Brody women scientists, clinicians host workshop for middle-school girls

A couple dozen seventh and eight grade female students from three Pitt County schools recently participated in a Biomedical STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Workshop at the Brody School of Medicine.

The May 12 event was sponsored by the Brody Women Faculty Committee in collaboration with East Carolina University’s chapter of Graduate Women in Science.

Dr. Lisandra de Castro Bras, assistant professor in the Department of Physiology, works with student Kimya Boyd.

Dr. Lisandra de Castro Bras, assistant professor in the Department of Physiology, works with student Kimya Boyd. (Photos by Gretchen Baugh)

The students participated in basic science experiments, lunched with basic sciences and clinical faculty, and joined in a medical simulation at Brody. Faculty, post-doctoral and graduate student volunteers ensured the daylong event was packed with fun-filled activities, advice and support for the future scientists and clinicians.

“The students left with smiles on their faces. It’s very rewarding to know that we had a positive impact on them,” said Dr. Lisa Domico, teaching assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and chair of Brody women faculty.

“This is where we need to start instilling a sense of support, confidence and a need to explore academic options,” she added. “The day was a success and we…were happy to be a part of it and lend to the growth and exploration of the biomedical sciences.”

Dr. Lisandra de Castro Bras, assistant professor in the Department of Physiology, demonstrates a tool for students.

Dr. Lisandra de Castro Bras demonstrates a medical tool for students.

“My favorite thing that happened was when we got to pretend like we were doctors and got to solve a medical scenario,” said Kimya Boyd, a participant from Wellcome Middle School. “We got to see a simulation doll act like a real patient. It sweated and even trembled like a real person. This is definitely a field trip I would recommend to others.”

–Amy Ellis

College of Nursing honors 2016 Hall of Fame inductees

The East Carolina University College of Nursing inducted 11 members to its Hall of Fame during a ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel Greenville on Friday, April 15. The event, which also recognized the college’s 2016 Distinguished Alumnus, honored outstanding contributors to nursing in the areas of education, administration, research and practice.

2016 Hall of Fame inductees, from left, Sandra Smith, Sue Edwards, Wendy Leutgens, Jane Pearson, Donna Lake, Janice Neil, Annette Peery, Mary Chatman and Gina Woody, with Dean Sylvia Brown.

2016 Hall of Fame inductees, from left, Sandra Smith, Sue Edwards, Wendy Leutgens, Jane Pearson, Donna Lake, Janice Neil, Annette Peery, Mary Chatman and Gina Woody, with Dean Sylvia Brown. (Contributed photos)

This year’s class includes inductees from a range of impressive backgrounds, including two nurses who serve as leaders of major health systems; two who led accomplished, decades-long careers in the U.S. Military before pursuing inspired careers in health care and education; and several esteemed College of Nursing faculty members.

Not only does the Hall of Fame honor prominent nursing professionals, it has raised approximately $95,000 for a merit-based student scholarship fund since its inception in 2011. The 2015-2016 Hall of Fame Scholarship recipient, Tyler Knowles of Conover, North Carolina and a master’s student in the nurse anesthetist program, was recognized at the event. The college will award its sixth Hall of Fame Scholarship this fall.

“We created the Hall of Fame when we realized there were so many respected leaders who were graduates or supporters of our college and who have been leaders in our profession,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the College of Nursing. “It’s an opportunity to honor their contributions and also a way to give back to future generations of nurses through the scholarship program.”

Distinguished Alum Wendy Leutgens is pictured with Dean Dr. Sylvia Brown. Wendy is president of Loyola University Health System in Maywood, IL. (Contributed photo)

Distinguished Alum Wendy Leutgens is pictured with Dean Dr. Sylvia Brown. Wendy is president of Loyola University Health System in Maywood, IL. 

The 2016 inductees join a list of 79 Hall of Fame members representing nine states. Each new member receives a flame-shaped award that resembles the lamp illustrated on the college’s nursing pin. The lamp and its associated flame symbolize a commitment to service and a vibrant life. This year’s Hall of Fame class:

  • Mary Chatman, Savannah, Ga.
  • Sue Edwards, Ayden, N.C.
  • Ann King, Clayton, N.C.
  • Donna Lake, Goldsboro, N.C.
  • Wendy Leutgens, Oak Park, Ill.
  • Janice Neil, Winterville, N.C.
  • Jane Pearson, Forest, Va.
  • Annette Peery, Greenville, N.C.
  • Loretta Ritter, Milford, Pa.
  • Sandra Smith, Williamsburg, Va.
  • Gina Woody, Winterville, N.C.

