May 302014
 
smile7740

An ECU dental student provides care during Give Kids a Smile Day held earlier this year in Greenville. The annual event is sponsored by the East Central Dental Society and geared to improving children’s oral and overall health.

East Carolina University is helping foster healthier smiles from the mountains to the coast.

On May 16, ECU announced plans to build a dental clinic on U.S. 17 in Bolivia adjacent to Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center in southeastern North Carolina. And the university’s School of Dental Medicine is scheduled to officially open its fourth community service learning center with a ribbon cutting in Sylva in southwestern North Carolina on June 27.

The Brunswick County center will be the eighth opened by the ECU School of Dental Medicine in underserved areas across the state. Centers are already serving patients in Ahoskie, Elizabeth City, Lillington and Sylva and others are under construction in Spruce Pine, Davidson County and Robeson County.

Led by ECU dental faculty members, fourth-year dental students will receive clinical training at the centers while general dentistry residents also hone their skills at the facilities. The general dentistry centers feature treatment rooms, X-ray equipment, educational space and more.  

The school recently was awarded a $451,955 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Division to fund audio-visual technology at the learning centers and to support infrastructure at Ledyard E. Ross Hall, the site of the school on ECU’s health sciences campus.

Students and residents at the centers stay connected to the teaching program at ECU by using a video teleconferencing system to attend lectures, seminars and consultations with specialists. Teleconferencing also allows for remote patient consultation and diagnosis and continuing education for dental faculty and area dentists.

ECU admitted its first class of 52 dental students in 2011. All students are North Carolina residents. The first class will begin seeing patients in the community service learning centers this fall.

Any member of the community – including Medicaid patients – can receive dental care at the centers.

For people who live in and near Greenville, a clinic is open at Ross Hall. Call 252-737-7834 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to learn more or to make an appointment. Or visit http://www.ecu.edu/dental.

 

 

 

 

Share/Bookmark
May 232014
 

Memorial Day weekend marks the traditional start of summer, and an important reminder for water safety.

rwiipw_button_2014_180x150National Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week, now in is 10th year, focuses on the role swimmers, lifeguards, pool owners and public health officials can take in preventing drowning, pool injuries and outbreaks of water illnesses. It’s a reminder for individuals to help protect themselves and prevent the spread of germs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recreational water illnesses are caused by germs spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, lakes, rivers or oceans. Diarrhea is the most common illness caused by germs such as norovirus. Skin, ear, respiratory, eye and wound infections also can occur from the germs. Children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk. Chlorine and other disinfectants do not kill germs instantly. While most are killed within minutes, a germ called Crypto (short for Cryptosporidium) can live for days. Swallowing just a mouthful of water with germs can make you sick, CDC officials say.

Steps to prevent illness and injury:

  • Don’t swim when you have diarrhea.
  • Shower before and after swimming.
  • Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.
  • Don’t swallow the water you swim in.
  • Parents of young children should take children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes or check diapers every 30 to 60 minutes. Change diapers in the bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not at poolside where germs can rinse into the water.

Drowning is the leading cause of injury or death for children ages 1 to 4. Every day, 10 people die from drowning, and two of those 10 are children under age 15. For those who survive, more than half are hospitalized or receive advanced care for serious injuries. 

Keep swimmers safe in the water by:

  • Making sure everyone knows how to swim.
  • Using life jackets appropriately.
  • Supervising swimmers.
  • Knowing CPR.

While pool chemicals kill germs and disinfect, they should be handled and stored properly. The CDC reports that preventable injuries from pool chemicals led to nearly 5,000 emergency room visits in 2012. Nearly 2,500 were in children and teenagers, and more than a third occurred at a home rather than a community pool.

Pool owners should always: 

  • Read and follow directions on product labels.
  • Wear safety equipment such as goggles or masks, as directed, when handling pool chemicals.
  • Secure pool chemicals to protect people and animals, and keep young children away when handling chemicals.
  • Never mix different pool chemicals with each other, especially chlorine products with acid.

Have a great, safe summer!

