Category Archives: Women

Serving women who serve: Symposium to address military women’s health

What does a veteran look like?

The only way to know for sure if someone is a veteran is to ask – but people don’t often ask women. This can have significant implications when it comes to health care.

“Once upon a time it was a given that all men served. But having women in the military is not new. Somehow it’s still always a shock when people find out I was in the Army,” Teri Reid said.

Reid spent eight years on active duty and 20 years in the reserves as a nurse in the Army, part of a tradition that dates back to the foundation of the Army Nurse Corps in 1901.

While Reid considers herself fortunate to have not had any major health issues, as a veteran and a health care professional, she knows how important it is for providers to understand their patients’ experiences.

Master Chief Petty Officer Patrice (Pat) Frede, U.S. Navy. Frede works in ECU Human Resources.

Master Chief Petty Officer Patrice (Pat) Frede, U.S. Navy. Frede works in ECU Human Resources. (Contributed photo)

Area health care providers will have a chance to learn more about women service members like Reid at the second annual Military Women’s Health Symposium on Sept. 19. Organized by East Carolina University, Durham VA Medical Center, Eastern Area Health Education Center and other partners, this symposium was started to bring both civilian and military providers together to share emerging knowledge and best practices in treating this population.

There are more than 82,500 women veterans in North Carolina, according to 2017 statistics from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In active duty, women comprise about 15 percent of the armed forces and serve in ever-expanding roles.

Reid attended the first conference in Greenville in 2017 after her friend and former supervisee Chrissy Sanford invited her to come along. Sanford was also in the Army Nurse Corps with 20 years of service. Both Reid and Sanford are pediatric nurse practitioners. Reid served on various bases in the U.S. treating soldiers’ children. Sanford served in various capacities, including deployment to Iraq in 2006-07 where she helped treat Iraqi children among other duties.

“Last year’s conference sounded so applicable to what we experienced and what we thought needed to be discussed,” Sanford said. “I think the conference was very good – so many different topics of discussion and great audience participation. I think it was very beneficial for all the participants. It brought up many issues specific to female veterans.”

This year’s topics include cardiovascular risk, musculoskeletal injuries, sexual trauma, suicide risk and prevention, transgender care and more. Other activities include a panel discussion with military women and trauma-sensitive yoga.

“Women comprise the fastest-growing veteran subpopulation,” said Dr. Keita Franklin, executive director for suicide prevention at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. Franklin is scheduled to present at the conference.

“Our most recent data tells us that in 2015, the suicide rate for all women veterans was about two times higher compared with non-veteran women, after adjusting for age,” Franklin said. “We know that no one organization alone can prevent suicide. For us to truly prevent veteran suicide, our efforts must reach beyond outside our walls and traditional health care settings to involve peers, family members, organizations, and the community.”

The second annual Military Women’s Health Symposium — organized by East Carolina University, Durham VA Medical Center, Eastern Area Health Education Center and other partners — will be held on Sept. 19.

The second annual Military Women’s Health Symposium — organized by East Carolina University, Durham VA Medical Center, Eastern Area Health Education Center and other partners — will be held on Sept. 19. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

In addition to veterans, the conference will also focus on active duty service members.

“The key is understanding our lifestyle and what we go through, and realizing that everyone has a different experience,” said Lt. Col. Melissa Coleman of the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps at ECU. “For women, not only do we serve when we deploy, we’re also mothers and partners and caregivers – it affects all the other things we do and our loved ones.”

One of the most important things providers can do is ask women about past military service, Reid said, adding, “and don’t be shocked if she says yes.”

Military women’s health care needs can be unique and beyond the familiarity of a civilian provider, so they need to know which services are available to them, Sanford said. “People don’t know what to say other than thank you for your service. We’re honored and proud to serve, but we need more.”

This program is jointly provided by the Office of Continuing Medical Education of the Brody School of Medicine at ECU, University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Vidant Health, Duke Area Health Education Center, and the Durham VA Medical Center in association with Eastern Area Health Education Center.

To find out more or register for the conference, visit

Call for Health Stories from Military Women

Are you a woman who serves or has served in the military? Are you willing to share how your service has impacted your health? We want to hear from you! Eastern Area Health Education Center is collecting health stories and images from active duty and veteran women of eastern North Carolina. These stories and images will be compiled into posters to be displayed at the upcoming Military Women’s Health Symposium for health care providers on Sept. 19. These posters will also become a public traveling exhibit for area hospitals and campuses. The goal of this symposium is to advance care for women who serve and increase both civilian and military provider awareness of the issues military women face. Your stories will help local providers and the public better understand the unique health needs of military women.

