Category Archives: Health and Human Performance

ECU systematic review explains higher incidence of respiratory diseases in LGB community

A systematic research review conducted recently at East Carolina University sheds light on why sexual minorities have a greater chance of developing respiratory diseases.

Dr. Joseph Lee, assistant professor in ECU’s Department of Health Education and Promotion in the College of Health and Human Performance, set out to learn more about why sexual minorities experience respiratory diseases at a higher rate, and he had a hunch their environments played a big part. However, data about where lesbian, gay and bisexual people are most likely to live wasn’t readily available.

Kerry Sewell, research librarian for Laupus Library’s Systematic Review Service

Kerry Sewell, research librarian for Laupus Library’s Systematic Review Service (Photo by Kelly Rogers Dilda)

So he partnered with Kerry Sewell, research librarian for ECU’s Laupus Library, University of New Mexico graduate student Kasim Ortiz and international collaborator and human geographer Dr. Thomas Wimark from Stockholm University in Sweden to conduct a systematic review – a formal research study that follows a clear-cut model to find, assess and examine research that tried to answer a similar question.

“The limited data available on lesbian and gay lives meant that it was critically important to identify high-quality information from multiple disciplines,” Lee said.

“When there are such gaps in the literature, it’s important to use systematic research methodologies to bring together all of the existing evidence in one place,” said Sewell. “Outcomes of a systematic review can present a reliable depiction of what is known and what remains uncertain.”

The team found 51 quantitative papers addressing the topic from multiple fields and found clear evidence of a pattern that LGB people are more likely to live in urban areas, as well as in areas with more air pollution and more tobacco retailers. The data also suggests that even when LGB people live in more prosperous regions, they’re living in poorer neighborhoods than their heterosexual counterparts.

“This review helps us explain the role of geography in why LGB people are more likely to have respiratory diseases and smoke than their straight counterparts,” Lee said.

These findings not only expand understanding of why certain health disparities exist, Lee said, but can also lead to improved health programs, health education and promotion campaigns for the LGB community.

Dr. Joseph Lee, assistant professor in ECU’s Department of Health Educations and Promotion in the College of Health and Human Performance

Dr. Joseph Lee, assistant professor in ECU’s Department of Health Educations and Promotion in the College of Health and Human Performance (Photo contributed by ECU News Services)

Lee added the findings would not have been possible without collaboration from a medical librarian.

Librarians in Laupus Library’s Systematic Review Service have unique skills that ensure the search for published studies is thorough, guarding against biased findings or recommendations that inform patient care, health care decision-making, research and policy.

“I’m pleased that the Laupus Systematic Review Service was able to bring state-of-the-art systematic review methods to pull together evidence from multiple fields, journals and even languages to inform health programs and future research,” Sewell said.

The review was published on June 27 by PLOS One, a peer-reviewed scientific journal of the Public Library of Science, where it became immediately accessible to the public at no cost.

“This article is a terrific example of how including a librarian on the research team enhances the outcomes of the scholarly product,” said Laupus Library Director Beth Ketterman. “We are very proud of the Systemic Review Service at Laupus Library, and encourage our ECU researchers to utilize this unique librarian skill set so that we can continue to partner in quality contributions to the health literature.”

No data was available on studies of transgender and transsexual populations, pointing to the need for continued research.

Read the full review at http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0198751.

Learn more about Laupus Library’s Systematic Review Service at http://libguides.ecu.edu/systematicreviewservice.

 

-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, University Communications

ECU researchers participate in Camp Lejeune symposium

Faculty members from East Carolina University participated in the eighth Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune Research Symposium on May 25.

ECU investigators were among the only civilian university participants to receive awards, according to James R. Menke, director of military research partnerships at ECU.

The following faculty members were recognized:

  • Stacey Meardon, assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy in the College of Allied Health Sciences, took first place in the Clinical Investigation Poster Competition.
  • Caitlin O’Connell, post-doctoral scholar in the Department of Kinesiology in the College of Health and Human Performance, took second place with her podium presentation titled “Detecting Sandbagging on Baseline Balance Tests.”
  • John Willson, associate professor of physical therapy, took third place for his podium presentation titled “Training Modifications to Reduce Knee Joint Load Following ACL Reconstruction.”

The symposium, hosted by the Family Medicine Residency Program at Camp Lejeune, showcases scholarly activity happening behind the scenes at the medical center. Staff and medical residents are involved in more than two dozen research projects, clinical studies and collaborative efforts.

From left, Drs. Stacey Meardon, Caitlin O'Connell and John Wilson are recognized during the Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune Research Symposium. (Contributed photos)

From left, Drs. Stacey Meardon, Caitlin O’Connell and John Wilson are recognized during the Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune Research Symposium. (Contributed photos)

 

-by Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

Health and Human Performance inducts six to the Wall of Fame

Six people were inducted on April 20 to the East Carolina University College of Health and Human Performance Marvin and Joyce Johnson Wall of Fame.

The inductees were Linner Griffin and Robin McManus, who were both inducted posthumously, along with Jannis Shea, Thom Skalko, Jerry Tolley and Odell Welborn. Welborn died May 10.

Griffin, professor emeritus at ECU, served on the ECU faculty from 1990 until her retirement in 2013. She served in a variety of roles including associate professor of social work and associate dean for graduate studies, interim dean of the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice, and associate provost for academic program planning and development.

McManus was an instructor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science and lead teacher in the infant classroom of the child development laboratory, now known as the Nancy Darden Child Development Center. She helped secure the center’s accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and a five-star child care license.

Shea’s teaching career spanned 37 years including two stints as acting chair for the Department of Child Development and Family Relations and as assistant to the dean for Helen Grove. She taught the first introduction to marriage and family course offered in home economics and every child development and family science course before the family therapy program was established. She served on the committee that developed the ECU code of operations and designed and helped implement the first interdisciplinary minor in gerontology at ECU.

The following people were recently inducted to the College of Health and Human Performance Marvin and Joyce Johnson Wall of Fame: from left, Jerry McManus representing the late Robin McManus, Bobby Griffin representing the late Linner Griffin, Thom Skalko, Jannis Shea and Jerry Tolley. Inductee Odell Welborn is not pictured.

The following people were recently inducted to the College of Health and Human Performance Marvin and Joyce Johnson Wall of Fame: from left, Jerry McManus representing the late Robin McManus, Bobby Griffin representing the late Linner Griffin, Thom Skalko, Jannis Shea and Jerry Tolley. Inductee Odell Welborn is not pictured. (contributed photo)

Skalko served as a professor at ECU from 1996-2017 including as chair of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies from 1996-2004. He directed the ECU Horizons Day Treatment program, providing intervention for youth with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. Skalko collaborated with educators in South Africa to establish the country’s first degree in recreational therapy.

Tolley has been an active member of the college’s Dean’s Advancement Council for decades and a longtime supporter of ECU athletics. A track and football athlete at ECU, Tolley coached football at Elon College, where he led the team to national titles in 1980 and 1981. He held academic and administrative positions at Elon University and served as associate vice president of Laboratory Corporation of America. He is a nationally known sports author and serves as the mayor of Elon.

Welborn, faculty emeritus at ECU, coached the Pirate wrestling, track and football teams between 1960 and 1992. He led the football team after Coach Clarence Stasavich had a heart attack in 1963. Welborn posted an undefeated record as interim head coach and continued as an assistant after Stasavich’s return, helping the Pirates win two consecutive bowl games. He was inducted in the ECU College of Education’s Educators Hall of Fame in 2010. He taught health, physical education, driver education and traffic safety for decades.

The inductees joined 30 outstanding men and women already recognized on the College of Health and Human Performance Wall of Fame, which is on the first floor of Rivers Building.

The wall was established with a $50,000 donation in 2015 in honor of Joyce Johnson in support of the Department of Human Development and Family Science.

Marvin and Joyce Johnson met in the early 1950s at ECU where Marvin majored in physical education and Joyce in home economics. Marvin Johnson was drafted into the Korean War and Joyce Johnson completed her degree. Following the war, they were married and raised their family in Atlanta.

Funds from the inductions help students in a variety of ways from membership fees for professional organizations and development to academic programming and events for outstanding seniors.

Angela Lamson, associate dean for research in the college and professor of human development and family science, served as master of ceremonies for the event.

 

-by Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

Honor a service member with a Memorial Walk commemorative brick

Anthony Britt, Associate Director for Administration & Summer School at ECU, honored three members of his family by placing bricks engraved with their names at the Memorial Walk at Christenbury Gym during a Veteran's Day ceremony in November. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

Anthony Britt, Associate Director for Administration & Summer School at ECU, honored three members of his family by placing bricks engraved with their names at the Memorial Walk at Christenbury Gym during a Veteran’s Day ceremony in November. (Photos by Rhett Butler)

Each November, the Office of Military Programs conducts a ceremony to honor those whose engraved brick pavers will become part of the Memorial Walk located west of Christenbury Memorial Gymnasium.

