Nov 012013

In the United States, nearly 26 million children and adults have diabetes. Another 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. And the American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion.

North Carolina exceeds the national average in the prevalence of diabetes, and East Carolina University scientists are recognized as international leaders in the study of metabolic diseases.

Research at the East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute encompasses several fields including bariatric surgery, insulin signaling, glucose transport, bioenergetics, exercise physiology, pediatric healthy weight programs, polyunsaturated fatty acids, cardiac arrhythmia, and many other areas.

The core research philosophy of the East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute is an integrative, interdisciplinary approach. Major discoveries by ECU researchers include: type 2 diabetes, previously thought to be incurable, can be reversed within several weeks to months after bariatric surgery; and, insulin resistance in muscle, a precondition that leads to diabetes, is caused by elevated production of hydrogen peroxide produced by mitochondria.

But the research goes hand in hand with preventative care. Now in its 12th year, the annual Winning with Diabetes Conference is a one-day community program for people with diabetes, friends, families and health care providers that feature speakers, screenings and demonstrations.

It will be held 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU.

The morning will feature speakers on neuropathy, kidney disease and effective self-management, while the afternoon will offer screenings and cooking demonstrations. One of the featured speakers is Dr. Robert Tanenberg, medical director of the diabetes and obesity institute and professor of medicine at ECU, and medical director of Vidant Medical Center’s inpatient diabetes program. 

Those attending will get:

•          Expert advice from doctors, nurses and nutritionists

•          Foot, blood pressure, kidney and vascular screenings

•          Cooking demonstrations        

Spots are filling fast. Register by calling Kristen Brooks at 252-847-8265. Fee is $25 per person and $20 for each additional person. The program is made possible by the ECU Brody School of Medicine, the ECU College of Nursing, Vidant Medical Center and the Pitt County Health Department.

American Diabetes Month is observed each November by the American Diabetes Association to bring attention to diabetes and those impacted by the disease.

Oct 182013

East Carolina University’s Beta Nu Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society of nursing, welcomes two distinguished speakers at the chapter’s induction ceremony Oct. 18.

The special guests are Dr. Kim Crickmore Osborne, vice president of operations and care navigation at Vidant Medical Center, and Dr. Maj-Helen Nyback from Novia University of Applied Sciences in Vasa, Finland. Nyback recently joined the chapter and will be formally inducted today. Her research interests include cultural competence and developing new learning environments in nursing.

ECU’s Beta Nu Chapter recently received notification of two awards. The Showcase of Regional Excellence Award recognizes chapters in each region for achievements in four call-for-action areas: Creating your Legacy, Engaging in Collaboration, Responding to Vulnerable Populations and Embracing Technology. Beta Nu is being honored for Creating your Legacy by Region 13 Coordinator Jayne Lutz.

On the international level, ECU’s chapter has received its 11th Chapter Key Award. The award was established in 1991 to honor chapters that exemplify activities in membership recruitment and retention, leadership and professional development, collaboration across local, regional and international areas, and in publicity and programming.  Beta Nu Chapter is one of only two chapters in the world to receive 11 awards. Beta Nu Chapter President Pam Reis will receive the award at Sigma Theta Tau International’s  42nd Biennial Convention in Indianapolis in November.

Oct 072013

ECU nurse-midwifery students take direction from program director Dr. Becky Bagley, standing at right, in a lab in the College of Nursing. Photo by Cliff Hollis, ECU News Services.

Think again if the word “midwife” conjures up thoughts of home birth and hippies. In fact, 95 percent of births attended by midwives happen in a hospital system and the rest are divided about equally between birthing centers and home.

ECU’s College of Nursing has been educating certified nurse-midwives for more than 20 years, graduating its first class in 1992. ECU offers the only nurse-midwifery education program in North Carolina and one of only 39 across the United States.

The college is recognizing its faculty, staff and students in celebration of National Midwifery Week Oct. 6-12.

ECU has graduated 160 students from the master’s degree concentration, and 32 are enrolled now, said Dr. Becky Bagley, director of nurse-midwifery. To practice, graduates must pass the national board exam through the American Midwifery Certification Board. ECU has had an overall pass rate of 98 percent on the exam since the program began, Bagley said.

In North Carolina, certified nurse-midwives also must obtain approval to practice from the Midwifery Joint Committee of the N.C. Board of Nursing.

More than 250 certified nurse-midwives were registered in North Carolina in November 2012, according to the state nursing board.

