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

Oct 142013

From Oct. 6 to Oct. 12, students in the East Carolina University Physician Assistant Studies program celebrated National Physician Assistant Week by honoring their professors and giving back to their community.


The ECU Physician Assistant Studies program class of 2015. (photo by Michelle Messer Photography)

Events included a faculty appreciation ice cream social Thursday afternoon, held in the East Carolina University Heart Center. PA students recognized the program’s faculty for their dedication to preparing the students for careers as physician assistants.

The students continued their celebration of PA week by decorating pumpkins with the children at The Little Willie Center. The center, a facility located on Fifth Street that provides after school tutoring and mentoring services hosted the students Friday afternoon.

“Being a PA student is an awesome yet challenging experience,” said Caitlyn Fulp, a member of the class of 2015, “It can be difficult to look past the quizzes, exams, assignments, and labs that pile on top of balancing family, friends, gym, chores, and grocery shopping. Spending time with the kids at the after school program helped me do just that! Laughing, painting pumpkins, and coloring pictures of Minnie Mouse were just what I needed to recharge and get some perspective. I am excited to participate in more opportunities like this in the future.”

The East Carolina University Physician Assistant Studies program, which graduated its first class in 1999, currently has 102 enrolled students.  The program operates on a 27 month curriculum and is one of only seven PA programs in North Carolina. In 2003, the program transitioned to a master-level program with all graduates since 2005 earning Master of Science degrees in PA studies.

To learn more about the Physician Assistant Studies program at ECU visit




Sep 162013

Fishing and farming are a way of life for many in eastern North Carolina, providing food and products for millions.

And in promoting safe and healthy agricultural production, the N.C. Agromedicine Institute joined with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and N.C. Cooperative Extension to facilitate a proclamation from Gov. Pat McCrory naming Sept. 15-21 Farm Safety and Health Week in North Carolina.

The proclamation highlights several facts:  

  • Agriculture and agribusiness is the top industry in North Carolina providing more than $77 billion in revenue of which $14.9 billion comes directly from farm production;
  • North Carolina leads the nation in the production of sweet potatoes and tobacco and is second in the nation in the production of pork, trout, poultry, eggs and Christmas trees;
  • Individuals working in production agriculture face significant risks in the course of everyday life and labors to provide food, fiber, biofuels and other necessities;
  • Farm work often involves hazardous exposure to machinery, chemicals, livestock and workplace environments;
  • Some at higher risk include youth, older workers and individuals with limited literacy and language proficiency.   

The N.C. Agromedicine Institute conducts and promotes research, intervention, outreach and education to improve the health and safety of the agricultural community including farmers, farm workers, foresters, fishers and their families. Member universities are East Carolina University, North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University. Robin Tutor-Marcom is director of the N.C. Agromedicine Institute, project manager of the AgriSafe Network of North Carolina and adjunct professor of public health in the Brody School of Medicine.  


Aug 302013

Along with the barbecue and fried chicken, water should be a staple at your tailgate.

The Pirates kick off the 2013 season at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 against Old Dominion. Tailgate lots open at 1 p.m. providing several hours for socializing with friends in the hot and humid weather. At a media briefing this week, Lt. Chris Sutton of the East Carolina University Police Department said tailgaters should drink more water. Ideally, they should start hydrating two days before the contest especially if their tailgate will include alcoholic drinks, which dehydrate the body. “Alcohol works against your body,” Sutton said. “The longer the tailgate, the amount of alcohol that can be consumed before the game increases.” 

The American Academy of Family Physicians has the following tips on staying hydrated year-round:    

  • Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. Consider carrying a reusable water bottle and filling it from the tap rather than purchasing bottled water, which is expensive and creates plastic bottle waste.
  • If plain water doesn’t interest you, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.
  • If you’re going to be exercising, make sure you drink water before, during and after your workout.
  • Start and end your day with a glass of water.
  • When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. The sensation of thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight loss plan, as some research suggests drinking water will help you feel full.
  • Drink on a schedule if you have trouble remembering to drink water. For example, drink water when you wake up; at breakfast, lunch and dinner; and when you go to bed. Or drink a small glass of water at the top of each hour.
  • Drink water when you go to a restaurant. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it’s free!

Why is it so important to stay hydrated? Your body depends on water for survival because water makes up more than half of your body weight. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to function correctly. Your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste and lubricate joints. Water is essential for good health.

How does my body lose water? You lose water each day when you go to the bathroom, sweat, and even when you breathe. You lose water even faster when the weather is really hot, when you exercise, or if you have a fever. Vomiting and diarrhea can also lead to rapid fluid loss. If you don’t replace the water you lose, you can become dehydrated.

How do I know if I’m dehydrated? Symptoms include:

  • Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • No tears when crying

 Don’t wait until you notice symptoms of dehydration to act.  Actively prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water every day.

Go Pirates!