Category Archives: ECU People

Huo reviews Nobel Prize winner

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 Shouquan Huo

Shouquan Huo

An article written by chemistry professor Shouquan Huo with graduate students Rob Mroz and Jeff Carroll, “Negishi coupling in the synthesis of advanced electronic, optical, electrochemical, and magnetic materials,” is available at http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2015/qo/c4qo00322e#!divAbstract.

The Royal Society of Chemistry invited Huo to submit the review article of work done by his mentor, Nobel Prize winner Ei-ichi Negishi of Purdue University. The work was published in the peer-reviewed journal, Organic Chemistry Frontiers.

Retired ECU dean honored for service

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Dr. Stephen Thomas, dean emeritus of the College of Allied Health Sciences at East Carolina University, pictured with his wife Melodie, recently received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award. Dr. Johnny Williams (far right), is president of the Old North State Medical Society, which nominated Thomas for the honor.

Dr. Stephen Thomas, dean emeritus of the College of Allied Health Sciences at East Carolina University, pictured with his wife Melodie, recently received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award. Dr. Johnny Williams (far right), is president of the Old North State Medical Society, which nominated Thomas for the honor.

The dean emeritus of the College of Allied Health Sciences at East Carolina University was recently honored with one of North Carolina’s most prestigious civilian awards for his outstanding service to the state in the area of health equity.

Dr. Stephen Thomas, who retired in October, was presented the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award Feb. 6 during the 11th annual Jean Mills Symposium, an event aimed at generating awareness and solutions for health problems that plague North Carolinians and especially minorities. Thomas has been instrumental in organizing the event over the past decade.

Although the honor was conferred by the governor, the surprise presentation was made by Dr. Johnny Williams, president of the Old North State Medical Society; Amos T. Mills, founder of the Mills Symposium; Dr. Don Ensley, professor emeritus of health services and information management; and Dr. Julius Mallette, president of the Andrew A. Best Medical Society.

Thomas served the university for 34 years. He joined ECU in 1980 as a faculty member in the rehabilitation studies department, tasked to start and direct the vocational evaluation master’s degree program. He was named chair of the department in 1998 and interim dean of the former School of Allied Health Sciences in April 2001.

After his promotion to dean in 2003, Thomas led the school through several new endeavors including a move from its former location in the Belk Building to the new Health Sciences Building in 2006, and a name change from the School of Allied Health Sciences to the College of Allied Health Sciences in 2007.

Frost awarded for dissertation

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Frost

Frost

ECU English professor Dr. Erin Frost won the 2015 College Composition and Communication Outstanding Dissertation Award in Technical Communication for her dissertation,“Theorizing an Apparent Feminism in Technical Communication.”

The Conference on College Composition and Communication is a constituent organization within the National Council of Teachers of English.

Dissertations for this award are evaluated according to five criteria: originality of research, contribution the research makes to the field, methodological soundness of the approach used, awareness of the existing research in the area studied, and overall quality of the writing.

Frost will be announced as the recipient of the CCCC Outstanding Dissertation Award in Technical Communication on March 20, during the 2015 CCCC Annual Convention in Tampa, Florida.

For more information about the CCCC Outstanding Dissertation Award in Technical Communication, including past winners, see http://www.ncte.org/cccc/awards/techcommdissertation.

The Conference on College Composition and Communication, with more than 5,000 members and subscribers, supports and promotes the teaching and study of composition, rhetoric, and communication skills at the college level, both in undergraduate and graduate programs. College Composition and Communication is the group’s journal. For more information, visit http://www.ncte.org/cccc.

Surgeon honored for teaching, mentoring

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Dr. Mark Iannettoni, professor and chief of general thoracic surgery for East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine and director of the new thoracic surgery residency program at Vidant Medical Center, has been honored nationally for his work with resident physicians.

Iannettoni

Iannettoni

The 2015 Socrates Award was presented to Iannettoni by the Thoracic Surgery Residents Association during the annual Society of Thoracic Surgeons conference in January. The award recognizes, “an outstanding cardiothoracic surgery faculty member for his or her commitment to resident education and mentorship.”

Residents are physicians who are receiving additional training in specific areas of medicine; thoracic surgery refers to operations done on organs within the chest, such as the lungs.

Iannettoni joined the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences and the East Carolina Heart Institute in 2014. He is professor and chief of general thoracic surgery and organized the thoracic surgery residency program here. His clinical areas of expertise include benign and malignant esophageal disease and new therapies for lung cancer.

“We congratulate Dr. Iannettoni on this very prestigious award. We are extremely pleased to have him here in Greenville to direct our new thoracic surgery residency program,” said Dr. Herb Garrison, associate dean for graduate medical education at VMC and ECU and an ECU professor of emergency medicine. “We are already hearing great things about him from our resident physicians, providers and patients.”

“This was a complete surprise to receive this award,” said Iannettoni. “It is a true honor for me to be recognized by the residents as well as the STS and program directors for something I love to do.

“The key to the success of the new thoracic surgery residency program here at ECU/Vidant Medical Center will be the faculty participation in educating the next generation of thoracic surgeons,” Iannettoni added. “We have a great group of surgeons here ready to participate, and I am fortunate to have the support from Vidant to make this happen here in eastern North Carolina where the need is so great.”

