Apr 152014
 

As a Pirate alumna, Dasha Little not only honors East Carolina University’s motto “servire”, or “to serve” by representing her alma mater well through her company’s dedication to providing services to injured service members and other government contracts, but also by her faithful contributions towards several different programs within the University.

Through her donations towards areas such as Academic Affairs, the Colleges of Allied Health Sciences, Business, Fine Arts and Communications, and Health and Human Performance, and Student Life, she has continued to give back to the University. ECU is honored to have Dasha serve as one of the Incredible Women of ECU and a member of the ECU Distinguished Military Service Society. She also joined the ECU Medical and Health Sciences Foundation Board in February and spoke at the ECU Women’s Roundtable event in October, delivering her perspective on leadership and service.

Dasha, who majored in art education, graduated from ECU, along with her husband Kirk in 1981 and 1982, and founded Apogee Solutions, Inc. in 2002. During her years at ECU, she was involved in including the Student Government Association, Gamma Sigma Sigma service sorority, and ECU Ambassadors, and also served as a resident advisor. Following graduation Dasha decided to continue her education in a different area.

“I wanted to lean forward and use my creativity to venture into the counseling and Student services career field,” said Dasha, “I received my Master of Science degree in Counseling as a wife of an Air Force Officer. At that time I knew that having a portable degree and skills would make me employable in many duty sites and in many work situations. My love of people and serving led me to the Vocational Rehabilitation career field.”

When asked about her favorite memories from her time as an ECU student, Dasha is quick to say that meeting and marrying her “ECU sweetheart” Kirk is at the top of the list along with the amazing faculty with which she had the opportunity to interact.

Dasha Little with husband Kirk, photo by Jay Clark

Dasha Little with husband Kirk, photo by Jay Clark

“I am very thankful for the excellent instructors and administrator at ECU who saw promise and leadership qualities within me and called those capabilities forward to be my passion and vocational direction,” said Dasha.

Dasha now serves as the president and CEO of the company with Kirk as the vice president and chief operation officer. Apogee Solutions is a small business based in Virginia with over 160 employees in 13 states and the District of Columbia and provides allied health management, technology integration, and operations, training, and logistics consulting services to the U.S. government.

In its allied health management division, Apogee provides certified case management professionals who assist injured service members through counseling and job assistance. The division also helps assess patients’ potential benefit from rehabilitation services, vocational testing, vocational case management, and vocational earnings capacity assessments. Through their services, Apogee Solutions supports both the U.S. Government and private sector organizations in areas such as training and exercise support, medical training and education, and technology integration.

Through the other areas of Apogee, operations, training and logistics and technology integration, the company develops engineering designs and cyber operations along with modifying traditional, large-scale simulation systems to include weapons of mass destructions for marine training prior to deployment.

The Little family and their company make their focus and mission to “positively impact the delivery of professional services; exceed our customers’ expectations; provide qualified employees who deliver prompt achievement of customer requirements; and be priced at competitive rates.”

Despite their residency in Virginia, Dasha says that ECU has become a “destination and a lifestyle of living” that aids her and Kirk’s business.

“It has helped Kirk and I learn to focus on the fact that people are important, relationships are to be valued, and leadership and influence are to be shared. We are grateful to be proud Pirates and sing ECU’s praises often,” she says.

The Little’s four children followed in the footsteps of their Pirate parents, Forrest Little graduated East Carolina University in 2009 followed by sister Meredith in 2012 and both Robert and Raleigh Little are current students.

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Apr 112014
 

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorses a public health intervention you developed, you know you’ve done something right.

For Dr. Anonia Villarruel, that “something right” was conducting extensive research to determine the efficacy of ¡Cuídate!, a sexual risk-reduction program for Latino adolescents. The program is one of only several such initiatives to have demonstrated effectiveness for both Spanish and English speakers.

Villarruel, the Nola J. Pender Collegiate Chair and Associate Dean for Research and Global Affairs at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, discussed her research as part of the Siegfried Lowin Visiting Scholar Lecture Series at the East Carolina University College of Nursing on April 8.

Villarruel, who will assume the role of dean at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in July, said that ¡Cuídate! uses activities such as role-play and group discussion. The program helps adolescents develop knowledge and skills to reduce their risk of STDs, HIV and unplanned pregnancy through strategies such as sexual abstinence and correct condom use.

