Category Archives: Medicine

Brody student organization receives regional chapter award

East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine group that supports minority medical students and underserved communities has received a regional award.

The Brody Student National Medical Association chapter was recognized for the extensive community service its members performed this past year, outshining peer groups from North Carolina to Florida and the Caribbean.

“What I love about the Student National Medical Association is that the mission really aligns with the mission of the Brody School of Medicine,” explained chapter president Ebone Evans, a rising third-year medical student from Durham. “SNMA encourages physicians to go to these populations that are traditionally underserved and encourages support and mentorship for medical students who might not have had support in their lives around them.”

From left, Brody SNMA president Ebone Evans with members Jackie Watson and Consola Esambe Lobwede during Hurricane Matthew relief efforts. (contributed photo)

From left, Brody SNMA president Ebone Evans with members Jackie Watson and Consola Esambe Lobwede during Hurricane Matthew relief efforts. (contributed photo)

Many of the group’s community initiatives this past academic year involved members serving as role models for area youth.

For Project ALPHA, members provided weekly health education training to young men at Dobbs Community Juvenile Detention Center in Kinston. Weekly workshops at Building Hope Community Life Center in Greenville helped young ladies transition to womanhood. Programming included a seminar on making healthy snacks and another from ECU dental medicine students on proper dental hygiene.

Other community service efforts included a reading buddies program at the Little Willie Center in Greenville and a pre-medical conference to encourage undergraduate minority students interested in pursuing medicine. Members also took an active role in Hurricane Matthew relief efforts in the fall.

“Just as much as the people in these programs get from us, we get so much from them,” Evans said. “We get so much understanding of life — a better understanding of the community — and that’s how you really are able to affect the population that you’re serving, if you understand who they are.”

Any medical student can join the chapter, Evans said, but minority students typically comprise membership. The group’s leaders are working to continue increasing community service and encourage diversity among members.

“We want people to know this isn’t an organization just for minority students,” she said. “It’s an organization that would like to train the majority population to know how to support minority populations as they go through their medical training.”

Dr. Cassandra Bradby, the group’s adviser and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine, applauded Brody’s SNMA members for their efforts to help promote and exemplify diversity in medicine.

“Given all of the rigors of medical school, it is very hard to be able to balance all of these service projects and programs, as well as excel in school and our students have managed to do both,” she said. “I am so proud and excited that they have earned this award. No chapter deserves it more.”



by Elizabeth Willy, University Communication

Pilot program updates area geriatric providers via webinar

Primary care providers who treat the elderly across eastern North Carolina recently received vital continuing education without ever leaving their offices, thanks to a pilot program provided by East Carolina University and Eastern Area Health Education Center.

The new Geriatric Medicine Academy is a series of six weekly lunchtime webinars that took place March 7 through April 11, with more sessions planned for the future. Leaders from the College of Nursing, College of Allied Health Sciences, Brody School of Medicine and the community gave the one-hour presentations from The Education Center at Eastern AHEC, which webcasted the sessions to providers throughout the region. The program is funded by the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program through the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Open to physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and others, this pilot program was limited to the first 25 participants – and filled up on the first day of registration.

“I think that speaks to a great need in our area. We’re enhancing the ability of providers to meet the needs of an aging population,” said Karen Goble, assistant director for continuing medical, dental and pharmacy education at Eastern AHEC, a non-profit affiliated with ECU.

Dr. Connie Pender, managing pharmacist at Wayne Memorial Hospital Pharmacy, participated in the new Geriatric Medicine Academy webinars from her office in Goldsboro. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Dr. Connie Pender, managing pharmacist at Wayne Memorial Hospital Pharmacy, participated in the new Geriatric Medicine Academy webinars from her office in Goldsboro. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Between 2000 and 2010, the largest increases in North Carolina’s age 65 and older population were seen in Brunswick, New Hanover and other eastern counties, according to the University of North Carolina Population Center.

