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.

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Dr. Jamie Perry

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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.

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Jan 172014
 

The College of Allied Health Science is adding a fourth certificate to the Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies with the new certificate in military and trauma counseling (MTC) program.

The program will prepare graduate students enrolled in counselor education programs to work effectively with the psychosocial and mental health needs of military personnel, veterans, disabled veterans, and their families. Students will also acquire the knowledge and skills to work effectively with those who have experienced civilian trauma.

Makr Stebnicki, professor in the Department of Addictions & Rehabilitation Studies and coordinator of the new MTC certificate

Mark Stebnicki, professor in the Department of Addictions & Rehabilitation Studies and coordinator of the new MTC certificate

“More than two million American troops have deployed to the Middle East since September 11, 2001 in support of the Global War on Terror,” said Dr. Mark Stebnicki, professor and Coordinator of the Military and Trauma Counseling Certificate, “More servicemen and women are surviving combat injuries than ever before due to improved battlefield medicine, post-operative medical technology, and better body armor. Many have experienced catastrophic physical injuries/disabilities (i.e., traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and amputations) and serious mental health concerns (i.e., post traumatic stress, substance abuse, and behavioral addictions).”

Stebnicki added that transitioning from active duty to civilian life requires a unique understanding of the medical, physical, psychological, and career needs of the individual service member, as well as family members, and significant others. The new certificate will provide graduates with the skills needed to aid military personnel and veterans with that transition.

“There are unique differences in counseling persons in community mental health versus military and veteran settings,” said Stebnicki, “Because of these differences, the MTC program specializes in training students how to work competently in the diagnosis, therapeutic interventions, and rehabilitation treatment planning of service men and women who are transitioning from active duty to civilian life.”

Providing services such as these for military personnel is a large focus in the department. Dr. Paul Toriello, the Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Services chair secured an $828,956 grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services to help equip the Operation Re-Entry van with satellite communication and new telehealth technology that provides clinical care long-distance.

(L-R) Jim Menke, project manager for Operation Re-entry North Carolina, and Dr. Paul Toriello, chair of the ECU Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies, worked together on the grant project that equipped the Operation Re-entry van with technology to serve veterans and their families in their own communities. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

(L-R) Jim Menke, project manager for Operation Re-entry North Carolina, and Dr. Paul Toriello, chair of the ECU Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies, worked together on the grant project that equipped the Operation Re-entry van with technology to serve veterans and their families in their own communities. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

With the new equipment, the Operation Re-Entry van can deliver medical, psychiatric and behavioral health services in an ambulatory unit that can travel to veterans and their families instead of making them travel for services.

To be eligible for the MTC certificate program students must be admitted by the Graduate School as a degree or certificate student and meet the minimum admission criteria including a letter of intent, a GPA of 2.7, and consent of the MTC Program Coordinator.

The courses that are required with the MTC certificate program are:

REHB 6000- Medical and Psychosocial Aspects of Disability (3): Functional capacities of individuals with disabilities, impact of disability on individual, and personal and social adjustment to life.

REHB 6100- Occupational Analysis and Career Counseling (3): Current occupational, vocational, career counseling, and career development theories and practices related to persons with and without disabilities across the life-span.

REHB 6375- Military and Trauma Counseling (3): Focuses on providing assessment, counseling, rehabilitation, and transitional services to individuals and families in the military, veterans, and/or trauma survivors.

Additionally, students are required to complete one three (3) semester hour elective approved by the MTC certificate program Coordinator.

For more information contact Dr. Mark Stebnicki, MTC program coordinator-email: stebnickim@ecu.edu, telephone: 252.744.6295. For more extensive information on the Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation visit our website at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-dhs/rehb/index.cfm .

Dec 132013
 

With technology ever-changing, the College of Allied Health Sciences is leading the way for the University with new equipment in a Allied Health Sciences building classroom that will open up new possibilities for professors and students alike.

“Fall semester saw the introduction to a new room setup and during winter break more of our rooms will benefit from this same technology,” said Jean Merenda, educational technology specialist.

The new technology is controlled by a Crestron touch screen monitor that allows for full integration of Microsoft “Ink” tools. Through this tool, professors can use a stylus to take notes directly on the screen during a presentation, highlighting key points and adding thoughts that can be saved for viewing later on.

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With the easy-to-use software, switching between different sources such as laptops, iPads or USB drives will be much easier and fluid, cutting down the time devoted to setting up for a lecture or presentation. Now professors and students can switch between devices seamlessly with minimum interruption time.

Also featured in the new classroom design is a state-of-the-art document camera with a high resolution than the ones currently being used in classrooms, and also takes up less room on the podium.

