Brody alumni selected for prestigious teaching award

A pair of Brody alumni recently received a distinguished award for their contributions to teaching and mentoring the next generation of family physicians.

Dr. Bryan Bunn ’10 and Dr. Jeremy Sexton ’11 were selected to receive a 2018 Community Teaching Award from the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians Foundation.

Brody School of Medicine alums Dr. Bryan Bunn, left, and Dr. Jeremy Sexton were selected to receive a 2018 Community Teaching Award from the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians Foundation.

Brody School of Medicine alums Dr. Bryan Bunn, left, and Dr. Jeremy Sexton were selected to receive a 2018 Community Teaching Award from the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians Foundation. (Photos by Rob Spahr)

The Community Teaching Award honors and recognizes dedicated family physicians who sacrifice their time in the interest of advancing the principles and ideals of family medicine by teaching and mentoring the next generation of physicians.

The Brody alumni received a commemorative plaque, a cash award and recognition at NCAFP’s State-of-the Academy Address & Awards Lunch in Asheville on Nov. 30.

Bunn and Sexton both practice at Vidant Family and Sports Medicine-Edenton in Edenton.



Sexton said he was thankful to be chosen for the Community Teaching Award and that it helps validate efforts to do something beneficial for the people of the region.

“We’re not only providing health care to people who really need it in eastern North Carolina, but also kind of bringing a good example of what primary care can be like to people who are going through the process of deciding what specialty that they’re interested in committing to,” he said. “Hopefully the people who come through here are able to see that we do a lot of different stuff and it stays interesting. So hopefully we can get more medical students committed to primary care.”

Dr. Jeremy Sexton

Dr. Jeremy Sexton

Even though the Edenton practice is extremely busy – due in large part to the shortage of primary care physicians in the region – Sexton said he has enjoyed the experience of having students around.

“It’s nice to work with learners because most of the time they’re still really excited about medicine and sometimes when you are busy, you don’t always remember that ‘Oh yeah, this is pretty cool,’” he said.

Returning to North Carolina to practice after completing his residency training in Idaho was particularly meaningful to Sexton.

“I was in med school in Greenville not too long ago and the mission statement is kind of embedded into everything that Brody does. They really do want to turn out primary care providers who stick around in this part of the state because there is such a big need here,” he said. “If you work in primary care, you can work anywhere you want. There are five openings on the big island of Hawaii right now. I’m in Edenton, North Carolina, and I love it.”

Sexton said one piece of advice he would offer current medical students is to get as much clinical experience as possible.

“Meet or find a doctor that is doing something similar to what you imagine doing, so that you can see what kind of pitfalls they’ve experienced and things that would be helpful to navigate,” he said. “It’s an ever-evolving process and it’s going to keep changing. So it’s helpful to know someone who does something very similar to what you want to do, to get advice from.”



Bunn, a Greenville native, said he appreciates all the ways his Brody experience taught him to treat the patient, not the illness.

“Brody did a good job of continuing to emphasize that the academics are important, and the learning is extremely important, but don’t forget about the patient,” he said. “Don’t forget the history and physical, don’t forget about the social aspects and that the patient might not be able to afford these medicines.”

Dr. Bryan Bunn

Dr. Bryan Bunn

Caring for patients has a different meaning for Bunn and Sexton than it does for primary care physicians in many other parts of the country, they said. In their medically underserved area of northeastern North Carolina, there are only about a half dozen primary care doctors caring for patients across nine counties.

“Between the two of us, there are about 2,000 patients who call us their primary care provider,” said Bunn, adding that their clinic is fairly unique because it offers colonoscopies, inpatient medicine, pediatrics, outpatient medicine and sports medicine – all in one location.

Working in a practice that allows him to use, on a daily basis, more of the skills he learned in medical school and residency is exciting for Bunn, who completed his residency at North Colorado Family Medicine.