“We have a large retirement population,” Goble said. “We’re an area of high priority.”

There are very few board-certified geriatric medicine physicians in the country, according to Goble.

“There’s a big gap across the U.S.,” she said. “Brody has geriatric medicine. Our goal is to bring this knowledge to the clinics in our area; we need to take it to them.”

From Currituck to Carteret, participants tuned in from across eastern North Carolina, accessing ECU’s expertise to help their patients without having to travel.

“A webinar is a very convenient way to earn continuing education credit, especially during lunch,” said participant Dr. Connie Pender, managing pharmacist at Wayne Memorial Hospital Pharmacy in Goldsboro. “Having a set of webinars specifically on dealing with issues regarding the elderly is of interest to me. I have an increasing number of retirees in my practice setting as well as aging parents so I was excited to see this program offered.”

The program covered a variety of topics, such as caregiver burnout, HIV in older adults, opioids and pain, frailty, polypharmacy (managing multiple prescriptions) as well as health care for older veterans.

“The session on HIV in older adults was especially informative,” Pender said. “It was eye opening to me to learn that 50 percent of HIV patients are over the age of 50. The presenter gave a great refresher on the mechanisms of action of the HIV medications, which was very helpful.”

The opening session focused on recognizing and preventing caregiver burnout.

“We might be living longer, but we’re living sicker; the goal is to stay healthier,” said presenter Kim Stokes, director of clinical education for the Department of Physician Assistant Studies in the College of Allied Health Sciences. “For the elderly, a caregiver could be a spouse or a whole team.”

More than 50 million Americans care for family members of all ages, according to Stokes.

“The definition of caregiver has expanded exponentially,” Stokes said. “The health and well-being of a patient and caregiver are closely linked.”

The purpose of the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement grant, which awarded $2.5 million in 2015 to the College of Nursing and its partners, is to develop a health care workforce that maximizes patient and family engagement and improves health outcomes for older adults by integrating geriatrics with primary care, according to Dr. Sonya Hardin, associate dean for graduate programs in the College of Nursing and the grant’s primary investigator.

“Our geriatrics funding helps prepare health care providers to meet the needs of the aging U.S. population and ensure improved health results for older adults,” said Hardin, who led the March 21 session on opioid use and abuse in older adults.

The response to the first round of webinars has been positive, according to Goble, and more sessions are planned for the future.

For more information on the Geriatric Medicine Academy, visit or contact Karen Goble at 252-744-6974 or For additional resources under the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Grant, visit



-by Jackie Drake, AHEC

Brody Scholars hold health fair to benefit community

East Carolina University medical students will hold a community health fair Saturday, April 8, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center at 1100 Ward St. in Greenville.

The event will include multiple booths geared toward various aspects of health for both children and adults. It is a collaboration among the Brody School of Medicine’s Brody Scholars and ECU dental, nursing and physician assistant students. The health fair is free and open to the public.

“The Brody Scholars had a new vision this year for our service project. We decided to do a health fair, because we want to serve our local community of Greenville,” said fourth-year medical student and Brody Scholar Mia Marshall.

Amanda Saad (left) and Mia Marshall are two of the Brody Scholars who helped organize the health fair. (contributed photo)

Amanda Saad (left) and Mia Marshall are two of the Brody Scholars who helped organize the health fair. (contributed photo)

Topics will range from childhood obesity to exercise and nutrition. Screenings will be provided for blood pressure, blood sugar, body mass index and oral health. Bike helmet safety will also be demonstrated, with 15 bike helmets to be raffled.

“We want to bring awareness to both adults and children and educate the general public in a way that is beneficial and sustainable,” Marshall said.

The health fair will be held in conjunction with the center’s 10th annual IGCC Day, a community block party celebrating a decade of service in the west Greenville and surrounding Pitt County areas with food, music, entertainment, giveaways, vendors, workshops and more.

