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

T-shirt sales raise more than $5K for ALS

East Carolina University Dowdy Student Stores and its vendor, Perfect Promotions & More of Apex, presented a check on July 31 for $5,250 to the ALS Association North Carolina Chapter. The presentation was held at Clark-LeClair Stadium with representatives from the ALS Association, Dowdy Student Stores, Perfect Promotions and ECU baseball coach Cliff Godwin.

The money was raised through sales of “Strike Out ALS” T-shirts at the student store and its souvenir booth at the baseball stadium. A portion of each sale was donated to the ALS state chapter.

“We are grateful to Dowdy Student Stores, Perfect Promotions & More, East Carolina University and everyone who purchased T-shirts to fight ALS this spring,” said chapter president Jerry Dawson. “With their continued commitment to defeat ALS and to honor Coach LeClair, we are getting closer every day to creating a world without ALS.”

Representatives from ECU, Dowdy Student Stores, the ALS Association and Perfect Promotions and More gather for a check presentation on July 31.

Representatives from ECU, Dowdy Student Stores, the ALS Association and Perfect Promotions & More gather for a check presentation on July 31. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Dowdy Student Stores director Bryan Tuten commended the Pirate Nation fan base.

“I’m always thrilled at the support that Pirate fans show for these cause-related T-shirts,” said Tuten. “I know the proceeds from this ALS support shirt will go a long way to help local patients and their families, and knowing it stays locally makes it even more special.”

The university-operated bookstores sell fund-raising T-shirts for military services, veteran student services and pediatric cancer awareness in addition to the store’s annual contributions to student scholarships.

Perfect Promotions vice president of sales Stephen McFadden is proud to play a role in the effort. McFadden has worked with Dowdy to produce more than 100 officially licensed ECU items. He says his favorite pieces have always been the T-shirts for a cause.

“It’s refreshing to be able to work with a client on supporting local charities and organizations through financial support and raising awareness of their groups. This year will be our fifth year partnering with the Dowdy Store on these T-shirts that have helped raise more than $75,000 in donations to 15 organizations,” said McFadden, an ECU alumnus. “I’m excited to see what the future brings for this program and what other programs we can inspire throughout the community.”

The next T-shirt for a cause will come out in late August and will benefit pediatric cancer awareness. Similar to past years, it will feature the #GoGold tag and will be perfect for Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month in September and the Paint it Gold football game on Sept. 29, said John Palmer, Dowdy’s merchandise manager.

ECU’s bookstore is a self-operated, university-run store. The campus bookstore doesn’t receive state funding, and maintains services through sales. Profits are directed back to the university community through scholarship contributions and donations to campus projects.


-by Leslie Craigle, ECU Dowdy Student Stores

Undergraduates share research at event

Ten undergraduate researchers from across the country shared their research projects Aug. 3 at East Carolina University’s Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, wrapping up the final week of a research-intensive program funded by the National Science Foundation.

The Biomedical Engineering in Simulations, Imaging and Modeling Research Experience for Undergraduates, led by ECU’s departments of engineering, kinesiology and physical therapy, hosted students from nine universities to conduct original research in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

The program, initially funded by a $288,000 grant from the NSF, gives undergraduate students an understanding of how to conduct research and to learn more about graduate school opportunities.

Madeline Pauley’s, left, research topic focused on plantar fasciitis and the internal structure of the foot in healthy patients and patients suffering from the condition.

Madeline Pauley’s, left, research topic focused on plantar fasciitis and the internal structure of the foot in healthy patients and patients suffering from the condition. (Photos by Matt Smith)

During the 10-week program, students investigated fields ranging from bioengineering to physiology, learning the research process firsthand.

“This was really my first time doing research that was my own project,” said Madeline Pauley, who will graduate this summer from ECU with a degree in exercise physiology. “The program allowed me to decide what I wanted to research. We were guided through the process, but we had a lot of freedom to make our own decisions that you may not get when you’re just volunteering in a lab.”

