Gov. Pat McCrory announced during his March 2 visit to the East Carolina Heart Institute at East Carolina University that his budget will allocate $16 million over the next two years to stabilize the financial challenges at the Brody School of Medicine.
“With those funds, my goal is for all of us to use the next two years to develop a long-term plan for a sustainable economic model that will allow the school to continue producing the doctors North Carolina needs for generations to come,” said McCrory.
Following a private meeting with ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard, Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Rick Niswander and Brody administrators, the governor toured the heart center’s Robotics Lab and tried his hand at a robotic surgery simulation.
Also in attendance were Dr. Aldona Wos, secretary for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, N.C. Sen. Louis Pate and N.C. Rep. Brian Brown.
N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory, left, and Dr. Wiley Nifong examine an interactive display illustrating that ECU has trained surgeons from 33 states in the use of the robotic da Vinci Surgical System.
At a press conference following the tour the governor said, “The Brody School has continued to deliver on the mission our state legislature set forth for it. Now we need to find a way to build upon those successes and expand them.
“I don’t see ECU as being only for eastern North Carolina. I see it as being for all of North Carolina,” he added.
Wos said, “It’s critical that we continue to fulfill the promise of 1974 – to provide access to care for the citizens of this region. The only way to do that is to have a viable medical community here that’s training the next generation of providers. The majority of physicians who train here, stay here. And I want to thank Brody for that.”
Ballard told McCrory, “I assure you that ECU will do our part. We’ll continue to spruce up the long-term plan we’ve been working on. It focuses on increasing efficiencies and continuing the excellent relationship we have with Vidant Medical Center, who is instrumental to our long-term plan.
“This funding means a flagship program of ours will be sustained,” he said, “and we’ll be able to continue impacting health care and economic development in the east.”
The governor’s recommended budget will soon be delivered to the legislature for consideration.