The Brody Scholars program honors J. S. “Sammy” Brody, who, along with his brother Leo, were among the earliest supporters of medical education in eastern North Carolina The Brody Scholar award, valued at approximately $112,000, is the most prestigious scholarship available at the Brody School of Medicine. It includes four years of medical school tuition, living expenses and the opportunity for recipients to design their own summer enrichment programs that can include travel abroad. The award also supports community service projects recipients may undertake while in medical school. About 70 percent of Brody Scholars remain in North Carolina to practice, and the majority of those stay in eastern North Carolina.



-by Rich Klindworth

ECU obstetrics/gynecology professor completes national educators program

A clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University has graduated from a prestigious national program designed to create expert educators in her field.

Dr. Jill Sutton has completed the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics Academic Scholars and Leaders Program, a 15-month course in curriculum design, educational theory, adult learning methodologies and teaching strategies. Sutton was one of only 24 professors nationwide admitted to the program last year. It was first offered in 1997.


Dr. Jill Sutton. (Photo by Gretchen Baugh)

Dr. Jill Sutton. (Photo by Gretchen Baugh)

“Dr. Sutton brought Pirate Pride to our university and department from a national stage,” said Dr. Libby Baxley, senior associate dean for academic affairs. “We are fortunate indeed to have her as a resource and educator.”

Sutton has already put to use the skills gained in the Scholars and Leaders Program. In March, she presented a research poster at the annual joint meeting of the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics and the Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Sutton, who also serves as clerkship director for third-year medical students at Brody, investigated forms of feedback in educational simulation sessions. She found that medical students prefer to receive feedback directly rather than electronically.

“I am grateful to have participated in this program,” she said. “I learned much about educational research and have been able to support several students in their own research projects with these new tools.”

Sutton completed her medical degree and residency training at the Brody School of Medicine and joined the faculty in 2010. She is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. In 2016, she received the Katherine Bray-Strickland Young Alumni Award for her dedication to medical student education and to the mission of the Brody School of Medicine.



-by Elizabeth Willy, University Communication 

Joyner exhibit showcases trappings of early healthcare

Joyner Library is hosting the traveling exhibit “The Sick Room: Invalid Feeders and Bedside Necessities” in the Verona Joyner Langford North Carolina Collection on the third floor of the library. The exhibit, open through the month of May, showcases a variety of items — both beautiful and useful — that helped ease invalids back to health during the Victorian Period.

Early healthcare items on display in Joyner Library (Photos by Layne Carpenter)

Early healthcare items on display in Joyner Library. (Photos by Layne Carpenter)

Caring for a sick family member was a common part of life, and any bedroom could become the “sick room” where a convalescing patient would rest undisturbed from the difficulties of life.

“The exhibit gives us a better understanding of what life was like taking care of sick family members during the late 19th century,” said Anne Anderson, exhibit curator for the Country Doctor Museum. “This responsibility usually fell to the woman of the household, and much of her time might have been spent using the types of objects featured in the exhibit.

“This concept still connects to us today where an illness can have a huge impact on family life.”

On loan from the Country Doctor Museum in Bailey, North Carolina, the exhibit includes feeders, baby rattles, bedpans, and an invalid chair.

The exhibit also offers many pieces from the private collection of Brenda Rewalt of Bolivia, North Carolina, a retired nurse who has collected more than 700 feeders and related items, some dating back to the 1700s.

“Brenda Rewalt’s collection of invalid feeders is one of the best in the country, and the Country Doctor Museum is very fortunate to include some of her beautiful pieces in this exhibit,” said Anderson. “Her knowledge about the objects, both as a collector and nurse, helped inform the exhibit’s interpretation of life in the sick room.”

On April 6 from 1-3 p.m. in the first floor lobby of Joyner Library, Anderson will offer students an opportunity to participate in a related hands-on activity. Students will grind up medicinal herbs such as eucalyptus, rosemary and peppermint to make medicinal herb sachets, while Anderson and other Joyner Special Collections staff speak on how these herbs were used as home remedies, particularly in sick rooms.

Activities will continue on the third floor, and students are also encouraged to visit the exhibit and use the iPad kiosk to vote on their favorite exhibit item. Results will be posted to Joyner Library’s social media platforms.
“This is our first exhibit installation at Joyner Library and we are very grateful for the opportunity to share our passion for medical history with a new audience,” said Anderson.

For additional information, please contact the Country Doctor Museum at 252-235-4165 or email Anne Anderson,



-by Kelly Dilda, Joyner Library


ECU professor elected to lead N.C. Public Health Association

An associate professor in East Carolina University¹s Department of Public Health has been elected president of the North Carolina Public Health Association (NCPHA).



Dr. Suzanne Lea, who also serves as the vice-chair of the Brody School of Medicine Women Faculty Committee, began leading the state affiliate of the American Public Health Association in September.

The NCPHA, which was founded over 105 years ago, is a professional association of both individuals and organizations that work together in order to improve the public¹s health through political advocacy, public awareness, professional development, and the interface between research and practice.

“Traditionally, NCPHA membership has been comprised of dedicated professionals working in the state and local health departments providing preventive and public health services,” said Lea, in her first memo as president. “As the role of public health has expanded in recent decades, NCPHA has a goal to broaden our reach to proactively engage all individuals who embrace their role within public health systems in our state.”

As president, Lea intends to boost the engagement of young professionals through leadership training and to develop collaborations with other professional associations in North Carolina that promote health improvement.

Lea, whose professional experience spans over 20 years in the field of applied epidemiology and public health practice, joined the Brody faculty in 2008. Prior to that, she served as a research epidemiologist at Triangle Institute International in Research Triangle Park. She has also worked as a communicable disease epidemiologist for the Department of Health and Human Services in San Rafael, California; as the chief epidemiology officer for the Arkansas Department of Health in Little Rock, Arkansas; and as a communicable disease epidemiologist for the Department of Public Health in San Francisco, California.

She holds a master¹s in public health from Yale University and a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. She has authored numerous research articles, papers and textbook chapters focused on cancer, public health practice and health disparities.

– Amy Ellis

Medical school names first female surgery chair in the Southeast

The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University has named a new chair for its Department of Surgery, making Brody the first medical school in the Southeast to have a female in that position.



Dr. J.E. “Betsy” Tuttle-Newhall is the seventh woman to be appointed surgery chair at any of the nation’s 200-plus medical schools, according to the Association of Women Surgeons.

Originally from Madison, Tuttle-Newhall has returned to North Carolina after serving as the division chief of abdominal transplant surgery and primary transplant surgeon at Cardinal Glennon Pediatric Hospital in St. Louis. She was also vice chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the St. Louis University Hospital School of Medicine and co-director of their Abdominal Transplant Center.

While in St. Louis, Tuttle-Newhall was the recipient of multiple clinical and teaching awards, as well as several Medals of Honor from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for her efforts to improve and expand organ donation and transplantation processes.

Her research efforts have focused on living kidney donors, critical care of transplant recipients, and transplant center design and governance.

After earning a medical degree from Wake Forest University’s Bowman Gray School of Medicine in 1988, Tuttle-Newhall completed a surgery residency and a clinical fellowship in surgery at the New England Deaconess Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. She furthered her training with a surgical critical care fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an abdominal transplant surgery fellowship at Duke University Medical Center.

Following her fellowships, Tuttle-Newhall held several academic positions at Duke, including associate professor of surgery and critical care, and director of the medical school’s physician assistant residency in surgery.

She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in health care administration at the St. Louis University School of Public Health.

Medical honor society recognizes new members, national research fellow

Four third-year medical students from the Brody School of Medicine were recently inducted into the East Carolina University chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

Holly Dieu, Sam Hankins, Kendall Liner and James Washburn were elected by current chapter members based on their scholastic achievement, leadership, ethical standards, teaching, professionalism, record of service to the school and community and their potential for achievement in medicine.

