Sep 232014
 

Between 90,000 and 100,000 Americans are living with sickle cell disease today and approximately 125 infants are born with it every year in North Carolina – 25 of them in eastern North Carolina. September has been designated National Sickle Cell Awareness Month to increase awareness of their plight.

“Normal red blood cells are soft and round and can squeeze through tiny blood vessels. They carry oxygen to all parts of the body through a substance called hemoglobin,” said Dr. Beng Fuh, director of hematology and oncology for the Department of Pediatrics at the Brody School of Medicine.

Fuh said sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that occurs predominantly in African-Americans. The red blood cells of people with the disease contain mostly abnormal hemoglobin, which causes their red blood cells to stiffen, bend into the shape of a sickle – a curved tool once used to harvest wheat – and sometimes block small blood vessels. Complications include anemia, tissue and organ damage, strokes and excruciating pain.

Because blood transfusions are one of the main treatments for these complications, ECU’s Sickle Cell Awareness Committee has partnered with the local American Red Cross to encourage eligible donors to give blood in September to help ensure a stable and diverse blood supply for people living with this disease.

ECU’s sickle cell disease program is one of the largest in the state with approximately 900 adult and pediatric patients.

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Sep 112014
 

Hal Garland, executive director of the Golden Living Center, presents a check for $123,000 to Dr. Chelley Alexander, chair of the Department of Family Medicine at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine, to support the medical school’s Teaching Nursing Home Project. Pictured (from left) are Dr. Kenneth Steinweg, director of the geriatric division for the Department of Family Medicine; Garland; Alexander; Maria Knupp, family nurse practitioner with the project; and Dr. Renee Banaszak, the project’s director.Hal Garland, executive director of the Golden Living Center, presents a check for $123,000 to Dr. Chelley Alexander, chair of the Department of Family Medicine at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine, to support the medical school’s Teaching Nursing Home Project. Pictured (from left) are Dr. Kenneth Steinweg, director of the geriatric division for the Department of Family Medicine; Garland; Alexander; Maria Knupp, family nurse practitioner with the project; and Dr. Renee Banaszak, the project’s director.

Golden Living Center has donated  $123,000 to the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University to support a nursing home teaching project.

Brody’s Department of Family Medicine provides primary medical care for the residents of the local Golden Living Center on MacGregor Downs Road. The 72,000-square-foot facility houses 152 residents.

Hal Garland, executive director of the local Golden Living Center, presented the donation to Dr. Chelley Alexander, chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Brody; Dr. Kenneth Steinweg, director of the geriatrics division for the Department of Family Medicine; Maria Knupp, family nurse practitioner with the project; and Dr. Renee Banaszak, the project’s director.

The money will be used to support the instruction of resident physicians and geriatric fellows, faculty salaries and teaching materials. Medical, pharmacy and physician assistant students also go to Golden Living Center for clinical learning.

This year is the 33rd the center has supported the teaching project with cumulative support totaling more than $2.5 million.

Sep 092014
 
Representatives from the Greater Carolinas Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society visited Greenville to formally present ECU Physicians Neurology with recognition as a partner in MS care. Pictured during that event are, left to right, are Robert Frere, Londra Fleming, Shawnna Patterson, Donald L. Price Jr., Lovie Powers and Kaye Gooch.

Representatives from the Greater Carolinas Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society visited Greenville to formally present ECU Physicians Neurology with recognition as a partner in MS care. Pictured during that event are, left to right, are Robert Frere, Londra Fleming, Shawnna Patterson, Donald L. Price Jr., Lovie Powers and Kaye Gooch.

 

ECU Physicians Neurology, a leading provider of care for people living with multiple sclerosis in eastern North Carolina, has been recognized as an official “Partner in MS Care” by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

This formal designation honors the practice’s commitment to providing exceptional MS care, and to working closely with the society to address the challenges of people affected by the disease.

“We are so proud to partner with ECU Physicians Neurology to enhance coordinated care for the more than 800 people who live with MS in Pitt County and its surrounding areas,” said Kaye Gooch, executive vice president of programs and services for the Greater Carolinas Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

“In earning this recognition, ECU Physicians Neurology has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in MS care, making a tremendous impact on people affected by MS in their community and region,” she said.

Joseph Hodges, clinical administrative manager for the practice, said, “This designation is an important achievement for us because it endorses the level of care and professional commitment our physicians and staff provide our patients living with multiple sclerosis. It means we work in cooperation with the MS Society and with many local providers and hospitals to ensure patients receive the highest level of quality care available.

“Although multiple sclerosis is a chronic neurological disease, it impacts many body functions,” he added. “Thus, coordination with other physicians and caregivers is essential for patients to achieve a high level of functionality in their daily lives.”

MS is a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system in which the body’s immune system incorrectly attacks healthy tissue in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, disrupting the flow of information between the brain, spinal cord and other parts of the body.

Symptoms can range from relatively benign to disabling and include blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, memory and concentration problems, paralysis and blindness. It’s estimated that more than 2.3 million people worldwide are affected by MS.

ECU Physicians Neurology is the largest and most comprehensive neurological medical practice in eastern North Carolina, with 10 physicians who care for patients with MS. One of them, Dr. Robert Frere, who is board-certified in neurology and psychiatry, holds a specialty certification in neurophysiology.

