Category Archives: Health Sciences

Webinar series helps nurses grow

Nurses in eastern North Carolina will have an innovative way to develop as leaders, thanks in part to a new webinar program starting this month.

The Emerging Leaders Institute Webinar Series, developed by the East Carolina Consortium for Nursing Leadership (ECCNL) and Eastern Area Health Education Center, offers six monthly webinars for nurses currently serving or aspiring to serve in leadership roles. These live one-hour webinars will cover various topics such as leadership competencies, communication and collaboration, mentoring and coaching, multigenerational workforce, patient safety and quality improvements, and emotional intelligence. The first webinar is Oct. 18; the deadline to register is Oct. 11.

Dr. Gina Woody, College of Nursing faculty member. (contributed photo)

Dr. Gina Woody, College of Nursing faculty member. (contributed photo)

“Participants will develop leadership skills that will enable them to grow personally and professionally and serve as leaders and change agents in promoting and shaping the future of health care,” said ECCNL Director Dr. Gina Woody, clinical professor in the College of Nursing at East Carolina University.

This program is open to nurses across the region in any practice setting. Nurses can register individually for any combination of webinars up to a week before each event. A discount is available on all six webinars through Oct. 11.

An agency subscription rate, which was available for employers who wished to make the webinars available to all their staff, allows teams to gather together and hear from content experts, according to Donna Moses, director of nursing and allied health education at Eastern AHEC. “It is our hope that the conversation continues after the webinar, where participants share their leadership insights and mentor new leaders and access further resources within their own organization,” Moses said.

“This innovative project is but one example of the consortium’s ongoing commitment to mobilize nurses to be influential leaders in promoting healthier communities,” Woody said. “The consortium promotes the personal and professional development of nurse executives, managers, clinicians, educators and other related health care professionals employed in all types of settings. At the end of this series the participant will be able to synthesize concepts of leadership, management, change, teamwork and communication as they relate to the role of the nurse leader.”

The Consortium for Nursing Leadership was established by the ECU College of Nursing in 2006 to promote leadership development for both students and practicing nurses through education, research and scholarship.

“We look forward to working with Eastern AHEC to help the people of eastern North Carolina by increasing educational opportunities for all nurses,” Woody said.

Moses added, “Leadership is the most desired and difficult skill set to develop. It has been said that it is lonely at the top. It doesn’t have to be when teams realize that leadership is a shared responsibility.”

Nurses who wish to register should first check with their chief nursing officer or chief administrator to see if a series subscription was purchased by their agency.

For more information on this program, contact the Eastern AHEC Department of Nursing and Allied Health Education at 252-744-5220 or visit www.easternahec.net.

All webinars will be held 12-1 p.m.

Webinar schedule

October 18: Identify and Develop Your Leadership Competencies

November 15: Communication and Collaboration: The Importance of Nurses and Physician Relationship in Leading Patient Care

December 13: Modeling the Way: Mentoring and Coaching

January 17: Cultivating Leaders Across Generations

February 21: Improving Patient Safety and Quality Improvements within Health Systems

March 21: Building Emotional Intelligence

 

-by Jackie Drake, Eastern AHEC

Laupus Library’s exhibited woodcarvings showcase a lifetime of love

Laupus Library opened the art exhibit “Visions in Wood: Carved Creations,” during an Oct. 3 reception in the Evelyn Fike Laupus Gallery on the fourth floor of the library. On display through Dec. 9, the exhibit showcases a collection of relief carvings by Dr. Leonard “Leo” Trujillo, professor and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Allied Health Sciences at East Carolina University.

The 2017 fall semester exhibit is part of the library’s ongoing “Art as Avocation” series that showcases and celebrates the artistic talents and self-expression of faculty, staff and students from the Division of Health Sciences.

Dr. Leonard Trujillo (Photos by Michelle Messer)

Dr. Leonard Trujillo (Photos by Michelle Messer)

“Our work as professionals in the health sciences is so demanding and often overwhelming in terms of meeting the demands and expectations for teaching, research and community,” said Trujillo. “But we do all this because we want to meet the needs of our students, almost to the point of not taking time to respect our own. Avocations like mine are truly healing and allows us to give another part of ourselves to others.”