The project, by the College of Health and Human Performance and the Office of Military Programs, also raises funds for ROTC Army and Air Force Scholarships.

The decorative brick pavers, engraved with a selected name or phrase, can be purchased in honor of any living or deceased veteran or active duty service member, as well as anyone who has done something in support of our national defense, including helping with programs with the VA, Support The Troops, Wounded Warrior Project and similar activities.

East Carolina University’s faculty, staff, students and friends are able to purchase the commemorative bricks for family members or those who have served in the military. The cost is $125 – $25 buys the paver and pays for the engraving, and $100 goes for ROTC scholarships. The $100 of the cost is tax-deductible.

The November ceremony includes a segment where the family, friend and/or service member can lay the paver as part of the program. During this time, each name is read and the Victory Bell is struck to represent the service and sacrifice of the one honored.

The dedication for this year will be 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2. Paver orders will be accepted for this year’s ceremony until Sept. 7.

For more information and to access the order form, visit https://hhp.ecu.edu/2018/05/09/honor-a-service-member/.

The engraved bricks become part of the Memorial Walk outside of Christenbury Gym.

The engraved bricks become part of the Memorial Walk outside of Christenbury Gym.

Students attend first Social Work Career and Resource Fair

Alexis Brooks and Destiny Sanders, Bachelor of Social Work Student Association members, welcomed participants to the fair.  (Photo by Crystal Baity)

Alexis Brooks and Destiny Sanders, Bachelor of Social Work Student Association members, welcomed participants to the fair. (Photos by Crystal Baity)

East Carolina University’s School of Social Work held its first Social Work Career and Resource Fair on April 13 at the Holiday Inn in Greenville.

About 60 ECU students attended the fair, which featured 30 agencies and organizations. Following the fair, the school hosted an appreciation luncheon to thank field supervisors in the agencies and organizations for hosting student interns during the academic year.

The event was organized by LaTonya Gaskins, director of field education in the School of Social Work, and Janine Jason-Gay, assistant director.

Social work students Apriann Sutton, Brianna Best and Sydney Ferrer attended the 2018 Social Work Career and Resource Fair on April 13.

Social work students Apriann Sutton, Brianna Best and Sydney Ferrer attended the 2018 Social Work Career and Resource Fair on April 13.

 

-by Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

Simulation brings awareness about living in poverty

About 50 East Carolina University students recently assumed the role of a family member living in poverty while juggling monthly bills, buying food or going to the doctor.

The students took part in a community action poverty simulation on March 16 at the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU. The simulation was led by Tamra Church, a teaching instructor in the College of Health and Human Performance’s Department of Health Education and Promotion, Kim Werth, a counselor in the School of Dental Medicine, and the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement. Courtney Williams, a master’s student and graduate teaching assistant, was instrumental in planning, organizing and volunteering in the simulation as well as overseeing registration, lunch, snacks and community resource tables.

Students – most from a health behavior theory class in the Department of Health Education and Promotion - portray family members living on a budget in a recent poverty simulation held in the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU. (Photos by Josh Vaughan)

Students – most from a health behavior theory class in the Department of Health Education and Promotion – portray family members living on a budget in a recent poverty simulation held in the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU. (Photos by Josh Vaughan)

Church’s students are pre-health professionals and many are preparing for graduate school in physician assistant studies, occupational therapy, physical therapy, medicine, nursing or dentistry. Other graduates will go into the workforce where they will interact with people and patients from all walks of life.

“It was an opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of someone experiencing poverty,” Church said. “My goals for the simulation were to change beliefs about people experiencing poverty, increase students’ empathy towards people living in poverty and encourage them to get involved in more civic engagement.”

A student receives information for her simulation.

A student receives information for her simulation.

In the simulation, students were assigned to a family unit ranging from a single parent without a car to an elderly person having to pay for heat and medication for a month. The students sometimes faced unexpected challenges such as a death in the family or a break-in at their home. They interacted with service providers including employers, bankers, grocers, public schools or police officers portrayed by 14 volunteers from the School of Social Work, Pitt County Health Department and community.

“The poverty simulation accurately demonstrated the roller coaster of life that people in poverty have to live to get by day to day,” said Harlee Rowe, a public health studies major. “It was a shock of reality to see how much needs to be changed to help these people in need.”

Emmanuel McLeod, who is also in the public health studies program, said the activity was an eye-opening experience. “It has helped me to understand the daily lives they may face, and how the majority of the things they go through are out of their control,” McLeod said. “Despite this, we can reach out as a community and support those who need it.”