The practice provides MS diagnosis, neuropsychological or cognitive evaluation and treatment, ongoing MS medical and symptom management, pain management, and patient and family education. They also participate in MS clinical trials and research.

ECU Physicians Neurology is located at 2280 Hemby Lane in Greenville. For an appointment, call 252-752-4848, or toll-free 1-800-775-4840. For more information about the practice visit www.ecu.edu/ecuphysicians.

Aug 192014
 

Incoming ECU medical students named Brody Scholars are, left to right, Ismail Kassim of High Point, Alyssa D¹Addezio of Concord and Zachary Sutton of Pink Hill.Incoming ECU medical students named Brody Scholars are, left to right, Ismail Kassim of High Point, Alyssa D¹Addezio of Concord and Zachary Sutton of Pink Hill.

Three incoming students at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine have been named Brody Scholars for the Class of 2018.

Alyssa D’Addezio of Concord, Ismail Kassim of High Point and Zachary Sutton of Pink Hill will receive four years of medical school tuition, living expenses and the opportunity to design their own summer enrichment program that can include travel abroad. The award will also support community service projects the students may undertake while in medical school.

D’Addezio attended North Carolina State University on a Park Scholarship, the university’s four-year merit scholarship program founded on scholarship, leadership, service and character. She graduated in May with a human biology degree and a minor in English.

She said one of her short-term goals is to serve in a local clinic for underserved populations in preparation for a primary care career in North Carolina. “The Brody Scholars program generously provides support that allows me to boldly pursue primary care without the burden or limitations of debt,” she said. “It also gives me an amazing opportunity to help meet the health care needs of the people of North Carolina by enhancing my medical education and training with networking and support.”

Kassim also graduated recently from N.C. State with degrees in human biology and chemistry. A native of Nigeria, he said he hasn’t decided on a specialty yet, but has enjoyed previous exposure to both family medicine and oncology.

Over the next four years, Kassim hopes to “gain the skills needed to become a competent and compassionate physician while cultivating healthy relationships that will last a lifetime. My selection as a Brody Scholar highlights the support of the family members, friends, mentors and educators who have invested in me and helped me develop into the person I am today,” he added. “I am eternally grateful to the Brody Scholars program for their belief in me and willingness to transform my dream of becoming a physician into reality.”

Sutton graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013 with a degree in biochemistry. He said he doesn’t have a specific medical specialty in mind but is interested in exploring family medicine.

“I want to learn not only the knowledge associated with becoming a doctor, but also the social skills needed to effectively interact with patients and other medical staff,” Sutton said. “As a kid growing up in and around Kinston, I have long known about the Brody family [of Kinston and Greenville]…and their great contributions toward improving health care in eastern North Carolina. Becoming a part of their family as a Brody Scholar is truly an honor, and I will do everything I can to promote the Brody name in a positive manner.

James Peden Jr., associate dean for admissions at the medical school, said, “For over 30 years the Brody Medical Scholarship Program has attracted outstanding students to the Brody School of Medicine, providing them with opportunities and development activities in addition to very generous financial support. Our Brody Scholars have in turn enriched the Brody School of Medicine with their academic, leadership and altruistic contributions. Most importantly, Brody Scholars have gone on to fulfill the BSOM mission by practicing as outstanding physicians caring for the people of North Carolina.”

In its 32nd year, the Brody Scholars program honors J.S. “Sammy” Brody. He and his brother, Leo, were among the earliest supporters of medical education in eastern North Carolina. The legacy continues through the dedicated efforts of Hyman Brody of Greenville and David Brody of Kinston. Subsequent gifts from the Brody family have enabled the medical school to educate new physicians, conduct important research and improve health care in eastern North Carolina.

Since the program began in 1983, 128 students have received scholarships. About 70 percent of Brody Scholars remain in North Carolina to practice, and the majority of those stay in eastern North Carolina.

Jul 232014
 

Carroll portrait BSOMDr. Robert G. Carroll, a professor of physiology in the Brody School of Medicine, was selected as the 2014 Claude Bernard Distinguished Lecturer by a national society this spring.

It is one of only 12 distinguished lectureships sponsored by the American Physiology Society and approved by the APS Council. The APS Teaching of Physiology section chose Carroll, who presented “The Social Contract of Learning” at the APS Experimental Biology Meeting in San Diego on April 27. 

Bernard (1818-1878) was a famous French scientist and the founder of modern experimental physiology.

 Carroll earned his Ph.D. in 1981 under the direction of Dr. David F. Opdyke at the Department of Physiology of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Newark. This was followed by a three-year post-doctoral fellowship at University of Mississippi Medical Center under the sponsorship of Drs. Thomas E. Lohmeier and Arthur C. Guyton. 

Among his many service roles, Carroll is a past chair the education committee for the American Physiological Society and is chair of the education committee of the International Union of Physiological Sciences. He served as chief editor of the Advances in Physiology Education journal for six years. In the past, he served on the United States Medical Licensing Exam Step I physiology test material development committee of the National Board of Medical Examiners.

Carroll has worked at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine since 1984 where he also serves as interim associate dean of medical education.