May 062014
 

At 8 a.m. on Monday, May 19, 30 students who were selected from 109 applicants will arrive and check in for the 2014 Summer Program for Future Doctors. The participants include 27 aspiring applicants to medical school and three matriculating students who will start their first year at the Brody School of Medicine in August.

SPFD blog post picSince its beginning in 1978, the summer program has been driven by the same mission as the medical school. It’s focused on improving the preparation of medical school applicants with an emphasis on North Carolina natives from groups that are underrepresented in medicine. While all North Carolina residents are encouraged to apply, special consideration is given to minority students, students from disadvantaged backgrounds and non-traditional students who are changing paths and retooling for medical school.

This year’s group is diverse by many scales:

  • Gender:  12 men, 18 women
  • Self-identification: 13 Black/African American, 9 White/Caucasian, 2 Hispanic, 1 Native American, 4 Asian American, 1 Other
  • N.C. County Economic Tier:  1-Tier 1, 6-Tier 2, 23-Tier 3
  • Age: ranges from 20 to 37, mean = 23.9
  • Education: 22 have completed undergraduate degrees, two have graduate degrees, seven are rising college seniors, and two are rising college juniors

In its current format, the Summer Program for Future Doctors is an intense, nine week academic program that allows participants to experience the rigors of the medical school curriculum. Participants take courses in anatomy, biochemistry, physiology and neuroanatomy. These courses are taught by the same faculty members who teach the first year of medical school and give the students an opportunity to show that they can perform, and sometimes even thrive, in this learning environment.

The program provides more than an academic challenge. The students interact with rising second-year medical students who serve as teaching assistants. They have shadowing opportunities provided with Brody physicians, experience patient interviews through the Office of Clinical Skills and participate in a simulation experience.  The program provides the future doctors with feedback on a mock medical school admissions interview and helps them prepare their personal statement required in the admissions process. Time is also allocated for MCAT preparation. Perhaps the program should be renamed “medical school boot camp”!SPFD blog post pic2

After the program ends, each participant is provided with a comprehensive evaluation that includes more than test scores. Each student is evaluated for his/her professionalism, work ethic, ability to work with others, and other non-cognitive values that contribute to the student’s ability to become an effective and compassionate physician. Most medical schools accept this evaluation at the level of an evaluation by a university premedical committee.  Highly-rated participants do matriculate to medical school. Fourteen participants from the 2013 program applied for admission this year. Eight have been admitted to BSOM, one will attend medical school at UNC and one will attend medical school out of state.

Please welcome the 2014 participants! The second floor of Brody will be full of hard-working students who hope to become Brody students and future graduates. A smile or a kind word will help them accomplish their goals.

Richard Ray, Ph.D., Director
Summer Program for Future Doctors

May 012014
 

Dr. Jamie Perry, assistant professor, and Lakshmi Kollara-Sunil, a second year doctoral student,  both in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, have a newly funded grant from the Cleft Palate Foundation.

Perry-Jamie-web_1

Dr. Jamie Perry

Lakshmi_pic1

Lakshmi Kollara-Sunil

In their work, they are using dynamic magnetic resonance imaging during speech to examine the musculature in a unique clinical population - 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. This study will represent the first published findings of speech muscles among this clinical population. Data will provide insight into the unique muscle and cranial variations among these children.

22q11.2 deletion syndrome is caused by the deletion of part of Chromosome 22. It affects an estimated 1 in 4,000 people. The features of this syndrome vary considerably; however, common signs and symptoms include heart abnormalities, cleft palate and distinct facial features. Individuals with this syndrome may develop autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and Graves disease.  Children with this syndrome experience developmental delays including speech development delays and learning disabilities.

Both Dr. Perry and Kollara-Sunil expect the study will impact the surgical and clinical treatment plans and improve the speech outcomes following surgery.

According to the foundation website, the Cleft Palate Foundation (CPF) has funded research related to cleft and craniofacial anomalies since 1989. CPF has awarded over half a million dollars in research funding with the grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. Such funds are awarded based on criteria such as the significance or importance of the proposed research in the field of health care and the relevance of the proposed research to the field of cleft lip and palate and other craniofacial abnormalities.

For more information about the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders visit the department website.

For more information about the Cleft Palate Foundation click here.