Submissions will be collected through Aug. 17. Stories should be limited to 250 words and must be health-related. Not all submissions may be used and some may be edited for clarity. Images are optional but encouraged. Submissions may be anonymous. Email submissions to Jackie Drake at or call 252-744-5217.


-by Jackie Drake, University Communications

Brody administrator named fellow in newest class of emerging women leaders

A dean at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine has been awarded an international fellowship that recognizes her potential for executive leadership in academic medicine.

Dr. Leigh Patterson, associate dean for faculty development at Brody, has been named a 2018–19 Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine®(ELAM®) fellow.

Dr. Leigh Patterson

Dr. Leigh Patterson (Contributed photo)

The ELAM program is a year-long, part-time fellowship for women faculty in schools of medicine, dentistry, public health and pharmacy. The program hones the professional and personal skills required to lead and manage in today’s health care environment, with emphasis on the unique challenges facing women in leadership positions.

“To have Brody’s first ELAM fellow in many years is a testament to Dr. Patterson’s excellent reputation and vital experiences that make her stand out as a leader,” said Brody’s dean, Dr. Mark Stacy, who nominated Patterson for the fellowship. “She is committed to her development as a leader and to helping the Brody School of Medicine support its faculty and reach its full potential in all mission areas.”

The highly competitive ELAM program was developed for senior women faculty at the associate or full professor level who demonstrate the greatest potential for assuming executive leadership positions at academic health centers within the next five years.

The program is organized around three curricular threads: organizational perspectives and knowledge (a mini-executive MBA); emerging issues in leadership and academic health administration; and personal and professional development. Patterson will complete assessments and assignments online and attend sessions at designated locations around the country, including ELAM’s home institution, the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia.

One requirement of the fellowship is to conduct an Institutional Action Project, developed in collaboration with the fellow’s dean or other senior official. These action projects are designed to address an institutional or departmental need or priority.

“We are extremely excited to see the impact these women will have on their institutions as they work through the ELAM curriculum and develop their action projects,” said Dr. Nancy D. Spector, executive director of ELAM. “The projects the fellows conduct not only help them understand the challenges facing academic health centers and the skills a leader must possess to address these challenges, but also often result in concrete changes at their institutions.”

Patterson has served in a variety of leadership roles, including associate dean, residency program director, chair of Brody’s Executive Curriculum Committee, leader for the school’s recent curriculum transformation work and administrator in faculty development. She is also an associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. Her interests include exploring ways to preserve and optimize medical education and better defining faculty roles and titles.

“I want to grow the Office of Faculty Development here, and I believe this opportunity will help me,” Patterson said. “Many faculty affairs deans around the country have participated in this fellowship and attribute their successes in leading programs and initiatives to the lessons they learned there.”

Patterson is part of the 24th class of ELAM fellows, composed of 60 women from 53 institutions around the world. She joins two women leaders from Duke University to round out North Carolina’s 2018 contingent. Nearly 1,000 ELAM alumnae hold leadership positions in academic health centers.


-by Spaine Stephens, University Communications

ECU honored as a breastfeeding friendly workplace

East Carolina University has been recognized as a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace by the North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition, a nonprofit that protects and promotes breastfeeding.

ECU was recognized for providing space for breastfeeding and time for working mothers to continue their lactation needs after returning to work. Kelli Russell is a teaching instructor in ECU’s Department of Health Education and Promotion and co-chair of the Women and Gender Advancement Council’s lactation committee. She said ECU has a total of nine lactation rooms on main campus and health sciences campus for nursing mothers.

View of the lactation room in Ross Hall (Contributed photo)

View of the lactation room in Ross Hall (Contributed photo)

“The private rooms give students, faculty, staff and campus visitors a safe, clean place to breastfeed or pump,” said Russell.

In addition to privacy, the spacious rooms include comfortable seating, outlets, towels and other items nursing mothers may need. Some of the rooms also include sinks and cold storage.

“Awareness is key,” Russell said. “Our website lists where the rooms are located and how to access the rooms.”

To receive the Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace award, a location must meet strict guidelines and have accommodations in place to support breastfeeding mothers as employees.

Last summer ECU also received recognition for participating in World Breastfeeding Week sponsored by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action.

ECU to host international media and gender conference

East Carolina University will host the 2017 Console-ing Passions: International Conference on Television, Video, Audio, New Media and Feminism July 27-29. Registration will be held in the Bate Building at 8 a.m. each day.

Console-ing Passions was founded in 1989 by a group of feminist media scholars and artists looking to create a space to present work and foster scholarship on issues of television, culture and identity with an emphasis on gender and sexuality. Console-ing Passions is comprised of a board of scholars whose interests converge around the study of media. The first CP conference was held at the University of Iowa in 1992.