Researchers to study arthritis treatment

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Left to right, Warren Knudson, Shinya Ishizuka and Emily B. Askew conduct research at the Brody School of Medicine in search for treatments to alleviate arthritis symptoms. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Left to right, Warren Knudson, Shinya Ishizuka and Emily B. Askew conduct research at the Brody School of Medicine in search for treatments to alleviate arthritis symptoms. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

 

By Amy Adams Ellis
ECU News Services

Researchers at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine have earned funding that could lead to pain relief and improved mobility for millions of people who suffer from osteoarthritis.

Dr. Warren Knudson, professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology; Dr. Cheryl Knudson, professor and chair of the department; Dr. Emily Askew, research assistant professor; and Dr. Shinya Ishizuka, post-doctoral scholar, recently received a two-year, $356,950 grant from the National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases – a division of the National Institutes of Health.

The grant will fund research focused on a potential treatment for degenerative osteoarthritis, a chronic condition in which cartilage – the material that cushions joints – breaks down. Its deterioration allows the bones to rub against each other, resulting in pain, swelling and loss of movement. The disease most often affects the fingers, hips, knees and lower backs of aging adults or adults who have experienced joint injuries.

“There’s no cure for osteoarthritis, or even a way to slow it down,” said Warren Knudson. “The tissue just keeps progressively wearing away to the underlying bone, which can be very painful. Right now, all we can do is treat the symptoms. It’s a real quality of life issue.

“And everyone gets arthritis if they live long enough,” he added.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis affects about 27 million Americans and costs the economy dearly in direct medical care and lost workdays.

The issue, according to Knudson, is that unlike other types of tissue in the body, cartilage lacks the ability to regenerate, and with age, loses its ability to repair itself.

Many people who suffer from osteoarthritis eventually resort to total joint replacement, an invasive procedure usually followed by a lengthy healing process and extensive rehabilitation.

Others attempt to manage their symptoms with dietary supplements like glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate, even though they haven’t been proven to offer much relief. “Because cartilage is largely made up of chondroitin, people think that taking chondroitin sulfate will replace their cartilage,” Knudson said, “but that’s not true.”

Some physicians inject affected joints with hyaluronic acid, a relative of chondroitin sulfate that comprises most of the lubricant naturally found in joints. “These injections do seem to make people feel better for a time,” Knudson said.

But what if cartilage could be influenced to repair itself?

Building on his decades of research into the biochemistry of hyaluronic acid, Knudson and his team are trying to answer that question.

One project their lab has undertaken is cloning the gene that makes hyaluronic acid, engineering that gene into a virus, injecting the virus into small disks of human or bovine cartilage (from cow hooves) and growing the disks in vitro.

“We’re basically trying to replace what we think is a defective critical gene with a better one and see how it will express itself,” Knudson said. “We want to see if the deteriorated cartilage can rescue itself – if it can regain the structural properties of pliancy and strength that we see with the original cartilage.”

In a second version of that experiment – which mimics the autologous cartilage transplants many younger people require after joint injury – they’re drilling a hole in the cartilage and injecting genetically altered cells back into the hole to see if the tissue will repair itself.

Thus far, Knudson’s team has discovered that their “modified” cartilage begins making its own hyaluronic acid in increasing amounts. “Is this beneficial?” Knudson said. “Well, that’s what we’re trying to find out.”

Tise focuses on academic awards

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ECU history professor Larry Tise is creating a searchable database housing information on the world's most distinguished academic awards. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

ECU history professor Larry Tise is creating a searchable database housing information on the world’s most distinguished academic awards. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)


By Kelly Setzer

ECU News Services

As the latest round of Nobel Laureates bowed their heads to receive medals last month, an East Carolina University professor  leaned into a computer screen crunching numbers on the world’s great academic awards—the Nobels and 183 others.

Through years of research, historian Larry E. Tise of ECU’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences has become the world’s leading authority on the history, development and current status of academic awards. And for the first time, he’s sharing his knowledge in a searchable database online.

“You can Google and find out information on almost anything in this day and age, but it’s actually really hard to find good data on this $10 billion awards industry,” said Tise, who is the Wilbur and Orville Wright Distinguished Professor of History at ECU.

It is the fifth time in the last 20 years that Tise has compiled and updated the rankings, which is the only directory of the most distinguished awards, prizes and honors on Earth.

Tise has counseled with a handful of scholars at other universities through the years, as well as tapped into assistance from ECU graduate students for building the new online database. “ECU has proved to be a wonderful perch for expanding this unique research on awards,” he said.

At ICDA.org, the website for Tise’s non-profit organization called the International Congress of Distinguished Awards, users can learn about the history of awards, sign up for the 2015 awards conference in Washington, D.C., or explore the comprehensive listing of academic awards.

“This ranking doesn’t list those (awards) for sports or entertainment,” Tise said. “It’s basically things that are accomplished through major discoveries at universities and higher education.”

While many people are closely following football between October and December, Tise gets a big kick out of watching what he claims to be the world’s other great fall sport. He’s been studying academic awards since 1989 when he realized no such resource existed.

