Apr 182014

White Coat

As the Admissions Office at the Brody School of Medicine wraps up another application season, now is a good time for reflection. With one of the largest applicant pools we’ve had in 18 years, the interviewing season was a huge success. While the Admissions Committee inevitably makes the final decisions on which applicants are picked, the Admissions Office plays a key role in things running smoothly.  Most folks are creatures of habit, afraid of change and don’t want to do things differently.  After all, it’s always been done that way, right? But change is not always bad. In fact, it’s a vital part of success.

In an effort to increase efficiency and cut operating costs, our office is always striving to improve our processes. One of the main goals of the office is to identify and interview folks that will one day be successful Brody students. We have witnessed the application process evolve from huge piles of paper to almost everything electronic! After so many application cycles, one would expect the process to run smoothly, but that’s not always the case. Lots of hard work and good organization skills keep things running, but each season continues to bring challenges to our office.  The next interview cycle will bring some changes and challenges as well. For the very first time, our interviews will be centralized in one location with more exposure to our current student body. Hopefully, this will encourage and improve the student interaction with our applicants. There are also plans to streamline the application process and even implement ways for applicants to check their individual application status online. All these changes aim to make the process even more successful and efficient in the years to come.  

Now it’s time to look to the future. In early May, our office will witness another successful graduating class finish their journey as medical students. As the next application cycle begins in just a few months with hundreds of new applicants, we will also watch as 80 first-year students come to Brody to begin their experience through medical school. Many of these folks will help carry out our mission by receiving their education here and will become physicians who will hopefully one day return to North Carolina to serve in our communities.  

Lynn S. Coward, Director
Medical Student Admissions

Mar 252014

If you are anything like me, the rigors of an education in any realm of health care can at times exhaust the core, humanistic ideals that originally attracted us to choose a career that serves others. The idea that your work is solely to improve the lives of others is clouded by the demands to get higher grades, impress the folks around you, or satisfy the checkpoints that allow progression and acceptance. In 2007, Dr. Laurie Green, a former Brody medical student, and a few peers dreamt an idea to transcend this phenomenon – through art.

type.cast, the student-run art and literary magazine of the ECU health sciences campus, is an annual publication that showcases the artistic and literary talents of students and faculty.  You may have seen the magazines on coffee tables throughout your school or noticed the display on the second floor of Laupus Library.  Formerly, type.cast was limited to the School of Medicine.  Recently, the magazine has grown and now includes works from all over the health sciences division.  

In addition to becoming more inclusive, type.cast has expanded to include an impressive judging panel for selected pieces. This year, the works were judged by 19 esteemed faculty members who have acknowledged the importance of art in the field of medicine. The magazine itself has grown to more than 40 pages of quality photos, original fine art, jewelry, and literary works of students and faculty from the ECU health sciences campus. To celebrate the progress, type.cast and Laupus Library have teamed to host an official launch party of the publication at 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 31.. The fourth floor of Laupus will buzz with artistic expression, accompanied by wine and cheese, as the seventh edition will be revealed alongside a gallery of the art and literary pieces included in this year’s publication. Everyone is invited to drop by.

 The volume and degree of academic talent in the ECU health science campus impresses many. Invariably, students and faculty possess other talents that deserve to be showcased. I believe type.cast serves this role well while also uniting what can sometimes be a disjointed campus. This year’s edition reveals the common threads of human existence. Through its four chapters of “Flow,” “Grow,” “Breathe,” and “Create,” Edition VII explores the ubiquitous necessity of water for life, the miracle of growth, the rhythm of each breath taken by humans, and the amazing innovations of man.  

Endeavors such as type.cast allow a university campus to unite and celebrate our similarities and diversities. As we are all focused on improving the quality of life of our fellow man, it is my hope that Edition VII of type.cast instills a glimpse of inspiration in each member of the health sciences community. Hippocrates probably said it best:  “Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.”  