“It’s refreshing from my own intellectual standpoint and from what I want to do with medicine. So I appreciate the opportunity that Vidant has afforded us with flexibility and autonomy to do what we do,” he said. “We’re an underserved area and this is needed.”

Bunn said the Community Teaching Award is a meaningful recognition for him, because he never expected to be a “teacher” after choosing a career in medicine. He hopes medical students who are interested in primary care can see all of the opportunities available to them when they spend time in his clinic.

“Having the opportunity to see med students come through and to think that you’re giving back to them is really cool,” he said. “And you learn from them as well, because medicine is always changing. So it’s definitely an honor to know that med students think that we’re helping them too.”


-by Laura McFall Bond and Rob Spahr, University Communications

Performers from around the world join Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival’s Winter Workshop for three concerts in January

Peter Frankl

Peter Frankl (Contributed photos)

A cast of international performers will join the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival Winter Workshop 2019 for three public concerts of different chamber music programs on Jan. 4-6 at East Carolina University.

Concerts will be held at 7 p.m. on Jan. 4-5 and at 3 p.m. on Jan. 6 in A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall on the ECU campus.

Hungarian pianist Peter Frankl joins festival artistic director and violinist Ara Gregorian, pianists Keiko Sekino and Kwan Yi, violinists Ani Kavafian, Ida Kavafian and Hye-Jin Kim, violist Steven Tenenbom, cellists Colin Carr, Emanuel Gruber and Michael Kannen, and 25 selected participants from around the world to perform chamber music masterpieces.

The participants were chosen from more than 260 applicants and come from nine countries. This will be the fifth year of Winter Workshop.

Guest artist Frankl has been on the international concert circuit since the 1960s, performing solo recitals and appearing with many of the world’s great orchestras, conductors and chamber musicians. His recordings include the complete works for piano of Schumann and Debussy, solo albums of works by Bartók and Chopin, a Hungarian anthology, concerti and four-hand works by Mozart and several works by Brahms.

“In five years, Four Seasons Winter Workshop has become one of the most sought-after destinations for young musicians from throughout the world,” said Gregorian. “I cannot stress enough that the level of our participants is world-class. Bringing all of these artists together for a week that culminates in three concerts is one of the highlights of our season — the concerts will be exceptional.”

Violinists Ani Kavafian, left, and Ara Gregorian

Violinists Ani Kavafian, left, and Ara Gregorian

The concerts will include performances by Beethoven, Brahms, Dvořák, Mendelssohn and others.Tickets are $20 for individual concerts, or $50 for the series, and are available at, by calling 252-328-6019, or at the door on a first-come basis.

The Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival brings renowned musicians to eastern North Carolina and beyond for concerts, master classes and interactive outreach initiatives. In residence at the ECU School of Music, the festival is celebrating its 19th season.

If you go:

For Winter Workshop concert tickets, visit or call 252-328-6019.

Winter Workshop concert I: Jan. 4, 7 p.m., A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

Winter Workshop concert II: Jan. 5, 7 p.m., A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall

Winter Workshop concert III: Jan. 6, 3 p.m., A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall


-by Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

Among the best: ECU College of Nursing earns high marks

The ECU College of Nursing has been ranked the No. 14 nursing school in the United States and the No. 6 public nursing school nationally. The rankings are the result of a nationwide evaluation of data collected by Nursing Schools Almanac.

“Nursing Schools Almanac has just released its 2018 rankings of the top U.S. nursing schools, and I’m very pleased to share that we’ve included East Carolina University,” said Christopher McMillen, editor-in-chief of “We collected data on over 3,200 institutions nationwide, and just 3 percent made our list of the top 100 nursing schools in the nation.”

Factors considered for the rankings included the institution’s:

  • Academic prestige
  • Professional designations
  • Grant funding
  • The breadth and depth of nursing programs offered
  • Student success, particularly on the NCLEX national licensure exam.

After evaluating each nursing school on these criteria, Nursing Schools Almanac weighted the individual scores into one overall score and ranked the schools accordingly.