Tise said he finds it fascinating because “the oldest ritual in human society is giving awards. When a society needed food, they would send out hunters and whichever hunter brought back the best game got awarded. It’s something engrained in human nature; it’s a universal instinct.”

To learn more about ICDA or the rankings of academic awards, visit ICDA.org.

Zipf named president of historical society

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Karin Zipf

Karin Zipf

East Carolina University history professor Dr. Karin Zipf was elected president of the Historical Society of North Carolina Oct. 24 at the organization’s biannual meeting in Montreat.

Zipf has been a member of the HSNC since 2006, and previously served as vice president. Her tenure as president will last for one year.

The Historical Society of North Carolina was established in 1945, and traces its origin from an earlier organization begun by former North Carolina Governor David L. Swain in 1833. The society promotes the scholarship, publication and preservation of North Carolina History.

The HSNC sponsors several awards recognizing research, scholarship and teaching, and coordinates presentations of research projects at its meetings. They maintain a close association with the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. Members include professional historians, archivists, librarians, political scientists and a former N.C. Supreme Court Justice.

For additional information, contact Zipf at 252-328-6774 or zipfk@ecu.edu.

Thomas honored with retirement reception

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Retiring dean Dr. Stephen Thomas and his wife Melody stand beside the portrait unveiled at a retirement ceremony. (Photo by Gretchen Baugh)

Retiring dean Dr. Stephen Thomas and his wife Melody stand beside the portrait unveiled at a retirement ceremony. (Photo by Gretchen Baugh)

 

By Lauren Edmondson
College of Allied Health Sciences

Faculty and staff from across East Carolina University gathered at the East Carolina Heart Institute on Oct. 13 to honor Dr. Stephen Thomas, who retired as the dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences in October after 34 years with the college.

Thomas came to ECU in 1980 as a faculty member in the rehabilitation studies department, tasked to start and direct the vocational evaluation master’s degree program. He was named chair of the department in 1998 then later named interim dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences in April 2001.

After his promotion to dean in 2003, Thomas led the college through several new endeavors including the move from its former location in the Belk Building to the new Health Sciences Building in 2006, and a name change to the College of Allied Health Sciences from its original name, the School of Allied Health Sciences.

The retirement reception included food and fellowship, and several gifts and honors were presented to Thomas in thanks for his service and dedication to the field. Along with a certificate of appreciation for his work with the annual Jean Mills Health Symposium, Thomas received the honor of being named Dean Emeritus and a gold stole signifying that new role.

Following the presentations, words of gratitude and praise reflected the dean’s loyalty and passion for the allied health sciences, along with quips about Thomas’ notoriously messy office. Speakers included Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences Dr. Phyllis Horns; deans from across the health sciences campus; his daughter, Dr. Darby Thomas; and chairs of the eight allied health departments.

Thomas then took the podium to thank those in attendance for their continued commitment to the college. He recognized his chairs, faculty, staff and fellow administrators, and then thanked his wife Melody for her unwavering support during his years as dean, interim dean, chair and faculty member at the college.

The evening closed with the unveiling of a portrait of Thomas painted by artist Irene Bailey to be displayed in the Health Sciences Building.

Prior to joining ECU, Thomas held academic, research and administrative positions with the University of Arizona in Tucson, the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Thomas earned his doctorate of education and his master’s degree in rehabilitation studies from the University of Arizona and his bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

Thomas said that he bases his leadership philosophy on a quote by mariner and author John Rousmaniere that states, “The goal is not to sail the boat, but rather to help the boat sail herself.”

Kean honored with scholar award

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Dr. Linda Kean

Dr. Linda Kean

East Carolina University School of Communication Director Linda Kean was honored Oct. 9 with the 2014 NCA Health Communication Division’s Outstanding Scholar Award.

This award is one of the highest academic honors presented by the organization.

Kean’s research focuses on health communication with an emphasis on mass media, including mass media campaigns that promote positive health behaviors and the effect of health-related media messages on individuals’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviors.

Her work has been published in “Communication Research,” “Health Communication,” “Media Psychology,” the “Journal of Health Communication” and “Women & Language.”

Kean began her career at ECU in 2003 as an assistant professor in the School of Communication. She was promoted to interim associate director in 2006 and appointed director of the school in 2009.

Kean holds a bachelor of science degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Illinois. She earned her master’s and doctorate degree in communication from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1994 and 1998.

The National Communication Association is an internationally recognized communication scholarship organization with thousands of members. This year, the NCA will celebrate its founding in 1914 with a centennial celebration. Kean will accept the award in Chicago in late November at the NCA’s annual meeting.

Pories named officer in college of surgeons

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By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services

An East Carolina University surgeon has been selected to serve as second vice president of the American College of Surgeons – the highest office in that organization ever held by a Brody School of Medicine doctor.

Dr. Walter J. Pories

Dr. Walter J. Pories

Dr. Walter J. Pories, professor of surgery, biochemistry and kinesiology, joined ECU in 1977 as chair of the Department of Surgery at the university’s medical school, which had just begun its four-year program.

