Dean Stephen W. Thomas honored with retirement reception

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 will retire as the dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences this month 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.”

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Mark Your Calendars: TEDMED is coming to ECU on Sept. 13

 

TEDMED is an annual, three-day gathering that unites extraordinary people and ideas from all disciplines inside and outside of medicine. The unusual and provocative program features short talks and artistic performances to reframe our mental models and inspire new possibilities.

On Saturday, Sept. 13, TEDMED is coming to the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU.

Attendees to the ECU Live event will be able to view the best of this year’s TEDMED sessions free of charge, and can also attend live sessions presented by a crop of homegrown, inspiring speakers from ECU.

The ECU event will also feature another traditional component of TEDMED: “The Hive.” There, attendees can informally converse with individuals and groups who have invigorating ideas or projects that are changing health and medicine. It’s not a poster session, but a way to creatively connect.

Register to attend TEDMED Live at ECU at http://tedmedliveecu.org/.

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Annual Hamstring Hustle 5K to be April 5

For the 20th year, runners and walkers may lace up their sneakers and pound the pavement in the Hamstring Hustle 5K Run/Walk.

The race starts at 9 a.m. at ECU Health Sciences Building on the East Carolina University health sciences campus. The race will wind through the grounds of the ECU Health Sciences Campus and Vidant Medical Center and is a USA Track and Field-certified course/sanctioned event.

The race is presented by the Medical Student Council at the Brody School of Medicine. A portion of the proceeds from the race will benefit the ECU Pediatric Healthy Weight Research and Treatment Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Registration is $20 by March 28, includes a T-shirt and is available online at http://www.hamstringhustle.com. Race day registration is $25; arrive by 8:15 a.m. April 5.

Participants should be at the race site by 8:15 a.m. the day of the race.

Awards will be presented to the overall male and female winners and to the top three males and females in the following age groups: 12 and under, 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60 and over.

E-mail race organizers at linerk12@students.ecu.edu or call 252-289-7590 for more information.

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Occupational therapy grad students serve in Costa Rica

ECU graduate students Farrell Wiggins, Brittany Robertson, Katie Hopkins and Keli McColl, left to right, enjoy the landscapes of Costa Rica while on a medical mission trip this summer. (Contributed photos)

ECU graduate students Farrell Wiggins, Brittany Robertson, Katie Hopkins and Keli McColl, left to right, enjoy the landscapes of Costa Rica while on a medical mission trip this summer. (Contributed photos)

Four East Carolina University graduate students in the occupational therapy master’s program traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica in August for a medical mission trip.

Katie Hopkins, Keli McColl, Brittany Robertson and Farrell Wiggins worked for a week in ASCOPA, an adult day care program for adults with autism.

The ECU students assisted with daily activities at ASOCPA and created sensory-based activities such as gardening and creating greeting cards. Items made were sold to raise money and awareness about Autism.

Autism awareness and treatment options are minimal in Costa Rica. Most adults with an autism diagnosis in the area are institutionalized or kept at home with care provided by family members. The ASCOPA program allows adults to receive both education and life-skills training.

The students also traveled in Costa Rica, visiting the rain forest, the beaches and the active Arenal volcano.

Keli McColl, Farrell Wiggins and Brittany Robertson, left to right, work with participants at the day treatment facility for adults with autism in Costa Rica.

Keli McColl, Farrell Wiggins and Brittany Robertson, left to right, work with participants at the day treatment facility for adults with autism in Costa Rica.

 

 

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Velde named chair of the Council on Engagement and Outreach at APLU

Dr. Beth Velde

Dr. Beth Velde

Dr. Beth Velde, director of public service and community relations at East Carolina University, has been named chair of the Council on Engagement and Outreach for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

Velde, who served as chair-elect this year, will serve a one-year term as chair in 2014. She was elected during the annual meeting of the APLU held Nov. 10-12 in Washington, D.C. Velde also is a professor of occupational therapy in the ECU College of Allied Health Sciences.

The Council on Engagement and Outreach leads APLU’s efforts in the engagement of its constituent universities with communities. This community engagement focuses on addressing community issues through research, implementation of best practices, education and collaboration. The council works with APLU presidents, commissions and councils and other national organizations focused on community engagement.

The council – one of 10 within the APLU – comprises 14 university administrative and staff leaders responsible for extension, continuing education and public service functions at APLU member institutions and systems.

Key initiatives include developing methods to benchmark community engagement, promoting the scholarship of engagement, honoring national leaders in community engagement, and supporting universities that seek the Carnegie Foundation’s community engagement classification.

Last year, ECU was awarded the APLU’s prestigious C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award for its establishment and support of the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center. The center partners with West Greenville residents, ECU, the city of Greenville, Pitt Community College and other agencies to provide a comprehensive community-based system of service and care to residents.

The APLU is a research, policy and advocacy organization representing 219 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems and related organizations. It is the nation’s oldest higher education association with member institutions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories.

 

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