She tested the intervention with at-risk youth in Philadelphia, with both youth and parents in Mexico, and with parents in a computer-based version of the program. The randomized controlled trials she conducted showed that participating youths had reduced incidence of unprotected sex and increased condom use.

“You have an adult that’s engaged with a student, listening to them, not talking down to them, accepting to them,” she said about the program. “That’s what I think the magic is.”

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It was that success that caught the attention of Dr. Kim Larson, associate professor in the ECU Department of Undergraduate Nursing Science. She consulted with Villarruel over the course of several years to bring ¡Cuídate! to eastern North Carolina in 2013. Larson and a team of academic and community partners worked with two public schools to study the program’s efficacy with a new Latino sub-group in a rural region of the southern United States.

“Our pilot study successfully implemented ¡Cuídate! with adolescents of Mexican and Central American origin in a rural, conservative geographic region of the country using a community-based participatory research approach,” Larson said. “This was a pilot study that will provide data for a community-level intervention trial to further advance the research in this area.”

In closing her talk, Villarruel encouraged the audience to consider the policy implications of their research. She also emphasized the importance of communicating research results not just with medical practitioners but also with the public.

“It’s about somebody else taking on that banner and moving it forward to better their community,” she said. “I think that is the work that we are all about.”

The Siegfried Lowin Visiting Scholar Lecture Series is sponsored by the ECU College of Nursing and the Sigma Theta Tau Beta Nu chapter.

The series began in 2007 through the generosity of ECU faculty members Dr. Mary Ann Rose, professor and chair of the department of graduate nursing science, and Dr. Walter Pories, professor and surgery and biochemistry. The couple named the series in memory of Pories’ uncle, who greatly respected the nurses who cared for him throughout an extended illness.

(Pictured from left to right are: Brenda Nuncio, program director at Wayne County Cooperative Extension; Larson; Villarruel; and Dr. Sharon Ballard, chair of the ECU Department of Child Development and Family Relations. Ballard, Larson, Nuncio and two school health nurses who are not pictured made up the research team that implemented ¡Cuídate! in North Carolina.)

Want more CON news? Visit our news page or follow @ECUNursing on Twitter. Questions? Contact willye14@ecu.edu.

Apr 042014
 

Socrates said, “Education is the kindling of the flame, not the filling of a vessel.”

This notion might ring especially true for graduate students seeking dissertation inspiration: How to sum up years of learning in one final – and very important – assignment?  The thought can be overwhelming. But it only takes a spark to get a fire going.

At Laupus Library, we regularly seek and adapt new resources that help pass the learning torch and ignite bright new ideas.  Some of the best tools we offer are those that expose ECU Health Sciences students and faculty to the unique insights of their educational counterparts from other times, cultures and practice areas.

ProQuest Dissertations and Thesis Global, the most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses from around the world, is such a resource. And beginning today through May 1, Laupus Library is pleased to offer our students and faculty trial access to the collection, which is searched over 200 million times a year by researchers from more than 3,000 leading academic institutions worldwide.

Its coverage spans from the 18th century to the present day and includes full text for graduate works added since 1997, along with selected full text for works written prior to 1997. It contains a significant amount of new international dissertations and theses both in citations and in full text.

We feel confident this robust new collection will inspire our graduate in these final weeks of second semester, and beyond.

–Kelly R. Dilda
Laupus Library

Apr 012014
 

Nurses who work in bariatric surgery units or care for patients who are morbidly obese face unique challenges. A conference being held Thursday, May 1, and Friday, May 2, at the Greenville Hilton Hotel will give the health care professionals educational tools they need to help care for this specific type of patient.

The conference, “The Many Faces of Bariatric Nursing,” is co-sponsored by the East Carolina University College of Nursing and the National Association of Bariatric Nurses. It will kick off with a networking reception at 7 p.m. Thursday and continue with daylong programming on Friday. Sessions will cover topics such as caring for children affected by obesity, the relationship between obesity and exercise, the effect of bariatric surgery on couples’ relationships and more. (The conference brochure, available for download here, includes the complete agenda.)

“These obese patients present many nursing challenges,” said event organizer Dr. Mary Ann Rose, explaining that issues range from safety concerns for nurses transferring patients to skin care problems for patients with a lot of weight bearing down on their joints.

rosem

Rose, who is pictured at left, is professor and chair of the department of graduate nursing science as well as founding president and emeritus board member of NABN. She said the event is an excellent continuing education opportunity. Organizers have requested that it count as .7 contact hours, which will be awarded to participants upon completion of the program.

Registration costs $100 for regular admission, $50 for ECU faculty and Vidant employees, or $25 for ECU students. Fees include the evening networking reception and daylong program as well as a one-year membership in the National Association of Bariatric Nurses.

Rose pointed to North Carolina’s relatively high obesity rates as one motivating factor for holding the event. About 28 percent of adults in the state are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The statistics are even higher in eastern North Carolina,” she said, “so we wanted to provide nurses here with an educational opportunity to support them in serving this population.”

Want more CON news? Visit our news page or follow @ECUNursing on Twitter. Questions? Contact willye14@ecu.edu.

Mar 282014
 

The Department of Health Services and Information Management was awarded a BB&T Leadership Enhancement Grant funded by the East Carolina University BB&T Center for Leadership for the third consecutive year. Through the $10,000 grant, HSIM will conduct a project entitled  “Making Connections Between Leadership Theory and Practice: Student Reflection on Interviews with Health Care Leaders” with Dr. Leigh Cellucci serving as the principal investigator along with team members Dr. Michael Kennedy, Dr. Bonita Sasnett, Professor Myra Brown, Jean Merenda and Dr. Xiaoming Zeng.

The purpose of the project is to study health services and information management student involvement with social media for healthcare leadership development. The students will create and post blogs to discuss connections between leadership theory and practice, and they will create and post audio and video recordings in which they elaborate these connections. Not only will the students create their own blog posts, but they will also utilize social media tools to reflect upon the outcomes of the students’ social media efforts from the 2012 and 2013 Leadership in Health Care (HSMA 3050) courses.

Team members for the BB&T Leadership Enhancement Grant, top row to bottom row  (L-R) Dr. Leigh Cellucci, Professor Myra Brown, Jean Merenda, Dr, Michael Kennedy, Dr. Bonita Sasnett and Dr. Xiaoming Zeng.

Team members for the BB&T Leadership Enhancement Grant, top row to bottom row (L-R) Dr. Leigh Cellucci, Professor Myra Brown, Jean Merenda, Dr, Michael Kennedy, Dr. Bonita Sasnett and Dr. Xiaoming Zeng.

Along with reflection, it is important the students learn how to create social media products. Hence, their team outcomes are the blogs and recordings. They will be studying past social media efforts while creating new social media products

In the classroom, instructor efforts focus on helping students to master concepts and skills that will enable them to be effective, performing leaders in health care. In the Leadership in Health Care course, students learn more about basic leadership concepts such as health care executive ethical standards, decision making, change management, and the how to work productively as a team. Additionally, they learn about interpersonal leadership skills including effective communication, delegation, and the management of conflict.

In their application, the team from HSIM along with Educational Technology Specialist Jean Merenda, stated, “Health Service and Information Management graduates will inevitably practice in an online environment. The challenges to us as educators will be how to leverage these new tools to provide leadership education to our students and how to prepare our graduates to be effective leaders in this new environment.”

It is also important for students to go outside the classroom and away from the textbook to learn from real world health care leaders. The interviews of the 2013 students allow for this opportunity for the 2014 students. In this project, students will be assigned to about 15 teams and use the social media platform to share and reflect on the 2013 interviews with health care leaders, focusing on basic leadership concepts, interpersonal leadership skills, or technical leadership skills.

The technologies for students to share and communicate on the interviews will include, but are not limited to, ECU Inner Pirate Network, ECU WordPress blogs, SABA Web Conferencing, and My Mediasite services. As in 2012 and 2013, HSIM chose tools customized for users at ECU in order to generate a “walled garden” for students in order for them to feel comfortable to share their work and thoughts.

All activities during the project will be supervised and directed according to the ECU social media guidelines. The social media distribution tools selected are up to the student team members; the topics, however, must reflect leadership concepts, interpersonal or technical skills elaborated in class lecture and read about in the required text for the course.

Proposals submitted to the ECU BB&T Center for Leadership are chosen by their demonstration of how the initiative will assist and enable students to develop awareness, appreciation, sensitivity, and capacity for inspiring, empowering, and influencing positive change.