“This is a true testament to the commitment of our faculty and staff to our students’ success,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the College of Nursing. “It recognizes our efforts to create nurse leaders with a wide variety of specialties to suit the needs of today’s health care environment.”


-by Natalie Sayewich, University Communications

Leo Jenkins Society inducts new members at annual planned giving event

Every year, generous donors make planned gifts to East Carolina University that support countless scholarships, professorships and endowment funds. This year was no different, with donors championing areas from business to nursing to math education.

Their philanthropy earns them membership in the Leo W. Jenkins Society, an esteemed group of benefactors who support the university through will bequests, retirement plan beneficiary designations and life insurance policy designations. The nature of these gifts means that many donors will not be alive to see their gifts implemented. But they give anyway. On Thursday, ECU inducted 26 new members into the Leo Jenkins Society.

The Leo W. Jenkins Society is an esteemed group of benefactors who support the university through planned gifts.

The Leo W. Jenkins Society is an esteemed group of benefactors who support the university through planned gifts. (Photos by Will Preslar)

At a luncheon honoring the inductees, Chancellor Cecil Staton expressed his gratitude and spoke of the trust in ECU that a planned gift demonstrates.

“ECU is a wonderful university where wonderful things are taking place,” he said. “I’m so grateful to the Pirates and friends like you who believe in ECU enough to step up and support our students, our faculty and our mission.”

Ann and John Laliotes, both ECU alumni, decided to give widely across campus, and have multiple planned gifts that will support endowments in athletics, medical and health sciences and east campus. The couple felt ECU students would be the best recipients of their philanthropy.

“ECU has given us the world both personally, professionally and in good and ill health. It is an honor and privilege to give back and to impact the future of ECU, its students and the community,” Ann Laliotes said.

Left, Chancellor Cecil Staton awards a Leo W. Jenkins Society medallion to Ann Laliotes. Right, Staton awards a Leo W. Jenkins Society medallion to Sallie Chauncey Mercer.

Left, Chancellor Cecil Staton awards a Leo W. Jenkins Society medallion to Ann Laliotes. Right, Staton awards a Leo W. Jenkins Society medallion to Sallie Chauncey Mercer.

Another new Jenkins member, Sallie Chauncey Mercer, said her bequest will establish a scholarship in the Risk Management and Insurance Program in the College of Business. Mercer spent 30 years working in insurance and spoke highly of her experiences working with ECU students and graduates. Her scholarship is in memory of her son, Jack, who passed away in June.

“This scholarship keeps his name alive and supports a career that I loved. It was absolutely the right choice for this,” she said.

The Leo W. Jenkins Society was named after the university’s sixth president. It now has nearly 300 members. Seven current members also made additional planned commitments this year.


Leo Jenkins 2018 inductees and their areas of support:

Michael E. Armstrong – Michael E. Armstrong Endowment for the College of Business

Ernest Avery Jr. – Friends of Joyner Library, ECU Alumni Association

Ruth Barnaby – Funding the Future of Social Work Scholarship Endowment

Ronald Davis – Dr. Ronald and Nancy Davis Family Scholarship Endowment (Brody School of Medicine)

John and Eleanor Flowers – Joyner Library Dean Fund for Excellence

William H. Freeman – Masie Castlebury Freeman Scholarship (College of Human Ecology)

Charles and Eva Gouge – Charles and Eva Gouge Scholarship Endowment (general scholarship support)

Haywood and Carolyn Harris – College of Arts and Sciences Priority Fund, Department of Biology Priority Fund

Margaret Hendricks – Craig W. and Ruth T. Joyner Family Scholarship (Math Education)

Dr. Thomas Irons – Carol Fleming Irons Nursing Honors Scholarship

Kinna Nicole Clark – Kinna N. Clark College of Business Scholarship Endowment

John and Ann Laliotes – Athletics, Medical & Health Sciences

Sallie Mercer – Sallie Mercer Scholarship Endowment in Memory of Jack Keel (College of Business)