Founded in 1913, the American College of Surgeons provides leadership for the surgical sciences and promotes the highest quality of care across all of the surgical sub-disciplines.

“It is one of the most prestigious professional organizations in the world,” said Dr. Paul Cunningham, dean of the Brody School of Medicine at ECU and himself a surgeon. “Through his creativity and indefatigable work ethic, Dr. Pories has achieved national and international acclaim. This selection by his peers is one of the highest recognitions that can be possible. It is a true honor for us all in the Pirate Nation.”

The second vice president position is one of five officers in the national organization.

“The election is a great honor that I’m certain should have gone to others who are more deserving,” Pories wrote recently. He referred to the American College of Surgeons as “an admirable organization that has really made a major difference in health care for the world.”

He has previously served the college as president-elect of the Ohio Chapter, president of the North Carolina Chapter, on the Board of Governors for two terms, and as a member of some committees – especially the International Relations Committee that is dedicated to educating surgeons from around the world.

Pories is perhaps best known for modifying a type of weight-loss surgery into the “Greenville Gastric Bypass.” He showed conclusively that not only does it result in durable weight loss but also causes a long-term remission of type 2 diabetes in patients who have diabetes and undergo the surgery.

Among other honors, he is the 2001 recipient of O. Max Gardner Award, the highest honor given by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

Champion swimmers return to campus

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Left to right Jeff Faucette, Jack McCann and Jake Smith as they appeared in a Sept. 2014 visit to campus, above, and on the ECU swim team in the late 1950s.

Left to right Jeff Faucette, Jack McCann and Jake Smith as they appeared in a Sept. 2014 visit to campus, upper image, and on the ECU swim team in the late 1950s, below.

Three members of East Carolina’s 1959 NAIA national championship swim team returned to campus the weekend of Sept. 20 to attend a reunion of the Sigma Nu fraternity.

Jeff Faucette, Jack McCann and Jake Smith were among 10 swimmers on the 1957 and 1959 teams selected as All-Americans. McCann and Smith each won six events at national competitions. McCann swam the breaststroke and is credited with inventing what’s called the whip kick that now is widely used in competitive swimming.

East Carolina’s swim team also won the 1957 NAIA national championships.

Several members of both national championship swim teams were Sigma Nu brothers. Sigma Nu was among the first social fraternities on campus. The fraternity closed several years ago but is slated to officially return to campus in 2016.

Faucette now lives in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Smith lives in Hickory and McCann lives in Morehead City.

— Steve Tuttle

The national champion East Carolina swim team.

The national champion East Carolina swim team.

Velde inducted into national academy

Beth Velde

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

East Carolina University’s Beth Velde was inducted Oct. 7 to a policy group dedicated to honoring scholarship and service at college campuses nationwide.

The Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship invited Velde to become an inaugural member following peer nomination and selection. Velde was recognized for the “practice and model of excellence in collaboration with communities and the university while addressing critical issues of mutual benefit.”

Beth Velde

Beth Velde

The academy’s mission is to improve the physical, social, civic and economic well-being of communities by advancing scholarship-based collaborative discovery with higher education partners.

Serving as a representative voice for the field of engagement, the academy will ensure that scholarly activities and policy initiatives keep in mind the needs of the constituents involved.

“I was honored to be nominated and really honored to be accepted,” said Velde, who has entered phased retirement at ECU. “It’s an honor for ECU. So many people don’t know what we do and how it goes beyond volunteering.”

Velde initiated ECU’s Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy, which pairs faculty members, EC Scholars, graduate students and alumni who work with communities on projects to improve quality of life.

More than 165 ECU faculty and students have partnered on more than 50 outreach scholar projects across the region and state during the past five years. Those community partnerships were celebrated this spring at a five-year anniversary ceremony at the Murphy Center.

Velde, professor emerita and director of strategic planning in the College of Allied Health Sciences, is a founding organizer of the annual Mills Symposium, which addresses health disparities.

Her research includes the culture of engagement at ECU, the perceptions of community partners regarding the roles and responsibilities of telling the story of community engagement and the synergies between leadership and public service. She has led student teams in collecting health data and helped write grants for the town of Tillery in Halifax County.

She leads the ECU team for the Carnegie engaged university classification, which recognizes higher education’s commitment to community engagement, and chaired the working groups responsible for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools narratives on public service and community engagement.

Nationally, Velde chairs the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ Council on Engagement and Outreach, which leads APLU’s efforts in engaging constituent universities with communities. The APLU recognized ECU’s partnership with the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center in 2012 with the prestigious C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award.

With the latest appointment, Velde said she and others in the academy will work on three main areas that address policy development, measure impact and cross partnerships.

“These are things that as an individual it’s hard to do, but if you have a large cadre of people … you might actually get some good research,” Velde said.

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Lauren Edmondson from the College of Allied Health Sciences contributed to this story.

Largest undergraduate class enrolled

The third largest incoming freshmen class began their studies at ECU in fall semester 2014, hitting the books after enjoying welcome events such as Student Convocation, pictured above, and Pirate Palooza. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)
The third largest incoming freshmen class began their studies at ECU in fall semester 2014, hitting the books after enjoying welcome events such as Student Convocation, pictured above, and Pirate Palooza. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

The third largest incoming freshmen class began their studies at ECU in fall semester 2014, hitting the books after enjoying welcome events such as Student Convocation, pictured above, and Pirate Palooza. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

 

By Jeannine Manning Hutson
ECU News Services

East Carolina University welcomed its largest number of undergraduate students to campus with the start of the fall semester.