“Laupus is really proud to champion cultural enrichment and the arts on our health sciences campus and so we’re delighted to host Leo’s newest works in our gallery space,” said Laupus Library director Beth Ketterman. “It is clear that between his work as a professor in occupational therapy and as a teacher of carving in his free time, Leo has a commitment to education and sharing his talents with others. We hope that all who come to view his pieces will be inspired by his work.”

Trujillo’s 57-piece exhibition reflects a lifetime of learning the art of carving and love for nature. Each piece represents a personal story of places he’s lived and seen.

Beginning with a solid plank of wood, Trujillo uses mallets and a multitude of gouges, chisels, riffles and sandpaper leaves to transform the wood into lifelike images of trees, old barns, nature scenes and people.

His desire to carve began at an early age. “My dad found this old keepsake oak box that was broken and tossed out,” he said. “On the outside was an applique of two scrolls, one of which had broken off. With a pocket knife I watched him recreate the broken scroll. My mom always talked about how special that box was because he had saved it. From then I felt I should learn how to do that.”

Years later while serving as second lieutenant in the United States Air Force, he continued carving and started to desire more carving tools, although he lacked the funds to pay for them. Old army boots and wooden pipe carvings were in demand among his fellow airmen so he sold them for about $25 each until he made enough money to buy his first set of chisels. Only then would he realize he had to buy something to help sharpen them.

Hunter's lodge art piece. (Photos by Michelle Messer)

Hunter’s lodge art piece. (Photos by Michelle Messer)

Now he has all the tools he could ever need, including a dental tool with actual dental bits used for small detailed carving work. “I had a friend who was a dental hygienist, and they offered me some tools saying these might get into those hard to reach places,” he joked. “If it cuts, I have it or want it.”

When asked how long a piece takes him to carve, he answers with two words. A lifetime. “It takes me a lifetime to finish each one in the sense that every piece is carved with an accumulation of what I’ve learned throughout my life, and I apply all of that to each piece.”

Time is relative, he says, since he begins each morning with a familiar routine which includes almost an hour of carving time just before going to work. When he returns home at the end of the day, every spare moment is filled with more carving. “Carving time is just a part of my day,” he said. “If I ever felt like it was work I’d probably stop doing it.”

Trujillo’s plans for the future as an artist includes auctioning some of his work to raise money for ACES for Autism and developing a web page to share options for commissioned work that will surely broaden his list of admirers.

“This series means so much to me because it recognizes my carvings as “Works of Art” and me as an artisan, not a hobbyist,” he said. “I am honored beyond words.”

Laupus Library also wishes to thank the Friends of Laupus Library for their continued support of the Art as Avocation series and opening reception.

Laupus Library is currently seeking artists for both 2018 exhibitions. To learn more about the series or to showcase your work, visit www.ecu.edu/laupuslibrary/events/artasavocation or contact Kelly Rogers Dilda at rogerske@ecu.edu or 252-744-2232.

 

-by Kelly R. Dilda, University Communications 

ECU’s College of Nursing offers new Master of Nursing Science concentration

A new online program launched this semester by ECU’s College of Nursing is poised to help the region address its shortage of mental health care professionals. Graduates of the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program will earn a Master of Nursing Science (MSN) degree or a post-master’s certificate as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, of the nearly 234,000 nurse practitioners in the United States, only 1.8 percent are certified in psychiatric and mental health care. In 2012, the North Carolina Medical Journal reported that 95 percent of all North Carolina counties had an unmet need for medical providers who can prescribe psychiatric medications — a deficit that psychiatric nurse practitioners are able to fill.

For patients enrolled in government sponsored health insurance programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, it can be even harder to access mental health care. The National Council for Behavioral Health reported in March that 40 percent of psychiatrists do not accept third-party reimbursements.