Pauley’s research focused on plantar fasciitis and the internal structure of the foot in healthy patients and patients suffering from the condition. Joining Pauley from ECU was rising junior Victoria Blackwood. Her research looked at osteoarthritis in post-ACL reconstruction patients and rehabilitation techniques that may limit knee joint pain in patients who have undergone surgery.

“I came to the program with little research experience, so I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” Blackwood said. “In just a short time I’ve realized what goes into conducting research and that I do want to continue participating in research projects in the future.”

•Rising East Carolina University junior Victoria Blackwood, right, shares her research on osteoarthritis in patients who have undergone ACL surgery at the The Biomedical Engineering in Simulations, Imaging and Modeling Research Experience for Undergraduates post session at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Friday.

Rising East Carolina University junior Victoria Blackwood, right, shares her research on osteoarthritis in patients who have undergone ACL surgery at the The Biomedical Engineering in Simulations, Imaging and Modeling Research Experience for Undergraduates post session at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Friday.

Pauley and Blackwood said that having students from other universities – including the University of Connecticut, Mercer University and Long Beach State University, among others – added to their program experience.

“Our research peers from other universities helped show me my strengths and weaknesses,” Pauley said. “It was interesting to see how we complemented one another. My background is in anatomy and physiology, but most of their backgrounds were in bioengineering and technology. It was eye-opening to learn about their interests and see how researchers can work together to accomplish things.”

Stephanie George, an assistant professor of engineering at ECU, oversees the program with associate professor of kinesiology Zac Domire. George hopes giving undergraduate researchers with varied interests an opportunity to work with one another shows them the importance of multidisciplinary and collaborative research.

“They put a lot of work into it, but they rely on each other a bit because of their diverse expertise,” she said. “We have computer science, engineering and physics majors; there’s a lot of different expertise that they share with one another. We believe at the end of it all they have a better understanding of the research process and gain confidence that they can lead a project and share it with others.”


-by Matt Smith, University Communications

ECU Physicians nurse practitioner earns dermatology certification

A nurse practitioner with ECU Physicians has earned a certification in dermatology.

Erin McGillicuddy Hurd has been awarded the Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioner (DCNP) designation by the Dermatology Nursing Certification Board (DNCB) – a certification held by only two others in the state and 270 individuals nationwide. While many nurse practitioners and physician assistants work in specialized fields, only a small percentage of them are board-certified in their specialty.

Erin McGillicuddy Hurd

Erin McGillicuddy Hurd (Contributed photo)

For the past four years, Hurd has worked in ECU Physicians’ dermatology clinic, seeing patients from across eastern North Carolina.

The Greenville native holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Wake Forest University, a bachelor’s in nursing from ECU’s College of Nursing and a master’s from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Erin has been an incredible addition to ECU Dermatology,” said ECU dermatologist Dr. William Burke. “Her compassionate care as well as her tremendous increase in knowledge of dermatology has been a welcome help in meeting the high demand for dermatologic patient care in eastern North Carolina.”

“I want my patients here at ECU to know that I was trained by the most amazing teachers North Carolina has to offer,” said Hurd. “I want to truly show what an amazing program ECU Dermatology is, and me passing the certification test is just a testament to that. I am ecstatic to be a part of this prestigious group.”

Hurd and her colleagues see patients at ECU’s Moye Medical Center, 517 Moye Blvd. in Greenville. Appointments can be made by calling 252-744-3109.


-Contact: Kelly Rogers Dilda, Health Sciences Communications,, 252-744-2232

Boys & Girls Club members explore nursing at ECU

Farmville Boys & Girls Club members hear from faculty about the nursing profession.

Farmville Boys & Girls Club members hear from faculty about the nursing profession. (Photos by Conley Evans)

A group of middle school and high school students from the Farmville Boys & Girls Club paid a visit to the ECU College of Nursing Thursday, July 19, to learn more about the nursing profession.