On a night set aside for celebrating influential nurse leaders, the college also recognized the recipient of its 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award. This year’s awardee is Wendy Leutgens (MSN 87), who serves as the president of Loyola University Health System, an 801-bed academic medical center and health system in Maywood, Illinois.

Learn more about the College of Nursing’s Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumnus Award by visiting www.nursing.ecu.edu/hof.cfm.

–Elizabeth Willy

ECU named top school for military spouses

East Carolina University has been named one of the top 100 schools in the nation for military spouses.

ECU is the only university in North Carolina to receive Victory Media’s Military Spouse Friendly School designation.

MF16_SpouseSchool

As such, ECU demonstrates “best practices in the education of military spouses and military families,” according to Victory Media, which measured universities on 10 criteria from academic and military family support to offering programs leading to portable career opportunities.

Earning the designation brings great pride, said Rondall Rice, chair of ECU’s Academic Military Affairs Committee, which completed the surveys and compiled information for the designations.

“Having served 29 years in the Air Force, I know the importance of military spouses and families, and the hardships they endure to allow their loved one to serve the nation. Being Military Spouse Friendly recognizes that ECU values their sacrifice and has programs and policies in place to help them achieve their academic goals,” Rice said.

This is the fifth military friendly-related designation this academic year, Rice said, which is a testament to ECU’s campus-wide efforts to make it a welcoming and beneficial place for military students, veterans and their families.

“This specific student population is focused and hard-working, but often face difficulties and unique situations due to their service,” Rice said. “We are proud to work with them all to help them earn their degrees.”

In the fall, the Military Times ranked ECU 28th in its Best for Vets: Colleges 2016 – the highest ranked in North Carolina. ECU also was named a Military Friendly School, which recognizes the top 20 percent of trade schools, colleges and universities that are doing the most to embrace service members, veterans and their families. The other two designations given to ECU are the Military Times’ Best for Vets: Business Schools and Victory Media’s Top 50 Military Friendly Schools for jobs in the pharmaceutical and health care industry.

ECU offers participation in the Veterans Administration Yellow Ribbon Program, which extends GI Bill benefits to cover out-of-state tuition. ECU also has one of only 79 VA-funded Veterans Support on Campus representatives across the nation and the only one in North Carolina.

Other support groups on campus include the student-led Pirate Veterans and the ECU Student Veteran Services office which offers Green Zone training for faculty and staff to increase understanding of military and veteran students and issues they may face in college. ECU also has programs to award academic credit for military training using American Council on Education recommendations. And ECU’s Military Advisory Committee helps raise scholarship money for ROTC and military students and coordinates veterans recognition and military appreciation events.

Victory Media’s Military Friendly Guide is the premier resource used by military personnel and their families when choosing an institution of higher learning. The publication is distributed to all base education centers worldwide and offered to every military member at retirement or transition from service to civilian life. More information about the new designation can be found at https://militaryfriendly.com/militaryspouseschools/.

–Crystal Baity

ECU celebrates International Women’s Day

Voices were raised and myths began to shatter during International Women’s Day March 3 at East Carolina University.

About 100 people including faculty, staff and students attended ECU’s third annual observation of the day recognizing the achievements and challenges of women around the world, celebrated in various forms since the early 1900s.

“It was really well attended,” said ECU staff member and event organizer Rai D’Honore, a member of the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women, which sponsored the event.

Intl Womens Day1.JPG

“The purpose was to examine some critical issues of gender relations and to inspire people both at ECU and in the community to work together to resolve such issues,” D’Honore said.

The theme of the day was “Sex, Violence, and Gender Roles.” National and local leaders including several officials from ECU and Pitt County led panel discussions on topics like the narrow portrayal of genders in the media, the perils of prosecuting sexual assault cases, transgender issues, and remedying intimate partner violence and the stigma surrounding it.

“There is a need to shatter the silence,” said keynote speaker Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis, an associate professor of psychology at Pepperdine University and a nationally recognized expert on sexual trauma and healing.

“What does recovery look like? I looked around and I didn’t see any examples,” said Bryant-Davis, who is a survivor of sexual trauma herself. “If we speak, we tend to speak from a broken place. When we recover we often stop speaking out.”

Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis, a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University and national expert on recovery after sexual trauma, addressed approximately 100 people during her keynote address in Mendenhall Student Center as part of International Women’s Day at East Carolina University on March 3.

Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis, a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University and national expert on recovery after sexual trauma, addressed approximately 100 people during her keynote address in Mendenhall Student Center as part of International Women’s Day at East Carolina University on March 3.

Bryant-Davis led listeners in a chant of “silence no more, I was born to roar” and encouraged men in the audience to participate as well. She acknowledged that men can be both survivors and allies in efforts against gender violence.

“It is so important to have male allies and create space for everyone at the table,” Bryant-Davis said. “People think feminists hate men but that is not so. We must build up our entire community while addressing issues of gender.”

Essential to recovery after sexual assault is for victims to reclaim their sexuality, according to Bryant-Davis.

“Often people don’t talk about sex except for the ugliness of it,” she said. “Sexuality is a gift. It is part of who we are and should be celebrated.”

Sex is everywhere, but society says we can’t talk openly about it, ECU Victim Advocate Kat Bursky told listeners during her panel, “The Myth of the Slut.”

Women can often be the biggest perpetuators of this myth by shaming other women, Bursky said, which is makes it all the more important to criticize cultural norms and speak out in support of victims of sexual assault or shaming.

“I do not buy into the idea that women are competitive and do not get along,” Bryant-Davis said. “That is a myth we are taught. When we build each other up, there is no stopping us.”

International Women’s Day is sponsored by the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women with support from the Office of the Provost, the Division of Student Affairs and ECU Women’s Studies. For more information on the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women, visit http://www.ecu.edu/women.

–Jackie Drake

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.

Tuttle-Newhall

Tuttle-Newhall

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.

ECU celebrates International Women’s Day

The 2015 celebration of International Women’s Day will be held Wednesday, March 4 in the Mendenhall Student Center, Great Rooms 1 & 2. The day features a series of speakers on the following topics:

8-8:50 a.m. International Perspectives on Women’s Status
A discussion between representatives from the University of Gdansk, Poland; Fatima Jinnah Women’s University, Pakistan; and Covenant University, Nigeria.

9-9:50 a.m. Women in the Media
Beth Mendelson has more than 25 years experience in media and is currently executive producer at Voice of America. Her portfolio includes broadcast, radio and the web. Mendelson was Winner of the 2006 Women of Vision Award by Women in Film & Video.

10-10:50 a.m. Women in Religion
Ann Harrington was recently ordained as a priest by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, a renewal movement within the Roman Catholic Church whose goal is to achieve full equality for all within the church as a matter of justice and faithfulness to the gospel.

11-11:50 a.m. Women in Social Justice
Shirrell Thomas has more than 40 years experience working on domestic violence. She leads the social enterprise section of the Center for Family Violence Prevention. Her initiative of My Sister’s Closet plays a major role in aiding victims of domestic violence in our community.

Noon-12:15 p.m. Is There Still Bias Against Women?
Brody School of Medicine professor Rachel Roper shares the latest studies on this subject.

12:15-12:30 p.m. ECU Chapter of She’s the First
ECU student and chapter president Keerthana Velappan shares information about this organization, which sponsors girls’ education in low-income countries, giving them the chance to become the first in their families to graduate from secondary school.

12:30-2 p.m. Lunch and ECU Panel on Sexual Harassment
Speakers include ECU students, faculty and staff.

2-2:50 p.m. Women in Romance
Laurie Kahn is a resident scholar at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center. Her film “Tupperware!” was broadcast in more than 20 countries, won the George Foster Peabody Award and was nominated for an Emmy. Kahn is executive producer of The Popular Romance Project, which explores the origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs and Internet fan fiction.

3-3:50 p.m. Women in Health Care
Dr. Janice Daugherty, assistant professor of Family Medicine at the Brody School of Medicine. Her interests include women’s health through the lifespan, integrative mental health care, nutrition and wellness and chronic disease mitigation.

International Women’s Day is sponsored by the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Student Affairs and ECU Women’s Studies.

Individuals requesting accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact the Department for Disability Support Services at least 48 hours prior to the event at (252) 737-1016 (Voice/TTY).

Pirates tackling heart disease during February

East Carolina University’s Division of Student Affairs will hold a number of events in February to raise awareness about heart health and heart disease during national Heart Health Month.

ECU Campus Recreation and Wellness will kick off the events with a Heart Health Extravaganza from 4 until 6 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Student Recreation Center. Attendees will have an opportunity to visit healthy stations to learn about stress, heart health, blood pressure and more. All student participants will be entered to win a FitBit wristband activity tracking device.