“I was in private practice for 20 years, so I can appreciate that,” said Wanda Lancaster, the director of the new program. “But we know this special population struggles with issues such as substance abuse or schizophrenia and tend to not have insurance. And nurse practitioners are more likely to be in clinics that accept Medicaid and Medicare.”

Lancaster said the program will have a special emphasis in treating patients that suffer from substance abuse, severe and persistent mental illness, and PTSD. Several of the students will be placed in Veterans Affairs hospitals to complete their clinical hours as well as area state psychiatric hospitals, outpatient clinics, and detox centers.

“This is going to help the people of eastern North Carolina and across the state,” said Lancaster. “Because right now psychiatric beds are limited due to a great staffing shortage. This is causing issues for local emergency rooms with mental health patients spending days waiting on bed availability.”

Lancaster said completing ECU’s new program gives students an opportunity to gain an in-depth education and clinical experience in psychiatric care that “elevates the scope and standard of practice.” This will enable students to take the national certification exam, which ensures quality and competence and is now required for reimbursement in this specialty.

The program is only open to residents of North Carolina and admission preference is given to those currently practicing in mental health settings or who plan to deliver direct mental health care upon graduation. Currently, there are 13 post master’s certificate students and nine MSN students enrolled in the program.

For more information about the program visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-dhs/nursing/masters_pmh.cfm

College of Nursing welcomes 125 new students

More than 100 ECU students were officially introduced to the nursing profession during the College of Nursing’s twice-annual Lamp of Learning ceremony on Aug. 31.

The ceremony, held in the Brody School of Medicine auditorium, recognized 125 new students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program as family and friends looked on.

Meaghan Brown receives her lamp pin from a classmate at the College of Nursing’s Lamp of Learning ceremony on Aug. 31. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Meaghan Brown receives her lamp pin from a classmate at the College of Nursing’s Lamp of Learning ceremony on Aug. 31. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

During the ceremony Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the college, reminded students of the university’s dedication to service, a value shared by the college and the nursing profession. She emphasized Gallup Poll data that has consistently pointed to nursing as the most trusted profession among all professions, and urged new students to remain honest and ethical in order to preserve that trust.

“That is a wonderful characteristic that we want to maintain and instill in our nursing students,” she said.

Dr. Annette Peery, associate dean for undergraduate programs, introduced each student on stage as Brown presented him or her with a gold lamp pin representing Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. The lamp symbol signifies service and light, and is also featured on the College of Nursing pin that students receive at graduation.

“As you wear that pin, think of these symbols and what they mean, particularly your orientation to service as part of the profession,” Brown said.

Nursing student Taylor Harrison recites the College of Nursing pledge at the Lamp of Learning ceremony at the Brody School of Medicine on Aug. 31.

Nursing student Taylor Harrison recites the College of Nursing pledge at the Lamp of Learning ceremony at the Brody School of Medicine on Aug. 31.

Krista Whitley, a nursing student from Kinston, was among those having pins affixed to their purple scrubs.

“It’s really special,” she said. “It makes me want to work even harder. Ever since high school I’ve always wanted to be a nurse. I job shadowed in high school and observed a couple of surgeries. It really pumped me up and made me want to be a nurse.”

Admission to the College of Nursing’s BSN program is very competitive. In addition to meeting the university and college requirements, students’ scores on a required national pre-admission exam are taken into account along with their GPA, enrollment status and other factors. Students accepted into the program this year had an average GPA of 3.7.

Phyllis Burt attended the ceremony to watch her daughter Heavenlee Burt receive her pin.

“She worked hard for this and I love her. I am very proud of her,” Burt said. “I came a long way just to catch her in this moment. I think the world is going to be a better place.”

 

-by Natalie Sayewich, University Communication

Student collaboration addresses fall risk for seniors

Three departments within East Carolina University’s College of Allied Health Sciences recently spent a day helping local seniors while teaching students the importance of collaborating with other disciplines.