Students review materials for a community action poverty simulation held March 16.

Students review materials for a community action poverty simulation held March 16.

The simulation also taught students about available resources in the community.

After the event, some students said they planned to start having conversations about poverty while others planned to volunteer or start writing local government about issues.

“It changed my perception of how families in poverty deal with daily life struggles (that) the people who are not in poverty never have to think twice about,” said public health studies student Angela Bracco.

Church plans to offer the simulation each semester.

 

-by Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

HHP honors outgoing Dean Glen Gilbert

Family, friends, faculty and staff from the College of Health and Human Performance and across East Carolina University and beyond celebrated Glen Gilbert’s service to ECU at a ceremony Dec. 7 in the Murphy Center.

Gilbert has led the college for 18 years, the longest serving dean at ECU. The college is one of the largest on campus and includes the departments of health education and promotion, human development and family science, interior design and merchandising, kinesiology, recreation and leisure studies, social work and ECU’s Air Force and Army ROTC units.

Dean Glen Gilbert (Photos by Crystal Baity)

Dean Glen Gilbert (Photos by Crystal Baity)

An educator for more than 50 years, Gilbert joined ECU in 1997 as chair of the Department of Health Education and Promotion. Through the years, he served in many leadership roles including as interim vice chancellor for research and graduate studies and interim vice chancellor for advancement. He received the James R. Talton Leadership Award earlier this year. Gilbert will leave the HHP dean’s post later this month.

“It goes by pretty fast,” Gilbert said. “I often say I’m a dean of ‘do-gooders.’ They do so much that they make me look good. The reason I stayed so long is because of all of you.”

He thanked his wife, Rose, and his children Jessica, Jennifer and Jeffrey for their constant support. Daughter Jennifer, who is a makeup and hair designer aboard Disney Dream, couldn’t attend but videoed a special message to her father. His oldest, Jessica, flew 3,000 miles from Oregon.

To recognize Gilbert’s extraordinary leadership and service, the HHP Advancement Council has established a new student scholarship in his name. It will be awarded to a student who demonstrates leadership potential and academic achievement.

Among the many accolades, awards and gifts, Susan McGhee, who retired earlier this year as associate dean of the college, presented Gilbert with a Centennial Leadership Medallion.

Lt. Col. April Wimmer, professor of aerospace studies and commander of the ECU Air Force ROTC program, presented Gilbert a framed flag that flew over Afghanistan.

Left to right, Jessica Gilbert Beck, Rose Gilbert, Glen Gilbert, and Jeff and Francesca Gilbert following the reception.

Left to right, Jessica Gilbert Beck, Rose Gilbert, Glen Gilbert, and Jeff and Francesca Gilbert following the reception.

Attendees were encouraged to post from the ceremony at #ECUHHPThanksDeanGilbert, which lit up the Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium scoreboard throughout the evening.

 

-by Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

ECU Club Baseball’s Tanner Duncan signs contract with MLB’s Houston Astros

Tanner Duncan has been on a whirlwind ride during the month of June. The ECU Pirate has experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows.

On June 1, Tanner led the ECU Club Baseball team to a World Series National Championship, winning 1-0 in ten innings over Central Florida. He was almost perfect in the World Series, surrendering no runs and only five hits in 18 innings pitched. He won both games and was named the NCBA World Series Most Valuable Player.

“I can’t describe the feeling of winning that championship,” said Duncan. “These coaches, my teammates and the ECU Club baseball program just came together and worked so hard to make this dream come true.”

ECU Club Baseball won the Club Baseball World Series. (Contributed photos)

ECU Club Baseball won the Club Baseball World Series. (Contributed photos)

Tanner Duncan rode that wave for about 10 days while he waited for the Major League Baseball draft on June 12-14. Like hundreds of baseball players around the country, he hoped his phone would ring and a professional baseball organization wanted him.

But the phone didn’t ring any of the three days.

“I was sitting on my couch thinking the dream was over. I had completed all my course work for my kinesiology degree and was trying to figure what in the world I was going to do with my life. I just kept thinking, I am a baseball player. I want to play baseball.”

Then, the game changed. His phone rang.

 

Lifelong Dream

At three years of age, Tanner Duncan knew what he was going to be when he grew up.

“I was going to be a professional baseball player,” Duncan said. “I always thought I was good enough even when others didn’t agree.”

Duncan started playing t-ball in his hometown of Tabor City, North Carolina. His parents, Greg and Wendy Duncan, spent the next 15 years taking Tanner from ball field to ball field, from Little League and Summer Travel Leagues to the high school diamonds.