During their visit, faculty members explained the variety of career options available to nurses as well as the ways to get started down the career path toward being a nurse.

The club members see a hands-on example of how the college trains its nursing students.

The club members see a hands-on example of how the college trains its nursing students.

A club member “bandages a patient” with toilet paper.

A club member “bandages a patient” with toilet paper.

The group then traveled to one of the college’s simulation labs for a hands-on example of how the college trains its nursing students. Using one of the college’s state-of-the-art manikins, students learned to care for a diabetic patient.

They ended their visit with a relay race that included putting on nursing scrubs and “bandaging a patient” with toilet paper.


-by Natalie Sayewich, University Communications

After wife’s death, professor creates nursing scholarship in her name

Dr. Tom Irons keeps a voicemail on his phone of his wife laughing. It’s just a short giggle in an otherwise mundane message, but her laugh is one of the many things he adored about her.

When she passed away unexpectedly in May 2016, Irons struggled not only with the shock of her death, but how to keep her memory alive.

Dr. Tom Irons with his wife, Carol

Dr. Tom Irons with his wife, Carol (Contributed photos)

Here was a woman who lived life so fully, who was so strong and vivacious. Carol Irons loved music, theater and Pirate athletic events. She laughed loudly and often and was not afraid to use colorful language. She was a fierce friend, a devoted mother and an empathetic and accomplished nurse. She was outspoken about social injustices and equality and was an advocate of women’s and children’s health.

“She really knew how to take care of other people,” Irons said.

He decided to create a scholarship in Carol’s name for Honors College students who are interested in women’s and children’s health, show commitment to service and demonstrate financial need.

“I think the primary reason I chose to do this with the support of my children was that I wanted the things she stood for to continue. To have something in her name that would give aspiring nurses the opportunity to enhance and fund their education,” he said.

Irons is a professor of pediatrics at the Brody School of Medicine, director of ECU’s generalist physician program and associate vice chancellor for regional health services. He is a Greenville native who returned home in 1981 to join the faculty at Brody. After he and Carol raised three children, Carol went back to school to get her master’s degree in nursing from ECU and later joined the faculty as well. Both of their sons, Tom Jr. and James, graduated from ECU. Their daughter, Sarah, did not attend ECU but is a physician like her father.

Nurses are uniquely prepared to cultivate their empathy, and Carol was good at it, whether it was opening their home to neighborhood children and strangers in need or deciding at age 60 to go to Africa and start a health clinic in Zambia. To her core, she believed in service, a tradition she shared with her husband and ECU.

Tom and Carol Irons on a medical mission trip in western Zambia.

Tom and Carol Irons on a medical mission trip in western Zambia.

“Something that was important to Carol and I was that, if we were to be remembered for anything, we wanted to be remembered for what we gave, and I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about how we served,” Irons said. “I believe we give for the students of the future, the young faculty of the future. To show that this university stands for what it says it does.”

The Carol Irons Nursing Scholarship is also about Carol’s legacy for her family.

“I’d like my (seven) grandkids to look at this scholarship and say, ‘That’s named after my grandma,’” Irons said. “I’d like them to know what a great nurse she was, and a great citizen. I think this is an opportunity to let other people know what she stood for.”


-by Erin Shaw, University Communications

Recent ECU graduate wins national research contest

A research paper by a 2018 graduate of East Carolina University’s Master of Public Health program has won a national contest.

Preventing Chronic Disease, a medical journal established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, recently announced that Fei Gao’s paper, “Prevalence of gestational diabetes and health behaviors among women: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2007-2014,” was one of two graduate-level winners of their 2018 Research Paper Contest.

Fei Geo

Fei Gao (Contributed photo)

The contest required papers to be relevant to the prevention, screening, surveillance or population-based intervention of chronic diseases, including arthritis, asthma, cancer, depression, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Two winners were selected from the graduate student category and one each from the doctoral, undergraduate and high school categories. More than 100 papers were submitted.