The university enrolled 22,252 undergraduates, which is 744 more than last fall and is the largest number in university history, said Dr. John Fletcher, associate provost for Enrollment Services. Enrollment figures are considered preliminary until reviewed and approved by the UNC General Administration.

The enrollment numbers for ECU reflect a national trend, Fletcher said. Undergraduate enrollment remains strong while there is a small decrease in the number of graduate students.

Total ECU enrollment is 27,511, which is 624 more students than last year and is the fourth largest enrollment in ECU history. In the Graduate School, enrollment stands at 4,740, which is 162 less than last year.

The number of new freshmen enrolled – 4,226 – is the third largest in ECU history.

Also up is the number of new transfer students – 1,779 – which is 451 more than last year. This year’s number of transfer students is the largest in school history, Fletcher said.

“The increase in overall enrollment at ECU represents an acknowledgement from students new and continuing, from North Carolina and outside the state, who recognize the quality of our faculty, the rich culture and traditions of the Pirate Nation and the value for their education dollar,” Fletcher said.

At UNC-system institutions, the 10th day of class is traditionally “census day” when a snapshot is captured of the school’s enrollment data. At ECU, Sept. 10 was the 10th day of class for the fall semester.

Awareness critical for medical students

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Students in the Brody School of Medicine, such as the first year medical students pictured above, now have access to the Office of Diversity Affairs on the first floor of the Brody Building. The diversity affairs office strives to enhance cultural competency among medical students as an essential element of a medical education. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Students in the Brody School of Medicine, such as the first year medical students pictured above, now have access to the Office of Diversity Affairs on the first floor of the Brody Building. The diversity affairs office strives to enhance cultural competency among medical students as an essential element of a medical education. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

 

By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services

In the midst of receiving white coats and reciting pledges, another important message was delivered to medical students arriving at East Carolina University this fall: Diversity is valued at the Brody School of Medicine.

“Diversity is all of us,” Assistant Dean of Diversity Affairs Dr. Todd Savitt told first-year students during orientation in August. “We all comprise diversity. What you see on the surface is only part of (who we are).”

The Office of Diversity Affairs, staffed by Savitt and Diversity Coordinator Chanel Arrington, relocated this summer to the first floor of Brody in an effort to be more accessible to the students they serve.

“When you walk off the elevator, you see us,” said Savitt who is also a professor of bioethics and interdisciplinary studies. “We’re right there.”

They host lunch-and-learn events throughout the year and offer food during study breaks while exams are underway. They coordinate the Safe Zone Program training that is designed to increase understanding and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

Perhaps most importantly, the cultural competency their programming encourages is essential to the practice of medicine.

“Communicating in an effective manner – especially in cross-cultural interactions – can have a strong impact on the doctor-patient encounter,” said Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor of student affairs at ECU. Hardy spent 16 years at the Brody School of Medicine prior to her current post.

“The population of eastern North Carolina is becoming more diversified,” she said, “particularly as it relates to race/ethnicity, sexual orientation/same-sex relationships and parenting, social economic status, religious practices and indigenous health remedies/complementary medicine.

Jinai Desai, left, and Taylor White chat during a session for first year medical students at the Brody School of Medicine.

Jinai Desai, left, and Taylor White chat during a session for first year medical students at the Brody School of Medicine.

“ Actions from the boardroom to the reception desk can send a clear message whether differences are welcomed and valued.”

In addition to serving students, Savitt and Arrington support faculty and staff groups that recognize and value diversity, including the Brody Women Faculty Committee. They interface regularly with a group of vice chairs for diversity and inclusion – appointed from each academic department at Brody and tasked with coordinating faculty recruitment and retention, community involvement and professional development programming.

“Diversity is all about differences,” Hardy said. “The more interactions that medical students have with individuals who are different…the more opportunity they have to learn about others.”

More information about diversity affairs at Brody is available at http://www.ecu.edu/bsomdiversityaffairs.

Leaders elected for faculty, staff senates

Left to right are ECU's newly elected faculty officers John Given, Foreign Languages and Literatures; Andrew Morehead, Chemistry; and Kylie Dotson-Blake, Education. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Faculty Senate

Left to right are ECU's newly elected faculty officers John Given, Foreign Languages and Literatures; Andrew Morehead, Chemistry; and Kylie Dotson-Blake, Education. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Left to right are ECU’s newly elected faculty officers John Given, Foreign Languages and Literatures; Andrew Morehead, Chemistry; and Kylie Dotson-Blake, Education. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

 

Three professors elected to head Faculty Senate

By Grace Haskin
ECU News Services

Three East Carolina University professors began their terms as officers for the university’s Faculty Senate July 1.

The newly elected officers are Andrew Morehead, who will serve as chair, John Given, who will serve as vice chair, and Kylie Dotson-Blake, who will serve as secretary of the ECU faculty.