Tanner found success at pretty much every level as a hitter and fielder. He received a few offers to play college baseball from some Division III schools, but chose to attend East Carolina University and try his best to walk on and make the team.

Duncan was named Player of the game.

Duncan was named Player of the game.

“I tried out as a shortstop during my first year at ECU, but I just didn’t make the cut,” Duncan said. “I just knew that I was good enough if I could just get a chance to prove it.”

Tanner Duncan had heard about ECU’s club baseball team and thought it would be a great way to keep his dream alive. He converted from shortstop to pitcher during that first season. Duncan’s goal was to work as hard as he could and try out again the next season.

“The guys on our club team were just special. They work their tails off in every practice and every game and wanted to win a championship.”

A championship didn’t come and neither did a spot on the team after trying out again the following season. But Tanner wasn’t going to stop.

“My parents always believed in me,” said Duncan. “They told me anything was possible if you were willing to work at it. So, I kept working.”

During his junior year, Tanner Duncan and the ECU Club baseball team made it to the World Series but lost in the championship game to Nevada. In 2017, the team was back in the World Series and entered as the number one ranked team in the country.

Tanner had an amazing season on the mound. He won nine games, only losing one. He pitched 75 innings, striking out 132 batters and garnered a stunning 0.84 earned run average. That means every time he pitched the opposing team averaged less than one run per game.

“The ECU Club Baseball program was a blessing for me,” Duncan said. “I am so appreciative to the folks in Campus Recreation and Wellness, the club sports organizers and everyone that helped this team win a championship.”

And so after the MLB draft, Tanner Duncan thought the end of his baseball career may be here. Then, while sitting on his couch contemplating his future, the phone rang and he was offered a chance to pitch in front of professional scouts.

 

Three Days of Craziness

Tanner hopped in his car and drove to Richmond, Virginia to showcase his talents for pro scouts. It was his one true chance to demonstrate his skills, his passion and his desire to become a professional baseball player.

Tanner Duncan signs with the Astros. (contributed photos)

Tanner Duncan signs with the Astros. (contributed photos)

“It was a lot of pressure, but I just believed that I could do it. When I was done, I just didn’t know if it would be enough.”

It was enough. Less than an hour later, as he was heading back home to North Carolina, his phone rang. He was being offered a spot with the Houston Astros organization.

“There wasn’t much time to celebrate. I was on a plane the next morning at 6 a.m., headed to West Palm Beach, Florida to join the Gulf Coast League Astros.”

On June 23, he officially signed a contract with the Astros organization and was assigned to the Rookie League. He pitched two innings of shutout relief on June 27 and is expected to see his first action as a starting pitcher on July 3.

And while you can’t wipe the smile off his face right now, he hasn’t forgotten there is still more to accomplish.

“Becoming a pro baseball player is great, but it’s only step one. Now I have to work hard enough to move up. Level by level, I will keep working. And even if I make it to the big leagues (Major League Baseball), I will not quit working.”

Tanner said he learned that from playing Club Baseball at ECU.

“Resilience, persistence and relentless. That’s what I learned at East Carolina and those same words are going to keep the fire in me burning.”

 

 

-by Chris Stansbury, Student Affairs 

ECU professor to chair national NIH study section

Dr. Joseph Houmard, the LeRoy T. Walker Distinguished Professor in kinesiology at East Carolina University, will serve as chairperson of the Clinical and Integrative Diabetes and Obesity study section for the Center for Scientific Review.

The Center for Scientific Review is the central point for all research and training grant applications submitted to the National Institutes of Health, the nation’s medical research agency. The center helps to ensure that NIH grant applications receive fair, independent, expert and timely reviews that are free from inappropriate influences to provide funding for the most promising research, according to the website.

The Clinical and Integrative Diabetes and Obesity study section primarily reviews clinical or patient-oriented research applications related to the prevention, development and treatment of diabetes and/or obesity. Interventions could include diet, exercise, lifestyle, surgery or medications.

Dr. Joseph Houmard. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Dr. Joseph Houmard. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Houmard’s two-year term begins July 1 and will end on June 30, 2019.

Members are selected based on demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline including research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals and other activities and honors. Service requires the ability to work effectively in a group as well as mature judgment and objectivity, according to the center.

Houmard is the director of the ECU Human Performance Lab in the College of Health and Human Performance and his areas of expertise include exercise and obesity. He is helping lead a groundbreaking national, six-year study to better understand the body’s response to exercise in conjunction with scientists at Duke University and Wake Forest University.

 

 

-by Crystal Baity

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