Charles and Willa McGimsey – Sarah S. and Charles G. McGimsey Scholarship Endowment for the College of Business

Michael and Brenda Mills – ECU Educational Foundation’s Student Athlete Endowment Fund

Timothy Nussman – Nussman Endowment Fund (general support)

Betty Ridan – Betty Brown Ridan Endowed Scholarship (general scholarship support)

Howard Rooks – Fund for Excellence in the College of Business

Harold Troxler – two distinguished professorships in Economics


-by Erin Shaw, University Communications

ECU’s Country Doctor Museum celebrates 50th anniversary

East Carolina University’s Country Doctor Museum marked its 50th anniversary in Bailey on Dec. 8 with an event that celebrated the museum’s founders and its future.

The museum is the oldest in the United States devoted to rural health care history. A group of volunteer female community leaders and physicians – led by Dr. Gloria Flippin Graham and Dr. Josephine E. Newell, both North Carolina physicians – founded the museum in 1968 in an effort to honor and preserve rural medical history.

Dr. Gloria Flippin Graham, co-founder of The Country Doctor Museum and friend Janet Williams attend the 50th anniversary celebration held on Dec. 8 in Bailey, North Carolina.

Dr. Gloria Flippin Graham, co-founder of The Country Doctor Museum and friend Janet Williams attend the 50th anniversary celebration held on Dec. 8 in Bailey, North Carolina. (Contributed photos)

Over the years, the museum’s collections have grown to include artifacts from the 19th and early 20th centuries and the fields of nursing, pharmacy, homeopathy and transportation.

In 2003, the museum was donated to the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation and since then, the Laupus Health Sciences Library has managed it as part of its History Collections.

Beth Ketterman, director of the Laupus Health Sciences Library, said the relationship between the museum and the library is mutually beneficial for many reasons.

“Not the least of which is the ability to share the passion for preserving the legacy of country doctors and other health care providers who have given so much to ensure that the people of this rural part of our state could receive care,” Ketterman said. “We do this through interpreting artifacts, preserving the written record and providing educational experiences to the public.”

Dr. Gloria Flippin Graham is surrounded by a variety of museum patrons and other guests and receives special recognition for her efforts to preserve rural medical history in Bailey.

Dr. Gloria Flippin Graham is surrounded by a variety of museum patrons and other guests and receives special recognition for her efforts to preserve rural medical history in Bailey.

The event was attended by community members and featured free museum tours, birthday cake, live music by Drybread Road and a ceremony recognizing special guests, including Dr. Gloria Flippin Graham.

“Governor Roy Cooper kindly issued a proclamation recognizing the 50th anniversary of the museum which speaks to the visionary founders of the museum, as well as the leaders at East Carolina University who shepherded the museum into the ECU community,” said Annie Anderson, the museum’s director.

Ketterman praised the museum for continuing to build off the hard work of its founders and early employees.

“Our team has extended the reach of the museum beyond Bailey, with permanent and pop-up exhibits on the ECU campus, and at regional institutions of learning like Campbell University and Wake Tech. Many of the museum’s artifacts are now digitized and available for discovery by anyone in the world with access to the internet,” she said.

Museum employees also partner with area schools to educate children about the evolution of rural medicine and collaborate with community members to record local oral history.

For the guests who travel to Bailey to visit the museum, Ketterman said it “serves as a touchstone for memories of rural physicians, home remedies and community spirit.”

“The vision and hard work of the museum founders, and the continued hard work and dedication of the current museum employees, ensures that the museum will continue to be a valued educational and cultural resource in our region for another 50 years and beyond,” she added.

The museum is located at 7089 Peele Road in Bailey. Tours of the museum are guided and begin each hour on the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Group tours are available. For more information about the museum, visit


-by Kelly Rogers Dilda, University Communications

Anthropology students recognized through national competition

This semester, East Carolina University anthropology students participated in a nationwide competition known as the Community Action Project. Administered by the Center for a Public Anthropology, the competition involved more than 3,500 students from 25 schools across the United States.