Dylan Suttle, MS3, The Brody School of Medicine
Editor-in-Chief, type.cast Edition VII

Want to find out more about type.cast?  Follow us on twitter at @typecastBSOM or email us at brody.type.cast@gmail.com.

Want to submit your work for next year’s edition?  Keep an eye out for flyers and information this fall.

The type.cast Edition VII Launch Party will be held on Monday, March 31 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the fourth floor of Laupus Library.

 dylan suttle photo

Mar 142014

This coming week is Match Week – the highly anticipated event of the residency application process for all senior medical students. Many people have heard of Match Day, but may not realize the carefully orchestrated and, at times, chaotic events in the week leading up to the day.

Monday, March 17 – At 12pm EST, Fourth-year students receive emails from the National Resident Matching Program letting them know if they matched.  For most students who receive the coveted “Congratulations, you have matched” email from NRMP, there’s nothing to do but wait until the ceremony when students will receive the actual location of the program they match to. However, for those students -who find out they did not match – there is much to do before Friday.

These students will enter SOAP (Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program) formally known as SCRAMBLE. Students will receive a list of unfilled programs and can begin “applying.” The process is stressful since students have usually never visited the program or city that they will be considering. Moreover, the programs listed may not be in the specialty to which the student originally applied. 

Tuesday, March 18 – Unfilled programs begin ranking the unmatched applicants. Programs can start officially entering a list that ranks the unmatched applicants who have applied to them.  Programs can continue to contact unmatched applicants who have applied to their program via SOAP.

Wednesday and Thursday, March 19-20 – Unfilled programs submit rank list and SOAP offers are made.  Candidates will be notified which programs have “offered” them a spot.  Offers will be extended in rounds. Students will have three hours per round to make a decision.

Friday – March 21 – 12:00pm EST –Match Day ceremonies commence around the United States. This will mark the 32nd Match Day ceremony at Brody. Friends, family, staff, and faculty fill the Brody Auditorium anxiously waiting for their student’s name to be called at random and each student then proceeds to the stage to receive an envelope containing the name of the residency program to which they are matched. By tradition, monetary contributions are collected from those in attendance and the student whose name is called last receives that prize.

Kelly D. Lancaster
Director of Student Services & Financial Aid
Brody School of Medicine
Office of Student Affairs

Kelly Lancaster

Feb 252014

The news has been filled with reports of new guidelines to prevent and treat heart disease, hypertension and obesity.  My patients have pointed out that none of these new guidelines discuss diet. Reports about the new heart guidelines focus on a controversial new risk assessment tool and also the potential for many more people taking statin drugs.  Working toward achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and consuming a health promoting diet is still an important part of taking care of your heart.  If you don’t know your daily caloric needs, it’s time for you to go to SuperTracker (www.supertracker.usda.gov) and create a personal heart healthy diet and physical activity plan. If you know your calorie needs, you might want to track your intake using a Smartphone App like myfitnesspal.com.  Use the Nutrition Facts label on foods to identify foods that are lower in fat and saturated fat.  It’s recommended that you eat as little Trans-fat as possible and less than 6 percent of your calories from saturated fat. If a Nutrition Facts label shows a food having less than 5 percent of the Daily Value from saturated fat that is a low saturated fat food.  Avoid those foods that meet more than 18 percent of the Daily Value. Many people enjoy following a Mediterranean eating approach to protect their heart.  You can find a nice handout on the ECU Family Medicine website (http://www.ecu.edu/cs-dhs/fammed/resources/upload/RC_Med_diet-2.pdf) that allows you to assess your current diet and see what changes you might need to make.  And if you are on the Brody-Vidant Medical Center campus, stop in at the ECHI Heart Café (first floor of the ECHI hospital).  You can try affordable, delicious heart healthy food.  Are you confused about how to protect your heart?  Ask for a referral to a registered dietitian who can help you discover a healthy, affordable, fad-free way of eating for heart health.

 Kathryn M Kolasa Kelly PhD, RD, LDN
Professor Emeritus and Affiliate Professor.  Master Educator.
Vidant Health Nutrition Consultant


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