Mar 292013

Thirty percent of Pitt and Martin county children are born into families living in poverty, a disadvantage shown to immediately increase their risk for long-term educational and health challenges.

The good news is that proper care and attention given to children during infancy and toddlerhood has been proven to help transcend the circumstances they’re born into. And these children have advocates in the ECU Division of Health Sciences.

One advocate is Dr. Tom Irons, associate vice chancellor for health sciences and professor of pediatrics in the Brody School of Medicine. Irons has dedicated his career to helping children born into poverty meet their developmental milestones so they can start their primary education on equal footing with their peers.

On March 22, Irons was the keynote speaker at the State of the Young Child Breakfast, co-hosted by the United Way of Pitt County and the Martin-Pitt Partnership for Children.

“It is important to provide children with a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment during this critical time in their lives,” he told the crowd. “The child that develops in a healthy environment has a brain that is hardwired for success.”

The event also included a panel discussion featuring Abigail Jewkes, associate professor of child development and family relations at ECU, Pitt County Schools Superintendent Beverly Emory and N.C. Rep. Brian Brown.

The panel encouraged investment in early childhood development and reinforced Irons’ message that children who receive adequate early care “have the best possible chance for a successful career in school and, ultimately, as a contributor to society.”

Irons and his career exemplify the central mission of the ECU Division of Health Sciences: We are committed to serving and improving the health of the citizens of Eastern North Carolina. That’s something that happens one patient at a time, and what better place to start than our children?

Read more about Irons and his dedication to improving health care access for North Carolina patients who need it most.   


Mar 262013

The American Health Information Management Association celebrated health information professionals during the 24th annual Health Information Professionals Week, March 17‒23, 2013.

2013-03-21 11aFreddie L. Ingle, a newly accepted student in the masters of health informatics and information management Fall 2013 inaugural class, describes what drove him to pursue the degree.

 Why did you choose to pursue an education and career in health informatics and information management?

The field of health informatics is in its infancy and there are a myriad of ground floor opportunities available, especially with the recent government regulations of the healthcare industry pertaining to health information technology.  The employment outlook is excellent relative to many other fields during these uncertain economic times.  I also believe that health information technology can have a significant positive impact on improving the quality of care, reducing costs, and increasing access to healthcare. 

Is this your first degree in your field?

I have a post master’s certificate in information technology with an emphasis in health informatics from another university.  I also hold an MBA with a concentration in information technology and a doctorate of education in technical education from another university, but this will be my first full degree in health informatics.

What led you to select the ECU College of Allied Health Sciences?

Initially I enrolled in the graduate certificate program in health informatics at ECU because it was online, affordable, and because of the excellent reputation of the College of Allied Health Sciences.  I am in my second course in that program.  My professor for the first course was Dr. Xiaoming Zeng.  Dr. Robert Campbell is my current professor.  Both have been excellent.  The courses are challenging, but I have added so much to my professional knowledge and skills repertoire from the experiences.  These two classes have been the basis for my wanting to obtain a master’s from the ECU College of Allied Health Sciences.

How do you plan to use your new degree after graduation, and where do you plan to live?

I am currently an adjunct faculty member in a masters of health administration program at a local university.  I plan to use the knowledge and experiences from the degree to enrich the classes I teach.  In addition, I plan to start a consulting practice to work with rural and small healthcare providers in the area of health information privacy and security and regulatory compliance.  I plan to live in North Carolina as there are many opportunities in the healthcare industry here.

Dental students encourage athletes to wear mouth guards

 School of Dental Medicine  Comments Off on Dental students encourage athletes to wear mouth guards
Mar 192013

On March 20, second-year dental students from the ECU School of Dental Medicine will participate in a health fair for boys who attend South Central High School in Winterville. One of the most important topics that the dental students will discuss is the use of mouth guards to protect the teeth, lips, tongue, face and jaw.

But mouth guards aren’t just for boys. Girls should consider wearing mouth guards when engaged in soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball, or other contact sports. Girls and boys alike are cheerleaders and gymnasts; these activities can also lead to mouth and teeth injuries.