“My MPH provided many opportunities to practice and utilize research techniques, from our internship to our professional paper to attending research conferences,” said Gao. “My role as a graduate assistant for the diabetes study conducted at the ECU Family Medicine Center also helped cultivate my interest in diabetes. All in all, the combination of great mentors and opportunities helped prepare me in writing this manuscript.

“With much more to learn about diabetes and preventative care, I will continue my research to provide pertinent findings to help reform current interventions and guidelines for diabetes and other related chronic diseases,” Gao added.

The journal will publish Gao’s winning paper later this year. Gao is the first student in ECU’s Master of Public Health program to receive the honor.


-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, University Communications

Task Force Dagger Foundation, ECU partner to provide rehabilitation diving for veterans

-News release by Department of Defense

Task Force Dagger Foundation working in partnership with East Carolina University is developing a program that seeks to provide rehabilitation opportunities for Special Operations veterans through the underwater archaeological study of WWII maritime heritage in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. These grant funds will provide Task Force Dagger Foundation (TFD) with more opportunities to expand existing dive rehabilitative therapy programs which serve to provide retired Special Operations veterans with a new MISSION PURPOSE FOCUS.

TFD has teamed up with ECU’s program in maritime studies and the Florida Public Archaeology Network to develop and undertake a maritime heritage education program for wounded Special Forces veterans that will be hands-on and introduce veterans to the history of WWII and its underwater maritime heritage. The program will be held in the Mariana Islands on Saipan from late July to early August. It will cover classroom topics such as underwater archeology, artifacts, ship and aircraft construction, conservation, and heritage laws. After the classroom training, veterans will hit the water and practice their underwater archaeology skills by diving and recording WWII underwater heritage from the Battle of Saipan.

ECU graduate student Aleck Tan runs a metal detector over an object while Dr. Nathan Richards supervises. (Contributed photo)

ECU graduate student Aleck Tan runs a metal detector over an object while Dr. Nathan Richards supervises during a recent trip to Saipan, where ECU has partnered with Task Force Dagger Foundation to provide retired Special Operations veterans with dive rehabilitative therapy programs. (Contributed photo)

“This program reaches an audience that has an intimate knowledge and background on the subject of war, conflict, and materiel remains,” said Dr. Jennifer McKinnon, associate professor at ECU. “There is an assumed awareness and appreciation that only needs fostering to understand how this heritage is meaningful and needs to be protected.”

Keith David, managing director, said, “What is important about this event is that it demonstrates to these veterans that no matter how badly they are wounded or injured, they can have a productive and fulfilling life. It is all about having a MISSION – PURPOSE – FOCUS for their life.”

This project stands to be the first of its kind that engages wounded veterans in the recording, understanding and appreciation of WWII maritime heritage in the Pacific. The plan is to hold the educational program yearly with returning and new recruits to feed into a program of archaeologically-trained diving veterans.

Without your donations, we cannot achieve our mission supporting the U.S. Special Operations Command’s service members and their families.

The Task Force Dagger Foundation’s three core programs: (1) Immediate Needs, (2) SOF Health Initiatives and (3) Rehabilitative Therapy Events provide resources and healing for Special Operations Forces (SOF) members and families. Our SOF Health Initiatives provides program recipients care and treatment that is designed to treat the problem and not the symptom through functional medicine and other treatment modalities that are holistic in nature. Task Force Dagger Foundation supports Army Green Berets, Rangers, Civil Affairs, Military Information Support Operations, Army Special Mission Units, Navy SEALs, Air Force Special Tactics/Operations and Marine Special Operations and their families. These are some of the units that comprise the U.S. Special Operations Command.

Since 2009, we have supported USSOCOM with more than $3.5 million of support to 3,100 SOF service members and their families. The Task Force Dagger Foundation’s overhead rate is 10.91 percent.