Across the country, more than 50 percent of certified nurse-midwives work in a physicians’ practice or list a hospital as their primary employer. They also work in public health centers, the military, birthing centers and home birth services. In 2011, the most recent data available, 12 percent of all vaginal births were attended by a certified nurse-midwife.

While known for obstetrical care, midwives also provide primary care including annual physical exams, family planning, preventive health screening, health promotion and patient education.

They are trained to provide care for newborns through their first 28 days of life. “This training allows the certified nurse midwife to empower the new parents and help prepare them for life with a new baby,” Bagley said.

Midwifery means “with woman” and certified nurse-midwives are “with women” from puberty through menopause. “The care provided by a certified nurse-midwife is one of a partnership with the woman,” Bagley said. “They are an advocate for women and families to eliminate health disparities and increase access to evidence-based, quality care.”

ECU’s program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. For more information, visit

Sep 132013
Reis, Pam_opt

Dr. Pamela J. Reis

East Carolina University’s Beta Nu Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International will receive its 11th Chapter Key Award at the 42nd Biennial Convention to be held Nov. 16-20 in Indianapolis.

Sigma Theta Tau is the international honor society of nursing. The key award recognizes chapters that successfully recruit and retain members, generate publicity and programming, provide leadership development and foster international collaboration.     

Only one other chapter in the world has earned as many Chapter Key Awards, said Dr. Pamela J. Reis, assistant professor of nursing and president of the Beta Nu chapter.

“I’m grateful to all members of Beta Nu past and present who have worked hard for the past 39 years to make our chapter one of distinction and excellence,” Reis said.

Aug 302013

We are thrilled to welcome an outstanding class to the inaugural Doctor of Nursing Practice program to the College of Nursing at East Carolina University!  Our first class includes clinical leaders from a variety of areas and advanced practice registered nurse roles.

The DNP degree is a practice-focused terminal degree earned by specialists in advanced nursing practice. The DNP focuses on developing nursing experts in translating and applying research findings in clinical practice. The post-master’s DNP curriculum expands the competencies of the advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) from the master’s level to encompass knowledge required as nurse leaders in increasingly complex healthcare systems to assess published evidence informing practice, improve systems of care to improve healthcare outcomes, and to make changes to enhance the quality of care. Graduates of the DNP program will provide nursing leadership to inform clinical practice, evaluate and improve health care delivery systems, improve health care outcomes and effect positive change for the citizens of eastern North Carolina and beyond.

Twenty-one students were accepted to the first class. The majority of students were from eastern North Carolina (56 percent).  The remaining students were from central N.C. (29 percent) and western N.C. (15 percent).  The majority of students enrolled in the part-time program of study (57 percent).  Of those admitted, 14 percent were male and 15 percent were identified as ethnic minorities.

When broken down by APRN role, the majority admitted were nurse practitioners (90 percent), certified nurse midwives (5 percent), certified registered nurse anesthetist(5 percent) and one applicant dually certified as adult nurse practitioner/clinical nurse specialist (5 percent). The inaugural cohort brings a rich diversity of clinical, policy and interprofessional expertise that will enrich the shared experiences of peer to peer learning. One of the students shared “…I could have applied to any DNP program, but ECU has a reputation and history of excellence…I wanted to go someplace for my DNP where things are done right.”

The new program supports the mission of our college to serve as a national model for transforming the health of rural underserved regions through excellence and innovation in nursing education, leadership, research, scholarship, and practice. Our college has a long history of preparing excellent advanced practice nurses and is a nationally recognized leader in online education, having been named in the nation’s top 10 masters or doctorate of nursing practice programs in the country in the 2013 U.S. News and World Report.

Building on this history of excellence, the DNP program is offered in a distance education format with requirements for four executive on-campus sessions in September, February, June, September. The inaugural cohort will be on campus Sept. 9-11. 

The DNP program emphasizes and extends the interprofessional work of a number of existing programs of research, community engagement, and service at ECU (East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute, the East Carolina Heart Institute, the ECU Center for Health Disparities Research and the Bariatric Nursing Consortium) as opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty involved in research and community engagement.

Additionally, the DNP program addresses specific priority outreach initiatives identified by ECU including the military population and the needs of vulnerable populations in this region.

Welcome to our first class!  We look forward to working with you over the time ahead as you transition into Pirate nursing leaders who will transform the health of eastern North Carolina and beyond!

Bobby Lowery, PhD, FNP-BC
Assistant Professor
Director, Doctor of Nursing Practice Program
College of Nursing
3131 Health Sciences Building
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
Office PH:  252-744-6363