As their entry into the competition, students wrote editorial pieces on the topic of climate change. The articles were evaluated by peers from other universities throughout the country.

Nine ECU anthropology students received award-winning recognition of their editorial pieces on the topic of climate change. Pictured left to right are Chris Capone, assistant professor of anthropology Dr. Cynthia Grace-McCaskey, Kaitlyn Lee, Elizabeth Lyttle and Gayle Yoder.

Nine ECU anthropology students received award-winning recognition of their editorial pieces on the topic of climate change. Pictured left to right are Chris Capone, assistant professor of anthropology Dr. Cynthia Grace-McCaskey, Kaitlyn Lee, Elizabeth Lyttle and Gayle Yoder. (Contributed photo)

“No matter what part of the world you are from, it affects you in some way,” said ECU anthropology student Gayle Yoder.

Another entrant, Kaitlyn Lee, said, “It was important for me because I’m from the beach and it is just something that I’ve grown up learning about.”

Nine ECU students were selected as award winners and received special certificates for their writing. Winners include Chris Capone, Christina Dougherty, Kaitlyn Lee, Elizabeth Lyttle, Autumn Saski, Logan Stevens, Allyse Williams, Ashley Yeager and Gayle Yoder.

“I thought it was really cool being able to connect with people around the world, especially about a dispute that’s as important as this,” said Capone.

ECU students also reviewed other students’ submissions.

“It was interesting to see that this person clearly believes the opposite of what I think, but they make a convincing argument for it,” Lyttle said.

Yoder said, “It is a common issue that people deal with in their daily lives, so it was interesting how people from different backgrounds dealt with that issue.”

Dr. Robert Borofsky, director of the Center for a Public Anthropology, praised Dr. Cynthia Grace-McCaskey, ECU assistant professor of anthropology and assistant scientist with the Coastal Studies Institute, who taught the students.

“Professor Grace-McCaskey has played an integral part in public anthropology’s online student community, showcasing the ability of East Carolina students to learn effective writing skills while being active global citizens,” Borofsky said. “She demonstrates how combining technology with cultural concerns in academic courses positively engages students to participate in the broader world beyond their academic setting while gaining the skills needed for a productive, active life after graduation.”

Read the winning ECU student editorials

Find out more about the Community Action Project


-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications

Course partnership promotes student success and future employment

Dr. Amanda Haberstroh, librarian liaison in Laupus Library.

Dr. Amanda Haberstroh, librarian liaison in Laupus Library. (Contributed photos)

A course being offered in Spring 2019 will provide students a strong foundation in research skills and public health content that will benefit them across a wealth of disciplines as well as in their employment after graduation.

HLTH 4050: Research Skills in Health Information will be taught by Dr. Joseph Lee, assistant professor in the College of Health and Human Performance’s Department of Health Education and Promotion; and Dr. Amanda Haberstroh, librarian liaison in Laupus Library. The course covers skills that are vital to student success and is beneficial to students in disciplines across the Health Sciences Campus.

“This course covers important pieces of health literacy and evidence evaluation and will give students strong skills in the PubMed/MEDLINE database,” Lee said. “It’s a one-credit class and would be a great course for any student interested in attending graduate school or for future health profession skills. It would also be a great course for students early in their career at ECU who are interested in research.”

The class will meet from 1­–1:50 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The value in the course is based not only in its content but in its unique teaching arrangement.

Dr. Joseph Lee, assistant professor in the department of health education and promotion for the College of Health and Human Performance.

Dr. Joseph Lee, assistant professor in the department of health education and promotion for the College of Health and Human Performance.

“This partnership between a librarian and faculty members in Health Education and Promotion as equals really highlights the importance of the interdisciplinary skills that our students need,” Lee said. “Employers want our students to have expertise in health literacy, information literacy and concrete searching skills combined with public health content expertise. We’re excited to continue the course with Laupus’s support and Dr. Haberstroh’s expertise.”