The Faculty Senate represents the general faculty in the shared governance between faculty and administration at ECU.

Morehead, from the Department of Chemistry, served as vice chair of the faculty for the past two years, but he began his service to the ECU faculty senate during his second semester at ECU in 2004. As chair, Morehead will present the faculty’s opinions and concerns to the administration and work with the administration to further ECU’s goals.

Given, of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, served as a faculty senator for six years and parliamentarian for one year. As vice chair, Given aims to ensure that education is put first while making financially sound decisions. As a long-term goal, he wants to expand study abroad opportunities to more students at ECU.

Dotson-Blake, from the College of Education, has been a faculty senator and was chair of the service-learning committee. As secretary, Dotson-Blake will communicate with faculty, promote transparency and foster collaboration. Her goal is to develop and sustain positive relationships among faculty, administration and stakeholders.

The senate elected the officers at the Faculty Senate’s organizational meeting on April 22 for the 2014-2015 academic year.

For more information about ECU’s Faculty Senate, go to www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/fsonline.

 

Staff Senate

The 2014-15 members of the Staff Senate Executive Committee are, left to right, Penney Doughtie, Lisa Ormond, Arlene Bowling and Mary Schiller. Each was elected to a one-year term. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

The 2014-15 members of the Staff Senate Executive Committee are, left to right, Penney Doughtie, Lisa Ormond, Arlene Bowling and Mary Schiller. Each was elected to a one-year term. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)


Four staff members elected to executive committee

By Kristen King
ECU News Services

Four East Carolina University staff members began one-year terms as officers of the Staff Senate Executive Committee on June 1.

The new officers are Mary Schiller, chair; Lisa Ormond, chair-elect; Penney Doughtie, secretary; and Arlene Bowling, treasurer.

Schiller began working for ECU in 2001 as Contact Center manager for the Brody School of Medicine. This is her second year as a senator.

During her term as chair, Schiller said she will work to promote and enhance the status of staff to ensure that their expertise is included in university goals. She would like to see more collaboration between the Faculty and Staff Senates and hopes to offer awards from two growing scholarship funds managed by the Staff Senate.

Schiller presented goals for the coming year during the first-ever Staff Senate report to the ECU Board of Trustees in July 2014.

“Speaking at the board meeting was an honor,” Schiller said. “ECU is facing some serious challenges, and as the old saying goes, ‘many hands make light work.’ The Staff Senate is willing to do everything we can to enable ECU to thrive today and in the future. Being included on the agenda at each meeting sends a strong message that staff input is valued by the board as well as the university.”

Another first for the Staff Senate is having an all-female Executive Committee. This is the first time anyone can remember or determine from records that it has happened, Schiller said.

Lisa Ormond is an accountant with the College of Nursing and will reach 26 years of total service at ECU this September. She is serving as chair-elect in year two of her second term as a senator, positioning her to become chair for 2015-16.

Ormond aims to build a closer relationship between staff and Human Resources, working collaboratively to make the best possible decisions for staff. She would also like for staff to have a louder voice within the ECU community.

“So many of our colleagues are unaware of the Staff Senate and its purpose and goals,” Ormond said.

She hopes to see the university regain some of its past stability in the job market, along with competitive salaries and benefits.

Penney Doughtie, a technology support analyst in Financial Services, has been with ECU for 19 years. She believes the Staff Senate is a strong voice for campus and hopes to continue to grow the professional relationship between staff and administration.

Doughtie is also committed to service, and said, “I am honored to be a seven-year member of the ECU Servire Society for community service. The Latin word servire is the University’s motto, and means ‘to serve.’ I personally think it is everyone’s duty to volunteer and I would like to see more staff members volunteer during campus events and in the community.”

Bowling is a personnel coordinator in the Department of Radiation Oncology and has worked at ECU since 2004. She is serving her second year in the Staff Senate. As treasurer, Bowling strives to promote fiscal accountability and good stewardship of university revenues and resources.

“I would like to see all employees at ECU engaged in preserving our heritage and actively making a personal commitment to resolving our current financial crisis,” Bowling said.

Bowling also hopes to serve as a model for and encourage active participation in ECU’s servire motto.

All four agree that one of the biggest challenges facing staff is low morale due to insecurities about their positions. This has been brought on by budget cuts that have caused increased workloads with no compensation increases, combined with promotion restraints and an overall uncertainty about the financial environment.

The Staff Senate comprises 52 delegates representing 4,000 ECU staff members. The Executive Committee is elected by a majority vote of senators and alternates at the May meeting each year.

Additional information can be found at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/staffsenate/index.cfm.

Honors students intern with physicians

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ECU Honors College student Leela Goel operates the da Vinci Surgical System as part of an internship with the East Carolina Heart Institute. (Contributed photos)

ECU Honors College student Leela Goel operates the da Vinci Surgical System as part of an internship with the East Carolina Heart Institute. (Contributed photos)


By Jessica Nottingham

ECU Honors College

With their eyes focused on careers in medicine, two East Carolina University honors students saw first-hand the experiences of physicians through a six-week summer internship at the East Carolina Heart Institute.