On Feb. 4 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Campus Wellness staff and students will distribute heart health information across campus. Campus Recreation and Wellness will join Campus Dining staff Feb. 9 and Feb. 12 to teach students about healthy food choices and portion sizes in West End and Todd dining halls.

On Feb. 6, all members of the ECU community will be urged to wear red for National Wear Red Day, as a sign of support for fighting heart disease. All those dressed in red will be asked to gather for a group photo at 12:15 p.m. at the Student Recreation Center.

Shane Stephens

Shane Stephens

“When people wear the red, it’s a reminder that heart disease is a real disease,” said Shane Stephens, assistant director of wellness programs in Campus Recreation and Wellness. “The red will remind us to make the choices we need to make to fight this disease and live longer happier lives.

“Students don’t typically perceive heart disease as being dangerous because they think they are too young,” said Stephens, but the American Heart Association reports that one out of every three women die from heart disease or stroke. It’s still the number one killer in the country.

“We are creating awareness and helping our young women learn that today’s decisions about smoking, food choices and exercise can have positive or negative impacts later in life,” Stephens said.

For additional information about Heart Health Month visit the American Heart Association website (www.heart.org). For more on ECU events and programs, contact Shane Stephens, assistant director of wellness programs, at Stephenssh@ecu.edu or 252-737-4892.

Women’s Roundtable Book Club discusses Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’

Members of the ECU Women's Roundtable book club gathered April 9 to discuss Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg.

Members of the ECU Women’s Roundtable book club gathered April 9 to discuss “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

By Jamitress Bowden
ECU News Services

“Sister Talk,” the book club of East Carolina University’s Women’s Roundtable, met April 9 for the second time since its founding fall semester 2013.

The book club is composed of female ECU students who read a selected book focused on the topic of women in leadership. The book club includes mostly Access Scholarship recipients, who once a semester gather in Chancellor Steve Ballard’s residence with Nancy Ballard; Valeria Lassiter, chair of the Women’s Roundtable; Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor of Student Affairs; Marcy Romary, director of Women’s Philanthropy at ECU; and other roundtable members.

At this book club meeting, the women leaned into each other as they discussed lessons and realizations from “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg. Sandberg is the chief operating officer at Facebook. In the book she tells the story of how she embraced leadership throughout her life.

The book was chosen after the club read about Sandberg in last semester’s book, “How Great Women Lead” written by Bonnie St. John and her teenage daughter Darcy Deane.

“As a young woman striving towards leadership positions, I feel alone in some of my experiences and this book reminds me I am in good company with powerful women with similar experience,” said Taylor Waters, ECU junior and member of the book club. Waters said that the women in the book club were insightful and she found the conversation enlightening.

The group is intended to open a dialogue on leadership between the women.

“What I enjoyed most about our discussion is the refreshing feeling of talking to women about real issues and changes that need to be made with women in society,” said Kenya Shakir, ECU junior and member of the book club.

Next semester, the book club will read “The Power of Nice” by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval. Thaler and Koval serve respectively as the chief executive officer and president of the advertising agency Kaplan Thaler Group.

Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, was among the Women's Roundtable members present at the meeting of the organization's book club.

Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, was among the Women’s Roundtable members present at the meeting of the organization’s book club.

Seven women represent ECU in BRIDGES program

Seven East Carolina University women graduated this fall from the BRIDGES XIX academic leadership program. Pictured at the 2011 BRIDGES graduation are, left to right, Kathryn Verbanac, Lisa Clough, Susan Beck-Frazier, Cheryl McFadden, Tracy Gurnsey and Carol A. Brown. Participant Holly Hapke was not present for the photograph. (Contributed photo)

 

Seven East Carolina University women were selected to participate in BRIDGES XIX, an intensive academic leadership and professional development program for women held Sept. 9 through Nov. 12.

Selected from ECU were Susan Beck-Frazier, associate dean in the College of Fine Arts and Communication; Lisa Clough, professor of biology; Holly Hapke, professor of geography; education professors Cheryl McFadden and Carol A. Brown; Tracy Gurnsey, autopsy facility manager and medical laboratory supervisor in Pathology at the Brody School of Medicine; and Kathryn Verbanac, professor of surgery at the Brody School of Medicine.

Verbanac was elected to serve a 3-year term on the BRIDGES Advisory Board.

Over the course of four weekends in Chapel Hill, N.C., participants hone their leadership and communication skills while developing a stronger understanding of the academy. The program helps female university faculty and administrators identify, understand and move into leadership roles within higher education.

For additional information about the BRIDGES program, visit http://fridaycenter.unc.edu/pdep/bridges/.