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.

Jun 272014

North Carolina’s Commission for Public Health recently approved a mandate for incoming seventh graders to be vaccinated against meningitis – an infection of the brain or spinal cord – and other meningococcal diseases beginning July 2015. The mandate also includes an additional booster for incoming high school seniors beginning July 2020.

Barring lack of approval by the state’s Rules Review Commission later this month, the new policies will align North Carolina’s policy with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Meningococcal disease is caused by a certain type of bacteria that infects the brain, spinal cord, bloodstream or lungs. Although it’s considered rare – affecting about 3,000 people nationwide every year – it is potentially fatal and extremely expensive to treat.

According to information published by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, 10 to 15 percent of those who contract a meningococcal disease die from it. Twenty percent of survivors suffer debilitating long-term effects, including brain damage.

Meningococcal diseases that would be prevented by the vaccine tend to be more prevalent in the adolescent population, but only about half of North Carolina’s teens are vaccinated against them.

The following physicians in East Carolina University’s Department of Pediatrics are experts on adolescent health issues and the importance of immunizations for this population: Dr. Roytesa Savage, director of ECU’s Pediatric Outpatient Center and associate professor of pediatrics; Dr. David Holder, clinical associate professor for pediatrics; and Dr. Sharon Mangan, clinical associate professor of pediatrics.

In addition, the following ECU physicians serve on the North Carolina Immunization Advisory Committee: Dr. Karin Hillenbrand, associate professor for pediatrics and director of ECU’s pediatric residency program; and Dr. Kristina Simeonsson, associate professor for pediatrics and public health.

Jun 102014

Sharon Justice, PhD“They just don’t get it!” Have you ever caught yourself thinking this? School and workplaces today are, quite a mix, not only of cultures and experiences, but of generations.  And if it isn’t already complicated enough, the Digital Natives are entering high school this year, and for the first time will enter the workplace, filling volunteer, seasonal and part-time roles.  

Brody School of Medicine faculty participating in the INSPRE program (INclusion, Support, Professional development, Retention, Enrichment) recently attended a leadership development session led by East Carolina’s Sharon Justice, teaching instructor in the College of Business.  

The INSPRE program is cosponsored by the Vice Chairs of Certificate in Medical Education Program and a mentoring committee for each participant.  INSPRE workshop sessions are held every other year to address peer mentoring and leadership development in an effort to ensure recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty members that are reflective of the patients and medical learners they serve.

Participants learned that each generation is defined by common experiences, shared values and historical events. Each assumes that the next generation:

  • Wants what they have
  • Shares their definition of “success”
  • Believes the subsequent generations should “pay their dues” the same waygenerations
  • Has it much easier

When we stop to evaluate, we realize these assumptions can lead to misunderstandings and potential conflicts.  What can we do to communicate and work together better?

The most effective way to work in a multi-generational work place starts with observation; take time to understand generational differences.  What is common to the 20 year old (technology, apps, widgets) can be a foreign language to a WWII.  Different doesn’t mean wrong or bad, it’s just different.  Be open to different perspectives.

 Understanding Generations




Gen X



Experience, Knowledge, Focus, Dedication

Service, Dedication, Team, Knowledge

Adaptability, Tech knowledge, Independence, creativity, willingness to buck the system

Collaboration, Optimism, Multi-task, Tech Savvy


Reluctance to Buck the system, Dislike conflict, Reticent when disagree

Dislike conflict, reluctant to go against peers, Process before result, Not always budget minded

Skeptical, Distrust authority/institutions

Need supervision and structure, Inexperience, especially with people


Memos, letters

Phone, in person

Voice mail, Email

Instant Msg, Blog, Text, Email


Tangible symbols of loyalty (certificates, etc.)

Promotion, personal recognition

Free time, New resources, results, certifications

Awards, Certificates, Tangible evidence of credibility


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

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