“AOA uses scholastic achievement as the primary, but not the sole, basis for nomination,” said Dr. Danielle Walsh, ECU pediatric surgeon and councilor for the Brody chapter. “Class rank is a marker of academic excellence alone, but this society aims to recognize the well-rounded student who excels academically.”

Also inducted was Brody alumnus Dr. Amir Motameni, a general surgery resident at Vidant Medical Center. He was nominated by AOA’s student members after Brody medical students named him Outstanding Teaching Resident for the third consecutive year.

Additionally, first-year medical student Dioval Remonde has been named the recipient of the 2015 Alpha Omega Alpha Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship. Remonde is the first Brody student to receive this national award, which honors a deceased, long-time administrator and honorary member of the society.

This $5,000 fellowship aims to serve as the recipient’s primary source of support, allowing them to conduct 200-300 hours of clinical investigation, basic laboratory research, epidemiology, social science/health services research, leadership or professionalism activities.

ECU students use music therapy to help Vidant Medical Center patients

ECU music therapy students Amanda Bernstein and Emily Selitto help patients at Vidant Medical Center with music. (Contributed photo)

ECU music therapy students and Emily Selitto, left, and Amanda Bernstein help patients at Vidant Medical Center with music. Not pictured are Madaline Logan and Emily Margagliotti. (Contributed photo)


“The girls and their music made it much easier for him to go on to glory,” Brenda Daniels said. Her husband, Noah Daniels, passed away in January at Vidant Medical Center. She said she is eternally grateful for two East Carolina University music therapy students who spent time singing and playing music for her husband and family.

For more than 45 years, the East Carolina University Music Therapy program has been training students to help people through the power of music. This semester, four of those students have brought their talents to Vidant Medical Center, to work with patients on a weekly basis.

Noah Daniels was just one of the patients who benefited from their work. “He was having a hard time, but when those girls walked in, we were elated,” his wife said. “I could see by the look in his eyes and the expression on his face, how the music lifted his spirits.”

Each Thursday, ECU seniors and music therapy majors, Amanda Bernstein and Emily Selitto visit Vidant Medical Center and go room to room singing and playing instruments for some of the sickest patients. “It’s a very humbling and rewarding experience,” Bernstein said. “We aren’t just singing and playing music for ourselves, music therapy is so much more than that; we are using our talents to help people.”

Music therapy students are required to complete a 12 hour practicum each semester in order to graduate. “Our main goal is to help patients use music to complete tasks that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to,” said Selitto. “If we can be a distraction, lift their spirits, and help relax them, if only for a few minutes at a time, then we are successful.”

Dr. Michelle Hairston, professor and chair of music education and music therapy department at ECU explained that a music therapist is constantly assessing the responses of the patient and uses his or her training to formulate a goal– and then work on it immediately. “Music is the powerful tool that reaches the soul of every individual. It is nonthreatening and inviting,” said Dr. Hairston. “Music engages patients immediately, and the personal connection of the music therapist keeps that connection going. The power of the music, the human contact (by the music therapist) and the goal-directed interaction of the two, is what makes music therapy work.”

Patricia Rice, a physician assistant at Vidant Medical Center, has been a practicum mentor for the music therapy students for the last three years. “The influence that these students have with the patients is remarkable,” Rice said. “They have a way of using music to help the patients with pain management, relaxation, and increasing physical activity which helps the patients reengage into life.”

Their influence is especially true in regards to the Daniels family. Brenda Daniels was so impressed and inspired by Bernstein and Selitto, that she asked if they would perform at her husband’s funeral. The girls obliged and sang several hymns, including Amazing Grace. “I wish that I could repay them, for what they gave to me and my husband with their music,” Daniels said. “I’ve never experienced anything like that in my entire life.”

For more information about the ECU Music Therapy program, please contact Dr. Michelle Hairston at

Courtesy of Vidant Health Corporate Communications

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