Honors College and EC Scholar students Leela Goel of Raleigh and Ryan Baucom of Marshville shadowed cardiothoracic surgeons, pediatric cardiologists and interventional cardiologists during patient appointments and surgical procedures. Surgery was the primary focus of the internship requiring three to four days a week of observation in the operating room.

Left to right are Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., director of the East Carolina Heart Institute, with EC Scholars Leela Goel and Ryan Baucom. Goel holds a plaque with the names of other Honors College students who have completed the ECHI internship program in previous years.

Left to right are Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., director of the East Carolina Heart Institute, with EC Scholars Leela Goel and Ryan Baucom. Goel holds a plaque with the names of other Honors College students who have completed the ECHI internship program in previous years.

“They have gotten to observe exactly what the surgeon is seeing,” said Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., director of the ECHI.

“This experience helps decrease the learning curve and increases patient safety and efficacy. [The internship] is high-level, fast learning and involves biology, chemistry, physiology and pharmacology—what they’ve learned in class. It doesn’t all click until they get to work with a patient.”

Beyond witnessing patient treatment planning, surgery and recovery, the students discovered the integral role of advancing technology in patient care. In the ECHI Robotic Surgery Center for Training and Education, Goel worked closely with operators and engineers of the da Vinci Si Surgical System, a minimally-invasive robotic system controlled by surgeons.

“As a biomedical engineering major, I was fascinated by all of the medical technology,” said Goel, a rising junior. “I was especially interested in the medical imaging technologies used, as well as the instrumentation for the da Vinci and the hand tools the surgeons used. This internship has helped me refocus, and now I know that I want to pursue medical research as a physician-scientist.”

Patient interaction and communication were new aspects of medicine for Goel and Baucom. “Throughout the week we would shadow various physicians to see how they evaluate patients and communicate complex medical conditions in ways that patients could easily understand,” said Goel.

To complete the internship, Goel and Baucom selected a procedure to research and present to the ECHI surgical team that would demonstrate their understanding of a particular case and the patient’s treatment.

“The presentation gave us the opportunity to research a case that was interesting,” said Baucom, a senior biochemistry major. “I learned a great deal about hepatocellular carcinomas invading into the right atrium during my research and we are planning on trying to get this case study published.”

The ECHI and the Honors College have partnered to provide two spots each summer in this internship program for ECU honors students. The Honors College facilitates the competitive application process for ECU students annually. ECHI also accepts Park Scholars from North Carolina State University and students from Hampton-Sydney College each year to participate in the program.

“This internship is very unique and it is something that I would not be able to do anywhere else,” said Baucom. “If not for the Honors College initially setting up the summer internship, we may have never gotten an opportunity to work with some of the best surgeons in the country. This internship has strengthened my desire to go into medicine.”

Goel and Baucom participated in an internship that included an introduction to surgeries completed using the da Vinci robotic surgery system. The two are pictured with components of that system.

Goel and Baucom participated in an internship that included an introduction to surgeries completed using the da Vinci robotic surgery system. The two are pictured with components of that system.

Medical students named Brody Scholars

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Incoming medical students named Brody Scholars are, left to right, Ismail Kassim of High Point, Alyssa D’Addezio of Concord and Zachary Sutton of Pink Hill. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Incoming medical students named Brody Scholars are, left to right, Ismail Kassim of High Point, Alyssa D’Addezio of Concord and Zachary Sutton of Pink Hill. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

 

By Amy Adams Ellis
ECU News Services

Three incoming students at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine have been named Brody Scholars for the Class of 2018.

Alyssa D’Addezio of Concord, Ismail Kassim of High Point and Zachary Sutton of Pink Hill will receive four years of medical school tuition, living expenses and the opportunity to design their own summer enrichment program that can include travel abroad. The award will also support community service projects the students may undertake while in medical school.

D’Addezio attended North Carolina State University on a Park Scholarship, the university’s four-year merit scholarship program founded on scholarship, leadership, service and character. She graduated in May with a human biology degree and a minor in English.

She said one of her short-term goals is to serve in a local clinic for underserved populations in preparation for a primary care career in North Carolina. “The Brody Scholars program generously provides support that allows me to boldly pursue primary care without the burden or limitations of debt,” she said. “It also gives me an amazing opportunity to help meet the health care needs of the people of North Carolina by enhancing my medical education and training with networking and support.”

Kassim also graduated recently from N.C. State with degrees in human biology and chemistry. A native of Nigeria, he said he hasn’t decided on a specialty yet, but has enjoyed previous exposure to both family medicine and oncology.

Over the next four years, Kassim hopes to “gain the skills needed to become a competent and compassionate physician while cultivating healthy relationships that will last a lifetime. My selection as a Brody Scholar highlights the support of the family members, friends, mentors and educators who have invested in me and helped me develop into the person I am today,” he added. “I am eternally grateful to the Brody Scholars program for their belief in me and willingness to transform my dream of becoming a physician into reality.”

Sutton graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013 with a degree in biochemistry. He said he doesn’t have a specific medical specialty in mind but is interested in exploring family medicine.