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Faculty from Health Services & Information Management look on as Jean Merenda from the office of educational technology demonstrates how to use the new touch panel.

Classroom 1345 is also equipped with a “bridge” system which will enable instructors to use the in-room camera for Skype and WebConferencing sessions.  Through this technology, students can conference with other classes across the state, or enjoy a guest lecturers without travel expense.  This technology will soon be available for all classrooms that currently have in-room cameras.

Air Media software will be a standard in the classroom as well and will allow students to connect and project from their personal devices. Through this software, students can easily share without having to disconnect one laptop and plugging in another to project on the screen.

“One of the neatest additions is the Air Media software which will enable students to share their desktops without leaving their seat,” said Merenda.

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Jean Merenda shows faculty how to utilize the in-room camera for recording and Skype sessions.

The new software is a great addition to the College of Allied Health Sciences and will assist in making lectures more accessible and interactive. For more information about technology in the College of Allied Health Sciences, visit the “OET for CAHS” blog at http://blog.ecu.edu/sites/OET/.

Dec 112013
 
OT students Costa Rica Aug 2013

From left to right, ECU occupational therapy students Keli McColl, Farrell Wiggins and Brittany Robertson work with adults with autism in Costa Rica.

 In August, four students from the ECU occupational therapy master’s degree program traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica on a medical mission trip.

Katie Hopkins, Keli McColl, Brittany Robertson, and Farrell Wiggins spent a week working in a day program named ASCOPA for adults with autism. They assisted staff in creating activities and implementing sensory integration techniques to help enrich the lives of the participants.

Autism is not as well known in Costa Rica as it is in North Carolina. Even for those who know what the diagnosis entails, resources for adults and children with autism are scarce. This program is one of a kind, as most adults with autism in Costa Rica have two options: stay at home and receive assistance from their parents or be institutionalized. Instead, the program allows the adults to go to school and receive both a traditional education and life-skills training. 

The students from ECU created sensory-based activities for the adult participants and assisted with their daily activities. These included making paper, greeting cards, and gardening, which they sold at events throughout the year to raise money and awareness about autism. They also had an amazing time building relationships with the participants and staff, all of whom welcomed them warmly. 

In addition to volunteering at ASCOPA, the students traveled throughout Costa Rica to learn about the culture and lifestyle of the country. Costa Rica’s landscapes are as varied as they are beautiful. The students, who will graduate from ECU on Dec. 13, visited the mountainous rain forest, as well as the active Arenal Volcano and the beaches. 

OT students in Costa Rica Aug 2013

From left to right, ECU occupational therapy graduate students Farrell Wiggins, Brittany Robertson, Katie Hopkins and Keli McColl.

-Brittany Robertson, Occupational Therapy Class of 2013 

 

 

 

Nov 262013
 

First year students in the Department of Physical Therapy volunteered at the Pitt County Stand Down for Homeless Veterans event Oct. 25.

(L-R) First year students from the Department of Physical Therapy,  Clara Martin, Kara Clowers, Caleb Polson, Jasmine Crayton, Laura Kraich, Liz Flannery, and Marianne Gross volunteered at the Stand Down event. (not pictured: Jon McPeters)

(L-R) First year students from the Department of Physical Therapy, Clara Martin, Kara Clowers, Caleb Polson, Jasmine Crayton, Laura Kraich, Liz Flannery, and Marianne Gross volunteered at the Stand Down event. (not pictured: Jon McPeters)

The Stand Down was hosted by the QSA Foundation, a local non-profit group that works to aid homeless veterans and military families. The event’s title comes from the term “stand down” in the military culture, which is a time when exhausted combat units stop fighting and recover at a secure base camp. This is an opportunity for the unit to take care of personal hygiene, get clean uniforms, eat warm meals, and receive medical and dental care.

Applying this same idea to a community of homeless veterans, a Stand Down in the community refers to helping the homeless veterans “combat” life on the streets. For a few hours, hundreds of homeless veterans are provided with a range of services and needs, such as food, clothing, medical and dental help, job counseling, sleeping bags, and blankets. More importantly, the Stand Down was a chance for the community to connect with the homeless veteran population and provide some assistance.

While at the Stand Down, the group of students registered veterans for the event, helped veterans sign up for haircuts with the barber, handed out hygiene supplies, shoes and clothing, and provided veterans with breakfast and lunch.

“I know all of us learned a lot from this event and walked away with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the surprisingly large group of homeless and low income veterans in our community,” said physical therapy student Clara Martin, “We hope to participate again next year.”

Next year’s event will take October 24, 2014. For more information about Stand Down, visit the event’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/StandDown2013/info.