The conference promotes the discussion and awareness of issues of gender identity and expressions, among other topics. More than 200 people — undergraduate students, graduate students, professors, independent scholars and artists — will be presenting scholarly and creative work at the conference.

In support of its mission to rally the community towards a more productive dialogue about gender identity and representation, civil rights and public policy, the conference will feature two lunchtime roundtables devoted to discussing LGBT-related legislation in North Carolina. The conference will also host a fundraiser for ECU’s LGBT Resource Office on Friday, July 28 at Crave Restaurant, with music by Greenville’s Nuclear Twins. Funds raised will support student scholarships.

The conference’s opening session will take place at 6 p.m. July 27 in the Faulkner Gallery in Joyner Library.

Console-ing Passions is celebrating 25 years of international feminist media studies scholarship, and the CP@ECU plenary will be a celebration of the conference’s origins and founders. Two of the conference’s original founders — Mary Beth Haralovich of the University of Arizona and Lauren Rabinovitz or the University of Iowa — will reflect on Console-ing Passions’ origins, history and future. Board member Brenda Weber of Indiana University will also speak about how the organization has grown and changed over time and about the future of feminist media studies.

The conference keynote will begin at 6 p.m. in Fletcher Hall on July 29. Keynote speaker Michelle Lanier is the director of the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission and senior program director of Traditions & Heritage at the N.C. Arts Council. After a welcome by ECU Provost Ron Michelson, Lanier will deliver her talk, “Pine Straw, Tobacco Fund & the Secret/Sacred ‘Beading Bees’: Making Place and Meaning on these Afro-Carolina Landscapes.”

For more information, please visit

Contact: Dr. Amanda Klein, ECU Department of English,

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 Those interested in attending this conference can call 252-744-5208 for more information.


-by Jackie Drake, Eastern AHEC

ECU celebrates International Women’s Day

While policies and programs protecting women from violence have improved in the last 20 years, this progress is in danger of not being renewed or funded in the near future, according to a national expert who spoke to students and faculty at East Carolina University on March 2.

Jacquelyn Campbell, an authority on intimate partner violence from Johns Hopkins University, was the keynote speaker for the university’s celebration of International Women’s Day, hosted by the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women, the Office for Equity and Diversity, and the women’s studies program. Nearly 70 people attended the event, which was held a few days early since the actual observation on March 8 fell during spring break.

Jacquelyn Campbell, an authority on intimate partner violence from Johns Hopkins University, was the keynote speaker for the ECU’s celebration on March 2 of International Women’s Day. (Photos by Jackie Drake)

Jacquelyn Campbell, an authority on intimate partner violence from Johns Hopkins University, was the keynote speaker for the ECU’s celebration on March 2 of International Women’s Day. (Photos by Jackie Drake)

“All around the world, in spite of different cultural norms, what I find is that there are more similarities than differences,” said Campbell, who has studied gender-based violence for 20 years in several countries. “Women’s physical security is significantly associated with global peace and economic development.”

Women are killed by a partner or an ex at nine times the rate they are killed by a stranger, according to Campbell. There are more homicides of women in the U.S. than many other countries around the world, she added.

In the U.S., the Violence Against Women Act is up for renewal every five years, and is next due in 2018, she said. “This year is when we lay the groundwork, but it is in serious peril.”

The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which receives federal grants, is also in danger of losing funding, a participant told the audience.

Campbell presented several more statistics about violence against women in the U.S. and around the world, and also shared several organizations that are working to combat the problem, from Pigs for Peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to One Love Foundation, founded in memory of Yeardley Love, a University of Virginia student who was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend in 2010.

Almost 70 people attended International Women’s Day at ECU.

Almost 70 people attended International Women’s Day at ECU.

“Our solutions have to be effective at many different levels: cultural, economic and individual,” Campbell said. “I’m thrilled to be part of this celebration of International Women’s Day at ECU. And I’m pleased as punch to see a few men in the room. This can’t just be a women’s issue.”

International Women’s Day, which started in the U.S. in the 1910s, celebrates the achievements of women everywhere and acknowledges the challenges they face. The Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women began leading ECU’s celebrations in 2014.

Following the keynote luncheon, organizers held a call to action session that showcased campus and community organizations, like the Center for Family Violence Prevention in Greenville, so participants could get involved and stay active. The day ended with a screening and panel discussion of the movie “Embrace,” which depicts the story of Taryn Brumfitt, founder of the Body Image Movement.



-by Jackie Drake, Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women

ECU to celebrate women’s achievements and challenges

The Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women, the Women’s Studies program, and the Office for Equity and Diversity invites you to attend the ECU celebration of International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 2. The event will feature a keynote luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Mendenhall Great Rooms, followed by a movie screening and panel discussion from 5-7:30 p.m in Hendrix Theater.

