. Both are free.
Two professors in the College of Technology and Computer Science at East Carolina University have been recognized for outstanding work in their respective fields.
Hamid Fonooni, associate professor in the Department of Technology Systems, received the William E. Tarrants Outstanding Safety Educator Award, sponsored by American Society of Safety Engineers and PPG Industries. The award is presented annually to recognize exemplary teaching, scholarship and professional service in safety, health and environmental education. It is the highest award a safety educator can receive.
Fonooni teaches in the Master’s of Occupational Safety program. His research areas include occupational safety and health, leadership and scholarship, and strategic planning. A former Academics Practice Specialty administrator, Fonooni won the ASSE Eastern Carolina Chapter Outstanding Volunteer Service Award in 2012 and the Academics COPS Award in 2005.
As a recipient of the Outstanding Safety Educator Award, Fonooni presented at a conference titled “International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organizations” in Canada. He was the only invited speaker from the United States representing academia.
Robert Chin, a professor in the Department of Technology Systems, recently received the Orthogonal Medal, which is presented to individuals in the field of graphics. It was created in 1985 to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of graphic science. The award is recognized nationally as one of the most respected awards in the field of engineering graphics and its recipients have been educators and leaders.
Chin’s primary focus has been on the scholarship of learning, which includes experimenting with methods of instructional delivery or the use of instructional technology, adapting pedagogical approaches from widely differing disciplines, and developing and testing new technical content to prepare students for professions and leadership positions in business and industry.
In April, he will be the 2014 Distinguished Lecturer at the 30th annual Distinguished Lecture series offered by the Technology, Engineering and Design Engineering faculty at N.C. State University.