African-American History Month at Brody School of Medicine

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Feb 072014

To commemorate African-American History Month, the Brody School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity Affairs and the Student National Medical Association will sponsor an illustrated talk entitled, “Entering a ‘White’ Profession: Black Physicians and Racial Exclusion, 1865-1920.” Todd L. Savitt, PhD, assistant dean of diversity and professor in the Department of Bioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies, will speak noon-1p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20 in Brody 2N-86.

Black physicians in the highly race-conscious turn-of-the-century South were gaining recognition and achieving a measure of success.  Like other physicians, they faced the problems of gaining patients’ confidence and establishing collegial relationships with other local doctors.  They had to earn their status among patients and practitioners.  But black physicians of the period lived always with another issue that affected their careers and personal lives—race.  For example, they had to overcome black patients’ reluctance to use their services, low remuneration from a generally poorer, predominantly black clientele, and an unfriendly reception and professional exclusion from many white physicians. The sorts of situations Southern black physicians encountered and the ways they coped with them in their dealings with black patients, white physicians, white patients, and fellow black doctors as they entered the previously white medical profession are the subject of this article.

Race added an extra measure of uncertainty to the arrival of a black practitioner in town.  Few blacks and even fewer whites had ever met and dealt with, personally or professionally, a black person with a medical degree.  So the same black citizens who accorded black physicians high status in the community also treated warily someone so different from themselves who took on a role (“doctoring”) usually reserved for whites.

Southern white doctors took advantage of black practitioners’ vulnerable positions to isolate them professionally.  In addition to refusing to consult with or assist blacks, they barred their black colleagues from joining local and state medical societies, refused them admitting privileges to local hospitals, and overtly and subtly tried to reduce their competitiveness for patients who could afford to pay.  This gulf of isolation based on race appeared almost immediately after blacks entered the medical profession in the 1860s.  Such exclusionary policies extended to all Southern medical societies through the 1940s.

Black physicians fought against professional isolation in several ways.  Personal contact with white physicians sometimes helped.  More fruitful were activities that sought to circumvent the formal racial isolation imposed by whites.  Though these methods simply established parallel segregated institutions for black physicians, they did provide professional opportunities that were otherwise unavailable.  Occasionally black physicians in a city established a local medical society and met regularly for professional or social purposes.  Others simply recognized common needs and acted to assist one another, even in rural areas.

In general, black physicians adapted to medical practice in the segregated South despite the variety of racial problems and barriers they faced.

Savitt, Todd


10th Annual Jean Mills Health Symposium to be held Friday

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Feb 042014

For ten years, the Jean Mills Health Symposium has addressed health and health equity issues of minority populations, particularly in eastern North Carolina to audiences as large as 175 participants that have included health care providers, faith based organizations, community leaders, students and faculty. Through the symposium, Amos T. Mills III, Jean’s brother, has help keep her spirit of discovery and community outreach alive.

This year’s symposium will take place February 7 at the ECU Heart Institute with the theme, “Navigating Health Equity in the Next Decade”. The College of Allied Health Sciences along with ECU Medical and Health Sciences Foundation will welcome Dr. Lori Carter-Edwards, deputy director for research and operations for the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) and research associate professor of health behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health as the keynote speaker for the event.

Dr. Lori Carter-Edwards

Dr. Carter-Edwards will address what she sees as the long-term picture and forecast of the direction of health and health care within the Affordable Care Act on the consumers in rural areas of the state. She will focus on questions such as :

  • What will health care look like and what can the consumer expect?
  • Will the consumer be more knowledgeable about health (prevention) and health care and how to access and use it as an informed consumer?
  • What changes can we expect to see in the health profile of consumers in 10 years and where and how will they be served?
  • Technology-based innovations are an important part of health and health care delivery and will there be funds available to pay for it?
  • What is the future of rural health and health care delivery and how and where will it be delivered?

Following Dr. Carter-Edwards’ lecture will be a panel discussion featuring Jim Baluss the executive director of Access East, Inc., Dr. Lorri Basnight the executive director of Eastern AHEC and associate dean of clinical medical education at the Brody School of Medicine and Dr. Tom Irons, associate vice chancellor of health sciences campus and professor of pediatrics at the Brody School of Medicine.

After the panel discussion and a lunch presentation, symposium attendees can choose between two concurrent sessions. Dr. Essie Torres from AMEXCAN will lead a session discussing health concerns of Latinos in North Carolina and the role of community based organizations in fostering the appreciation, understand, and prosperity of Mexican and Latino communities through culture, leadership, health advocacy and education. As a community based, grassroots organization AMEXCAN is concerned with the complexity of issues that impact the health of the Latino population. This presentation will focus on how a community based organization collaborates with health providers, community activists, local governments and others in identifying and implementing successful health programs.

 Another session led by Terri Joyner, Pitt County Schools nurse supervisor and Leslie Ricker from the Wayne Initiative for School Health, will focus on the innovative contributions of school nurses in reducing health disparities. Joyner and Ricker will discuss the health issues they observe within their school age population and the services their organizations provide to address those issues.

The second afternoon session entitled “Using Mobile Clinics to Address Health Disparities” will center around two ambulatory clinics offered by Winston Salem State RAMS Know H.O.W. (Healthcare on Wheels) and the ECU Operation Re-Entry North Carolina mobile van.

The RAMS Know H.O.W. (Healthcare on Wheels) mobile clinic is a community outreach program provided by Winston-Salem State University School of Health Sciences. The mobile clinic provides quality, accessible, and integrated wellness services to reduce health disparities. The mobile clinic offers free preventive health services to East Winston residents and others, who are uninsured or underinsured, in the convenience of their community.  The clinic’s team is made up of health sciences faculty, staff, and student volunteers. This team conducts the health screenings and makes referrals to local providers, as needed. The ECU  Operation Re-Entry van is equipped with satellite communication and other technology to take medical, psychiatric and behavioral health services to veterans and their families where they live. 

Throughout the day, posters and displays can be viewed in the atrium area.

To register for the 2014 Jean Mills Health Symposium visit and search for events in February 2014.
Visit for more information about the symposium.

Photography of bugs, birds and butterflies featured in new library exhibit

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Feb 032014

wildlife photog exhibitAn opening reception for a new wildlife photography exhibit in Laupus Library will be held 4:30-6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4 in the library’s fourth floor gallery.

Jerry Lotterhos, professor emeritus in the Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies at the College of Allied Health Sciences, presents “Downeast Bugs, Birds, and Butterflies: A Collection of Wildlife Photography.” The exhibit is featured in the library’s Art as Avocation series for spring semester.

Lotterhos will showcase an intimate glimpse into the lives of unique and beautiful creatures. The exhibit will be on display through March 26.

Visitors can view the exhibit located on the fourth floor of Laupus Library during normal operating hours posted at or call 252-744-2219.

Go to the Art as Avocation webpage at to learn more about the artist or future exhibitions.

For more information, call Kelly Rogers Dilda at 252-744-2232 or e-mail