The unique interprofessional senior fall risk assessment training exercise took place at the Black Jack Free Will Baptist Church on July 14. Students from the Occupational Therapy (OT), Physical Therapy (PT) and Physician’s Assistant (PA) programs were placed into groups composed of at least one student from each department and assigned patients. Senior citizens who volunteered to participate were evaluated to determine any unknown factors they may have that put them at a higher risk for falling.

Students assist a volunteer as she takes an eye exam during the College of Allied Health Sciences’ senior fall risk assessment training exercise on July 14.(Photo by Alyssa De Santis Figiel)

Students assist a volunteer as she takes an eye exam during the College of Allied Health Sciences’ senior fall risk assessment training exercise on July 14.(Photo by Alyssa De Santis Figiel)

“As seniors, they’ll have different health conditions that could result in an increase for fall risk. So by participating in this free activity, they’re learning about what those potential risks are and also how to address them to reduce their chances for falling,” said Dr. Jennifer Radloff, an assistant professor for the Department of Occupational Therapy at ECU and one of the event organizers.

Evaluations included PA students studying the seniors’ medical history to look for potential fall indicators, such as medications that may cause dizziness; PT students administering a mini balance assessment and OT students doing a vision assessment. Students also analyzed the seniors’ ability to use stairs, transition from sitting to standing, and turn quickly when walking. Those who were found to have greater chances of falling were provided with resources to continue their care and fall prevention.

The training exercise is noteworthy as it combines community service with education and gives students an opportunity to speak with others in different professions to discuss and compare each discipline’s responsibilities.

“I learned a lot of things I could incorporate into my own practice even though it’s not directly part of our assessment as a physician’s assistant,” said Kasey Briggs, a PA student who participated in the fall assessments.

Radloff praised the event as an excellent pre-emptive learning experience before students begin their required internships. Students expressed their appreciation for being given the opportunity to work collaboratively with other professions in a non-simulated experience.

“It helps solidify the fact that for patient care, it’s a team approach. Each person has skills to contribute,” said PT student Josh Schiemann.

PA student Sydney Pilgrim connected the experience to her previous work in healthcare.

“I actually worked in an ICU before I came here, and it was really cool because we did actually have PTs, OTs and PAs working together in the same unit. So it was nice to incorporate that into our studies because it really is like that in the real world,” Pilgrim said.

A third-year PT student who participated last year, Amalia Kondyles, returned to observe this year’s event and reflect on the value of the experience.

“I got to see the students learn things they didn’t learn in the classroom,” Kondyles said. “We’ve learned how to conduct these tests, but to actually do it on a real patient that doesn’t know how the test works, you start to realize the certain cues that don’t make sense. You see the students learn how to be PTs.”

If you would like to volunteer as a patient in next year’s event, please contact Dr. Jennifer Radloff at radloffj@ecu.edu or Dr. Kim Stokes at stokesc@ecu.edu.

 

-by Angela Todd, University Communications

Geyer recognized by Society for the Study of Reproduction

Dr. Christopher Geyer received this year’s New Investigator Award at the 50th annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Dr. Christopher Geyer received this year’s New Investigator Award at the 50th annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

East Carolina University’s Dr. Christopher Geyer was named the recipient of the 2017 New Investigator Award by the Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR) for his contributions to the field of reproductive sciences.

The award recognizes outstanding research contributions by an SSR member within 12 years of the completion of their Ph.D.

Geyer, an associate professor in the Brody School of Medicine Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, is working to explain the earliest stages of reproduction by investigating the mechanisms through which spermatogenic stem cells become differentiated and begin the process of becoming sperm cells.

His lab was recently awarded a five-year, $1.45 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the response of stem cells to retinoic acid.

“This is a highly competitive award, and the list of past winners is virtually a who’s who of top scientists in the field,” said Dr. Rebecca Krisher, chair of the SSR Awards Committee. “Dr. Geyer was chosen for this honor based upon the originality of his research, his scientific productivity and the significance of his contributions to the field of spermatogonial and testicular biology.”

Geyer said he has been a member of SSR since joining as a new graduate student in 2002. “Receiving the award was overwhelming,” he said. “I’ve never had to get up and speak in front of so many people.”

Geyer’s lab is working to pinpoint the mechanisms that control the earliest stages of reproduction.

Geyer’s lab is working to pinpoint the mechanisms that control the earliest stages of reproduction.

The award was presented during the opening ceremony of SSR’s 50th anniversary meeting in Washington, D.C. As the New Investigator Award recipient, Geyer gave a 30-minute presentation before more than 900 attendees of the conference.

“This was one of the goals I set for myself when I first started here in 2010, because I have several friends who’ve won this award and I’ve always admired their work and wanted to follow in their footsteps, so to speak,” Geyer said. “I have tried to emulate what they’ve done in their careers, but I never actually expected it to happen.”

Nick Serra and Ellen Velte, doctoral students in Geyer’s lab, also attended the conference and presented their work in poster format.

Geyer was nominated by his mentors, Dr. John McCarrey and Dr. Mitch Eddy, and more than a dozen professors from the United States and abroad wrote letters of support. He has been invited to speak at the annual meetings of SSR’s sister societies — the Society for Reproduction and Fertility, which will meet in Liverpool, United Kingdom in January; and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, which will meet in San Antonio, Texas in November.

 

-by Jules Norwood

Military Women’s Health Symposium is August 23

Health care providers across eastern North Carolina will convene in Greenville for the new Military Women’s Health Symposium on August 23. Registration is now open for the event, which is meant to support the well-being of women in the military and women veterans by updating the providers who care for them.

Women comprise about 15 percent of the U.S. armed forces. In 2016, there were more than 2 million female veterans across the nation from all branches of military service, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

As more women join the military in ever-expanding roles, it’s important for providers to understand the health risks associated with service for women, according to event organizer Karen Goble, assistant director of continuing medical, dental and pharmacy education at Eastern AHEC.

“We want to recognize the role of women who serve and honor their sacrifice,” Goble said.

At the event, physicians and other advanced practitioners from the community, military bases and veterans’ administration will discuss the latest screening methods and treatments for issues common to women in the military and women veterans. These include orthopedic problems, pelvic pain and infections, depression, headaches and more.

“Women in the military are strong and resilient, but they face certain stressors that providers need to understand for optimal care,” Goble said.

For example, women in the military carrying heavy packs can experience stress fractures that result in chronic pelvic pain. “Women are capable of carrying the same equipment as men, but conditioning can be important in prevention,” Goble said.

The event is hosted by East Carolina University, Greenville VA Health Care Center, Eastern Area Health Education Center and Duke Area Health Education Center.

The conference will be held at The Education Center at Eastern AHEC, located at 2600 W. Arlington Blvd., at the corner of Arlington and W. 5th St. Space is limited so advance registration is required. Registration fees and other details are available online at easternahec.net. Those interested in attending this conference can call 252-744-5208 for more information.

 

-by Jackie Drake, Eastern AHEC

ECU’s Laupus Library to host “Potion Power: Medicinal Herb Discoveries for Kids”

The William E. Laupus Health Sciences Library at East Carolina University will host “Potion Power: Medicinal Herb Discoveries for Kids” on July 19 from 2-4 p.m. in the library’s 4th-floor gallery as part of a botanical exhibit from ECU’s Country Doctor Museum.

Currently on display, “Nature’s Remedies: Traditions of Botanical Medicine,” explores the history of using herbs and other plants as remedies and preventatives. From botanical oils and apothecary tins to rhubarb and ginger, the exhibit showcases objects used by ordinary consumers, druggists and medical practitioners in their search for relief and well-being.

Laupus invites children ages eight and up and their parents to visit the exhibit and participate in an afternoon of hands-on learning and exploration.

Kids will use a mortar and pestle to make dream pillows. (contributed photo)

Kids will use a mortar and pestle to make dream pillows. (contributed photo)

“We’re really excited to share the history of medicine in a fun way with kids from the community,” said Beth Ketterman, interim director of Laupus Library. “Eastern NC has a rich history of providing health care to our community and the kids who come to the event will learn how our doctors in the region used to make medicine in ‘the good old days.’”

During the afternoon, kids will visit several activity stations. One stop will allow them to make dream pillows using traditional medicinal herbs and mortars and pestles. An old fashioned pharmacy station will require them to use math skills, play dough and antique pill rollers to fill prescriptions. At the microscope station, they will discover plant cells up close where they can compare dandelion fuzz to a carrot root. Lastly, kids will be able to show off their creativity with a chance to color historic botanical drawings from the pages of the oldest coloring book in the world.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. Light refreshments will be provided.

Parking passes will be available to all attendees upon arrival. Guests are required to park in “B-Zone” parking lots during the event.

For more information about the event please contact Kelly Rogers Dilda at rogerske@ecu.edu or 252-744-2232.

 

 

-by Kelly R. Dilda, University Communications

ECU Colleges of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences open joint research hub

The process of finding new ways to help patients live healthier lives may have just become a little easier for faculty in East Carolina University’s College of Allied Health Sciences and College of Nursing.

The two colleges have been working together on research for years, but a new collaborative research hub promises to make the grant application and administration process more efficient, leaving faculty members more time to focus on improving patient outcomes and overall health and wellness.

The CON-CAHS Research Administration Hub, located on the university’s West Campus in the Health Sciences Building, aims to maximize support for faculty members by providing the administrative components involved in pursuing grants and conducting the research funded by them? It is the first collaborative research hub on the university’s health sciences campus.

Associate Deans for Research and Scholarship Dr. Patricia Crane, from nursing, and Dr. Heather Harris Wright, from allied health, will oversee the hub along with an administrative board that includes the colleges’ associate deans for research and Interim Health Sciences Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Dr. Kathy Verbanac.

From left, Susan Howard, Jessica Miller and Latoya Sahadeo will staff the new CON-CAHS Research Administration Hub. (Photo by Alyssa De Santis Figiel)

From left, Susan Howard, Jessica Miller and Latoya Sahadeo will staff the new CON-CAHS Research Administration Hub.
(Photo by Alyssa De Santis Figiel)

“The point of it is to capitalize on resources,” Crane said at the hub’s open house on May 18. “Traditionally, in each college we’ve had one person that did pre- and post-award (grant management),” Crane said. “If that person was out sick or we had more than one grant, or we had multiple grants or someone was on vacation, we were just lost. We’d have to go find someone else. It was a struggle.”

Creating a central hub to help faculty with administrative grant work was a perfect solution given that the two colleges have been collaborating on research efforts for years. Nursing’s three-year, $2.5 million Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program grant involves the CAHS’s Physician Assistant Studies program, and the three-year, $2.1 million grant from the Versant Center for the Advancement of Nursing involves the CAHS Department of Health Sciences & Information Management.

The hub will have one pre-award grant manager and two post-award grant managers. Jessica Miller, the pre-award grant manager, will provide budget support and preparation, seek out funding opportunities and help faculty with grant application development. Post-award managers Latoya Sahadeo and Susan Howard specialize in different types of grant management and will aid faculty members once a grant has been awarded.

“All the funding agencies, while there are some commonalities, they’re so vastly different in expectations and how they’re administered, and the rules and regulations associated with them,” Crane said. “This allows us to designate people that that’s their area of expertise. Instead of being a generalist in everything, now we have two experts in that for post-award.”

Wright agreed that the additional resource provided to faculty by the hub would be helpful as they pursue new research.

“As the funding portfolio for College of Allied Health Sciences continues to diversify and more faculty are seeking external funding to support their programmatic lines of research, increased support for pre- and post-award grant activities is needed,” she said. “The Hub will greatly benefit faculty across both colleges. We will be able to provide more support for the faculty and allow them to focus their time and energy on their science by providing them support in identifying funding opportunities, helping with proposal development, and administrative support.”

 

 

-by Natalie Sayewich 

 

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