Leah Cordova, MLIS, in Joyner served as the embedded liaison librarian for past sections of HLTH 4050 and was instrumental in creating this course. The teamwork has resulted in instructional topics that improve students’ competencies in finding and evaluating information and evidence-based practice.

Students have echoed that sentiment; some who have completed the course said that it expanded their knowledge on research and “made a difference in my current classes.” Others said the course encourages discussion, during which they ‘learned to apply course material in practical ways.”

HLTH 4050 helps bridge gaps between what students are learning and processing and how to think critically in terms of seeking out knowledge through research.

“We know these information literacy skills are incredibly important for our public health students and to their future employers,” said Dr. Don Chaney, chair of the Department of Health Education and Promotion, “and our partnerships with Joyner and Laupus combine our faculty’s public health expertise with librarians’ expertise in health literacy, evidence-based searching and information skills.”

Graduate student awarded yearlong national fellowship

Chris Thaxton

Chris Thaxton (Contributed photo)

An East Carolina University graduate student is one of 66 from across the United States awarded a 2019 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship.

William “Chris” Thaxton, who will graduate with a master’s degree in biology in May, earned bachelor degrees in biology and chemistry from ECU in 2016 as an EC Scholar.

The Knauss award, presented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Sea Grant, recognizes students who are completing masters, juris doctor or doctor of philosophy programs with a focus or interest in marine science, policy or management.

The 40th class of Knauss Fellows will begin work in February.

Thaxton, who grew up in La Grange, will be moving to Washington, D.C., for his fellowship year where he will work on ocean and natural resource policy for Sen. Brian Schatz from Hawaii.

“I love science, but my real passion is using science to find the balance between the needs of people and nature,” Thaxton said. “All of my experiences so far have been mostly ‘doing’ science. The Knauss Fellowship is an intense, yearlong introduction into how science is actually used in federal policy.”

Thaxton said he is especially passionate about the topic of climate change and how sea level rise will impact coastal development.

“There is a lot of confusion, fear and uncertainty surrounding the topic,” Thaxton said. “Science can either relieve or exacerbate these issues depending on how it’s communicated. North Carolina’s peculiar history with sea level rise policy piqued my interest in the subject as an undergraduate, and I’m excited at the opportunity to see firsthand how climate-related issues are being discussed at the federal level.”

Thaxton first learned about the Knauss Fellowship while completing a 10-week Hollings Scholar internship with NOAA four years ago.

He credited ECU’s Dr. Tim Runyon and Dr. Rebecca Asch in helping mentor his interests and research.

In the future, he would like to work as a legislative staffer on Capitol Hill, expanding the skills he expects to develop as a Knauss Fellow.

For more information, visit


-by Crystal Baity, ECU News Services

Cole Dittmer contributed to this story.


School of Dental Medicine offering free screenings, exams

The ECU School of Dental Medicine is providing free dental screenings and select X-rays now until Feb. 28, 2019, for patients 18 years or older who are interested in participating in a Dental Board Examination for graduating students.

Fillings and/or cleanings approved for the exam will be delivered to patients free of charge on Friday, March 1, 2019, or Saturday, March 2, 2019, at the school in Greenville.

Those selected at the screening to be a Dental Board Examination patient must be available all day, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., on one of those days to receive the filling and/or cleaning recommended at the screening. Fourth-year dental students will deliver the care.

Screening appointments last about an hour and must be scheduled in advance. Please call 252-737-7850 to make a special dental board screening appointment.

Patients who are not accepted for the Dental Board Examination are invited to become comprehensive care patients at the school. To schedule a regular appointment, please call 252-737-7834.

All dental appointments are held at the ECU School of Dental Medicine located in Ledyard E. Ross Hall, 1851 MacGregor Downs Road, Greenville (second floor). Please bring a photo ID and a list of medications you currently take.



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