“I want to learn not only the knowledge associated with becoming a doctor, but also the social skills needed to effectively interact with patients and other medical staff,” Sutton said. “As a kid growing up in and around Kinston, I have long known about the Brody family [of Kinston and Greenville]…and their great contributions toward improving health care in eastern North Carolina. Becoming a part of their family as a Brody Scholar is truly an honor, and I will do everything I can to promote the Brody name in a positive manner.”

James Peden Jr., associate dean for admissions at the medical school, said, “For over 30 years the Brody Medical Scholarship Program has attracted outstanding students to the Brody School of Medicine, providing them with opportunities and development activities in addition to very generous financial support. Our Brody Scholars have in turn enriched the Brody School of Medicine with their academic, leadership and altruistic contributions. Most importantly, Brody Scholars have gone on to fulfill the BSOM mission by practicing as outstanding physicians caring for the people of North Carolina.”

In its 32nd year, the Brody Scholars program honors J.S. “Sammy” Brody. He and his brother, Leo, were among the earliest supporters of medical education in eastern North Carolina. The legacy continues through the dedicated efforts of Hyman Brody of Greenville and David Brody of Kinston. Subsequent gifts from the Brody family have enabled the medical school to educate new physicians, conduct important research and improve health care in eastern North Carolina.

Since the program began in 1983, 128 students have received scholarships. About 70 percent of Brody Scholars remain in North Carolina to practice, and the majority of those stay in eastern North Carolina.

Fladenmuller honored for contributions

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Fladenmuller

East Carolina University Foreign Languages and Literatures professor Dr. Frédéric Fladenmuller was named a Knight (Chevalier) in the French Academic Palms.

The honor recognizes service to French education and contributions to French culture.

Individuals selected represent distinguished academics and prominent persons in culture and education, including French citizens living abroad who further French intellectual, scientific and artistic achievements in the world at large.

For additional information about the award, visit http://blog.ecu.edu/sites/foreign/blog/2014/05/30/frederic-fladenmuller-awarded-palmes-academiques/.

ECU player selected ninth in draft

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Hoffman

Hoffman

East Carolina junior Jeff Hoffman was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays with the ninth overall pick in the 2014 Major League Baseball First Year Amateur Draft, which was televised live on the MLB Network.

With his first round selection, Hoffman becomes the highest draft pick in school history besting ECU Hall-of-Famer Theodore “Blue” Edwards, who was the 21st-overall selection by the Utah Jazz in the 1989 National Basketball Association Draft.

Read more at ECUPirates.com.

Med student awarded $100k scholarship

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ECU alumnus and incoming medical student Dakota Johnson is the recipient of a Fullerton Foundation scholarship that will cover his expenses at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. (Photo by Cliff Hollis).

ECU alumnus and incoming medical student Dakota Johnson is the recipient of a Fullerton Foundation scholarship that will cover his expenses at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. (Photo by Cliff Hollis).

 

By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services

An incoming student at the Brody School of Medicine has earned a substantial scholarship that will help pay for medical school.

Dakota Johnson of Gastonia has been awarded $100,000 by the South Carolina-based Fullerton Foundation. The sum is expected to cover tuition, fees, books and other expenses while he attends medical school at East Carolina University.

His success is not an isolated case. Incoming Brody freshmen have earned the Fullerton scholarship eight of the last 10 years.

“Our missions are very similar when it comes to (providing) primary medicine in the rural areas,” said Charles J. Bonner, executive director of the foundation.

The scholarship is available to students enrolling in medical school in either North or South Carolina. Each school nominates one individual to compete for the award and three are selected.

“They’re not just looking for folks with 90th percentile test scores,” remarked Dr. James G. Peden Jr., associate dean of admissions at Brody. “They’re looking for people who will serve the community.”

Peden said Johnson’s undergraduate research experience, extensive community service and early exposure to the medical field contributed to Brody administrators selecting him as their candidate.

“We try to pick folks…who really have compassion and care. Someone who understands the human condition and will care about his patient.”

That description fits Johnson well, as a desire to help others is what drove him toward a career in health care.

“I can remember as a child being in the hospital when I was sick or had a broken bone and really admiring the doctors,” Johnson said. “I also remember being in and out of the hospital with my grandfather as he battled cancer. He played such a major role in raising me, and though he eventually lost his battle, it strengthened my resolve. I wanted to help people like those in his situation and comfort the ones that were in mine.”

Already an ECU alumnus, Johnson completed his undergraduate degree in biology in three years. He also minored in business administration. During that time he was a member of the Honors College and a recipient of the EC Scholar award – the most prestigious undergraduate academic scholarship offered by the university.

“Dakota is exceptionally conscientious and reliable,” remarked Katie O’Connor, director of EC Scholars and associate dean of the Honors College. “He is diligent and attentive to any task set before him. His compassion for people is unmatched. We are tremendously proud of him.”

Johnson was granted admittance to Brody through the Early Assurance Program in Medicine, which guarantees entrance to incoming undergraduates and waives the Medical College Admission Test requirement.

“ECU has believed in me and invested so much into me, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else,” he said. “The money is nice but it gives me so much more pride knowing that I made the university proud.”

“So many people have believed in me and been behind me from day one so this award was just as much for them as it was for me,” he continued. “In the end, it was all by the grace of God, and I have to thank Him first.”

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