-Contact: Task Force Dagger Foundation Office, 214-420-9290, or

Catherine Carter receives 2018 Applewhite Poetry Prize

Catherine Carter is the winner of the 2018 James Applewhite Poetry Prize in a record-breaking year of entries.

Carter’s prize-winning poem, “Womb-Room,” will be published in the 2019 print issue of the North Carolina Literary Review (NCLR). In addition, Carter will receive a prize of $250 for her first-place entry. She is an associate professor of English at Western Carolina University, where she teaches creative writing and English education classes.

The winner was selected by the final judge, Amber Flora Thomas, an award-winning author and an associate professor of English at East Carolina University.

“I was very moved by ‘Womb-room,’ which takes us inside the human body as a speaker considers her inability to bear a child,” said Thomas. “The speaker finds a plethora of cavernous beauty within herself, which is what we expect from a poet who understands the fertile richness of the imagination. I care deeply about poems which recognize our connection with our environment and nature.”

Carter’s third LSU Press collection of poetry, “Larvae of the Nearest Stars,” is due out in 2019. Her honors include publication in Best American Poetry 2009, winning Jacar Press’s poetry chapbook contest with “Mark of the Witch” (2014), and winning third place in the 2017 Applewhite Poetry Prize competition (“Billy Collins Pours Me a Beer,” NCLR 2018 print issue).

Margaret Bauer, NCLR editor, said that Carter is a poet who is a well-respected teacher and regularly responds to requests to review poetry collections for NCLR.

The NCLR established the James Applewhite Poetry Prize in 2011. This year, 81 poets submitted 270 poems. These are record numbers of both poems and poets for the competition. Thomas selected the winning poem from finalists picked for prize and publication consideration by NCLR poetry editor Jeffrey Franklin.

Thomas selected “Daybreak” by Sally Thomas for second place and “Dreams Speak: My Father’s Words” by Glenis Redmond for third place.

Second-place recipient Sally Thomas is from Lincolnton and is the author of two poetry chapbooks published by Finishing Line Press. She has published poetry and fiction in a variety of venues and received honors in both genres.

Redmond is a Cave Canem Fellow and the poet-in-residence at the Peace Center for the Performing Arts in Greenville, South Carolina and the State Theatre in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Her poetry has also appeared in such publications as Obsidian II: Black Literature in Review, Appalachian Journal, Appalachian Heritage, Kakalak and African Voices.

Among the other finalists, Thomas named four poems for Honorable Mention, including “Girl Praxis” and “Self-Portrait as Wildfire” by Nilla Larsen who has a third poem, “Post-Date Sunday,” that was a finalist as well. The other two honorable mentions are “Smoke and Oreos” by Gwen Holt and “Black Girl Magic in Summers Past” by Crystal Simone Smith.

The other finalists in the 2018 competition are “How Rhodon the Tutor Prepared Cleopatra’s Son” and “In my yard are henbit” by J.S. Absher; “Branch Drop” by Richard Betz, “Bombingham,” “Fire and Brimstone” and “Forgiveness” by L. Teresa Church; “Divorce” by Kevin Dublin; “Day at a Historic Park” by Craig Friend; “Trespassing After the Hysterectomy, the Funeral” by Kimberly J. Simms; “Renovations” by Wayne Johns, “Prelude to Lust” by Jeanne Julian; “Eleanor: Suite” by Valerie Nieman; “The Ledge” by Jon Obermeyer; “Jump” by Frances J. Pearce; and “Echeveria” by Melinda Thomsen. Bauer notes that half of these poets are new to the competition.

NCLR has been published by East Carolina University since 1992 and receives additional funding from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, including the Applewhite Prize honorarium. It has won numerous awards and citations. The University of North Carolina Press has been publishing NCLR since 2017. Find submission and subscription information on NCLR’s website at


-Contact: Margaret Bauer, NCLR editor,, 252-328-1537

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