Keynote speaker Jacquelyn Campbell. (photo contributed)

Keynote speaker Jacquelyn Campbell. (contributed photo)

Keynote speaker Jacquelyn Campbell, nationally renowned scholar in the field of intimate partner violence, will give a speech entitled “Strong Women Surviving: A Tribute to Survivors of Gender-Based Violence.” The evening movie is the documentary “Embrace,” which depicts the story of Taryn Brumfitt, founder of the Body Image Movement.

Participants are encouraged to bring donations of non-perishable food, cleaning supplies and/or personal hygiene products to support the Center for Family Violence Prevention.

Events are free but advance registration is requested. Click here to see the full schedule and register for activities.



-by Jackie Drake, Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women

Girl Scouts learn about careers in construction during ECU visit

Girl Scout troops from Farmville and Greenville came to East Carolina University on Saturday, Nov. 5 for a tour and informational event called, “Construction is Not Just for Boys.”

Gina Shoemaker, ECU’s assistant director for engineering and architectural services, and leader for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop, coordinated the event at the construction site for the university’s new student center on 10th Street.

The Girl Scouts receive instructions before going out to the construction site. (Contributed photo)

The Girl Scouts receive instructions before going out to the construction site. (Contributed photos)

“I know so many great women in the construction field, and I wanted the Scouts to know that girls really can do anything they set their minds to. I wanted to correct the mindset that construction is something boys grow up to do,” said Shoemaker.

Fifty girls got a behind-the-scenes look at the equipment and process from women and men leading the construction of the student center, a $122 million project set to open in 2018. The site has two large cranes and other heavy equipment, which Shoemaker said makes it impressive from a “Tonka toy” perspective. The participants also met women who work in bridge design, civil engineering, architecture, finance and interior design.

In addition to the tour, the scout troops received Build and Grow kits from Lowe’s, hard hats from Rodgers Builders and T-shirts from TA Loving.

“The girls seemed to have a great time and the parent feedback has been amazing,” said Shoemaker. “If just one girl remembers us telling them to not listen when people tell her, ‘girls can’t do that,’ and she proves them wrong – this event was worth every minute of planning.”

The scouts and their leaders pose for a photo after their day of fun.

The scouts and their leaders pose for a photo after their day of fun.

–Jamie Smith

Alumnae Spotlights: An entrepreneur and a mobile crisis director

At the age of five, Dana McQueen knew that she wanted to become an interior designer and her passion has helped her continue a family legacy.

McQueen earned a degree in interior design in 1992 and decided to return to her family’s business at McQueen’s Interiors in Morehead City.  She admits a family business can sometimes be complex but said the knowledge gained from earning her degree helped with a successful ownership transition.

Dana McQueen

Dana McQueen

“My passion for my clients and interior design coupled with my staff have kept this long-standing business alive,” McQueen said.  Since taking the helm, McQueen has improved business practices including adding a barcode system for inventory and hiring additional designers. She has also expanded the showroom, adding 4,000 sq. ft. of space.

Named Business Women of the Year in 2014 by Crystal Magazine, McQueen said her favorite class at ECU was space planning.  “I still use this knowledge every day,” she said.  “I know the world of computers has opened up so many opportunities with computer-aided design, but it is always best to know the basics with a pencil, paper, and a scale.”

As a successful business owner, McQueen knows firsthand the time involved in building a clientele and communicating with them regarding their wants and needs.  The best part of her job is seeing a project completed and a happy client she said.

Another successful College of Health and Human Performance alumna is leading the largest mobile crisis management service in the state.

Mona Townes, who earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in social work, oversees mobile crisis services to 23 eastern North Carolina counties provided by Integrated Family Services, PLLC.

“My passion is intervening when people are at their worst and to help them see that things can get better,” Townes said. Her team delivers integrated crisis response, crisis intervention and prevention 24/7 to any location in the community, according to the website. Townes said crisis intervention is challenging.

Mona Townes

Mona Townes

“The reward is when you work with a person who admits that without our support, without our ability to provide them with hope, they had planned on taking their life,” she said.

It was Townes’ time at ECU that helped shape her leadership skills.  “I learned that no matter what my background is or where I came from, I could be successful,” said Townes.  “I saw several highly educated and experienced women that looked like me.”

Her favorite course was Human Behavior and Social Environment taught by Dr. Lessie Bass.

Among her many accolades, Townes received the ECU School of Social Work 2015 Rising Star Award.  She serves as a member of the National Association of Social Workers and assists as a training instructor for the local Crisis Intervention Team.  She is a licensed clinical additions specialist associate and is certified by the National Council on Behavioral Health as a facilitator for Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid.

–Kathy Muse

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