The American Dental Association (ADA) says, “When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouth guard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age. In fact, studies show that athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth if they’re not wearing a mouth guard. While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, you can experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating.”

Don’t make the mistake of automatically thinking you cannot afford a mouth guard. While the ADA recommends having a custom made mouth guard for best fit, there are stock and boil and bite style mouth guards that can be purchased very reasonably from sporting goods and drug stores. The fit may not be as perfect with these, but some protection will still be in place and can save pain and dental visits.

 A properly fitted mouth guard is especially important for those who wear dental braces or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouth guard provides a barrier between the braces and soft tissues of the cheeks and lips. A serious blow to the mouth of someone wearing braces is not only extremely painful but can mean costly unscheduled trips back to the orthodontist.

 The ADA’s website is a great place to learn more about mouth guards. Visit ADA.

 As we all know, Greenville is a big sports town! If you or someone in your family is involved in sports, add a mouth guard to your list of protective gear and stay in the  “safety zone.”

Patient care at your fingertips with ePSS

 Laupus Library  Comments Off on Patient care at your fingertips with ePSS
Mar 152013

Now, patient care is literally at the fingertips of ECU’s Health Sciences community members.

Laupus Library now provides faculty and students with access to the Electronic Preventative Services Selector (ePSS) patient care platform. The tool, which is offered as both a web-based platform and a downloadable app, is designed to help primary care physicians and health teams identify, prioritize and offer screening, counseling and preventative medication services to patients.

ePSS utilizes current, evidence-based recommendations by the U.S. Preventative Services and can be searched based on patient characteristics such as age, sex and selected risk factors. Then, ePSS produces recommendations that are grouped and graded based on the criteria entered.

ePSS does much more than just generate recommendations, though. It also offers tools for implementation including screeners, patient education brochures, risk assessment tools and more.

Installation instructions can be found here: The service was developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The staff at Laupus Library remains committed to keeping everyone in the ECU Division of Health Sciences equipped with the latest tools to help our students and faculty work and learn more efficiently.

If you’re interested in learning more about ePSS, as well as other resources we offer, please join us for our final Mobile Library Resources Class of the semester. The class will be held April 10 from 3-4 pm in Laupus room 3503.

–Kelly Rogers Dilda
Public Communications Specialist
Laupus Library

Marijuana—good or bad?

 College of Allied Health Sciences  Comments Off on Marijuana—good or bad?
Mar 082013

Marijuana is in the news again.  Recent articles can be found debating the health risks of marijuana, and conversely, articles touting the benefits of using marijuana to treat symptoms of various ailments.

The fact that it seems to be a perpetual story in the news illustrates its complex history. Americans in general and students in particular are curious about the value-laden, love-hate relationship we’ve had with marijuana.

History tells us that psychoactive substances, such as alcohol, sugar, tobacco, and marijuana, are part of the human experience. Surveys from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health say an estimated 95 million Americans age 12 and older have tried “pot” at least once, and 4.3 million Americans were classified with dependence on or abuse of marijuana.  The risks can be both short and long-term, affecting physical and mental health, cognitive abilities, and daily life.

In contrast, current research suggests a potential medicinal value of marijuana.  Scientists say it has shown promise for treating the symptoms of various diseases, including cancer, hepatitis, glaucoma, and depression.  Many believe funding should be continued to explore marijuana efficacy.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have added to the controversy, enacting laws allowing for the medical use of marijuana, despite the fact the federal government, which regulates marijuana through the Controlled Substances Act, says there is no difference between medicinal and recreational marijuana, and all forms are illegal.  In recent years, however, there has been a shift within the U.S. criminal justice system toward providing treatment through rehabilitation services rather than incarceration for drug users and nonviolent offenders with addiction problems. Today, in fact, the criminal justice system is the largest source of referral to drug treatment programs.

And so the debate will continue. Thus, it is critical to stay abreast of emerging research and remain open to different perspectives.  The ECU Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies teaches courses that present evidence based research on marijuana from a broad biopsychosocialspiritual perspective to dispel urban myths, address biases, balance the social pros and cons, provide context, address determinants of health, and suggest strategies that advance communities.

Dr. Mary Crozier, Assistant Professor
Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies