ECU alumna shares Alaskan experiences

ECU alumna Cathy Genaux, at far left, is shown with students who attended her presentation about life as a distance ed student in Alaska. (Contributed photo)

Catherine Geneaux, an ECU alumna and speech language pathologist, spoke Nov. 9 about living and working in Alaska —where clinicians fly bush planes to see patients and many communities do not have speech-language services.

Geneaux talked about life as a distance education master’s student, how speech language pathology is conducted in the state of Alaska and her mission work in Mexico. She gave ECU students great insight into a way of life and a speech-language pathology practice that is very different from experiences in North Carolina, said Dr. Kathleen T. Cox, ECU associate professor and director of master’s education in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Geneaux participated in a unique joint program between ECU and University of Alaska – Anchorage. ECU provides online classes for students in the master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders, and UAA provides their clinic. The partnership helps produce speech-language pathologists for the state of Alaska, and students graduate with a degree from ECU, the only university that offers a speech language program in that state. For more information, visit

The presentation was held in the Health Sciences Building in the College of Allied Health Sciences.


Health Services Management program recertified

The undergraduate Health Services Management program has been recertified for six years and has retained Full Certified Undergraduate Membership status with the Association of University Programs in Health Administration.

As noted by AUPHA, “…  AUPHA has established a rigorous peer review process modeled for those programs willing to undergo the rigors of external review in the interest of program excellence. Successful completion of the panel review process leads to Certification by AUPHA and attainment of Full Certified Undergraduate membership status.”

The Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) is a global network of colleges, universities, faculty, individuals and organizations dedicated to the improvement of healthcare delivery through excellence in healthcare management and policy education.

From an original membership of seven graduate programs in the U.S. and Canada, it has grown to over 180 graduate and undergraduate programs in North America and hundreds of personal, corporate and affiliated program members all over the world. AUPHA is now an international consortium of graduate and undergraduate health administration programs and practitioners engaged in the development of health management education.


Occupational therapy faculty member appointed to state board

Denise Donica

Dr. Denise Donica, assistant professor of occupational therapy at East Carolina University, has been appointed by Gov. Bev Perdue to a four-year term on the North Carolina Board of Occupational Therapy.

Donica is the first from ECU to serve on the seven-member board, which oversees regulations and licensing for all occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants in North Carolina. Her term ends Oct. 1, 2016.

Donica is a certified handwriting specialist and researcher in the efficacy of handwriting curriculums and student success. She also is faculty advisor of ECU’s Delta Beta Chapter of Pi Theta Epsilon, the national honor society for occupational therapy students and alumni. The chapter is the only one in North Carolina and one of 80 active chapters in the United States.

Donica received a bachelor’s degree in psychology/criminal justice, and a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from Indiana University, and a master’s and doctoral degree in occupational therapy from the University of Indianapolis.



Food Lion supports ECU, military

ECU Chancellor Dr. Steve Ballard accepts a donation Oct. 27 from Paul James, central division manager of operations support specialists for Food Lion. Others include Dr. Glen Gilbert, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance, Dr. Steve Duncan, assistant vice chancellor of administration and finance and director of military programs, and Dr. Stephen Thomas, dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences.


East Carolina University became Food Lion’s MVP this weekend when the grocery store chain donated $100,000 to support fellowships and a scholarship.

The donation will establish the first university-wide doctoral fellowships for Operation Re-Entry North Carolina and an endowed scholarship in the Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Allied Health Sciences. The Operation Re-Entry initiative is centered on research and projects that help veterans return to civilian life after service.

The presentation was made during halftime at ECU’s home football game against Navy on Oct. 27, which was Military Appreciation Day.

The partnership goes back to September 2010, when 15 employers were selected to receive the U.S. Secretary of Defense Freedom Award in recognition of their support of the guard and reserve.

Two of the employers were from North Carolina: ECU and Food Lion. At that time, the two organizations vowed to partner and continue to provide a superior level of support to the military, said Pat Frede, ECU development officer in the College of Allied Health Sciences.

“We thank Food Lion for their generosity, support and dedication to the men and women of our nation’s armed forces,” said Frede, a Navy veteran and reserve Senior Chief Petty Officer who served a 14-month tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2010-2011.


Occupational therapy graduate students inducted to national honor society

Eleven occupational therapy graduate students at East Carolina University were inducted Oct. 29 in the Delta Beta Chapter of Pi Theta Epsilon, the honor society for occupational therapy students and alumni.

The chapter is the only one in North Carolina and one of 80 active chapters in the United States, said Dr. Leonard Trujillo, chairman of the Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Allied Health Sciences.

Inductees are Alana Justice, Keli Alana McColl, Chelsey McKeel, Kelly Michelle Pippin, Stacia Pomeroy, Monica Powell, Brittany Robertson, Erin Schofield, Sarah E. Timmons, Farrell Wiggins and Caitlin Zawistowicz. Dr. Denise Donica is the faculty advisor.

The society recognizes and encourages superior scholarship among students enrolled in professional entry-level programs at accredited education programs across the United States. Pi Theta Epsilon supports the development of occupational science and the practice of occupational therapy by promoting research and scholarly activities of its members.

Dr. Stephen Thomas, dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences, was guest speaker and Trujillo made closing remarks.

For more information on Pi Theta Epsilon, visit

For information on the occupational therapy program at ECU, go to

ECU graduate students inducted to the occupational therapy national honor society are sitting, left to right, Chelsey McKeel, Stacia Pomeroy, Alana Justice and Brittany Robertson. Standing are left to right, Monica Powell, Caitlin Zawistowicz, Kelly Pippin, Erin Schofield, Farrell Wiggins, Keli McColl, Sarah Timmons and Dr. Denise Donica, faculty advisor.



Expert to speak about health care reform at ECU

Dr. Don Berwick, an internationally known health care expert and former administrator of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, will talk about the Affordable Care Act Oct. 10 at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.


Berwick’s lecture, “The Affordable Care Act: Aiming to Build a Better Health System,” will be from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. in the auditorium of the Brody Medical Sciences Building at 600 Moye Blvd. in Greenville. The lecture is open to students, faculty staff and the public.

Ron Pollack, executive director and vice president of Families USA, will also give brief remarks.

Berwick is a founder of the Institute for Health Care Improvement, which aims to reduce errors, waste, delay and unsustainable social and economic costs in health care. He also created the “IHI Open School,” an online learning tool and health professions student organization that serves more than 100,000 students and faculty members across the globe.

Berwick’s lecture is sponsored by the Brody School of Medicine, Families USA and the North Carolina Justice Center.

For faculty, staff and students who cannot attend the lecture in the Brody Building, it will be simulcast at the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday, the award-winning film “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare” will be shown in the Brody Auditorium. The film is free and open to the public. An informal discussion will follow.

For more information, contact Karen James at or by calling 252-744-3420.


“Crossing Borders” event set for Oct. 25

East Carolina University’s Division of Health Sciences will host an interdisciplinary program, “Crossing Borders,” from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25 in the Brody School of Medicine Auditorium.

The event will bring students and faculty from each of the health sciences disciplines – allied health sciences, dental medicine, Laupus Library, medicine and nursing – together with a focus on collaboration in education. Approximately 300 students have been invited.

They will watch the film, “Crossing Borders,” a feature documentary directed by Arnd Wächter examining different cultures, hidden preconceptions and discovering oneself.

After the film, students will divide into small discussion groups to work with facilitators from each unit.

The event is sponsored by the offices of ECU Diversity and Dr. Phyllis Horns, vice chancellor for health sciences. Dr. Donna Lake from the College of Nursing has led the event planning group.

For more on the film, go to


ECU professor serves on vehicle technology panel

East Carolina University occupational therapy professor Dr. Anne Dickerson was one of ten experts on a panel that reviewed vehicle technologies for benefits in promoting capacity, confidence and convenience for drivers as they age.

Dickerson is the director of Research for the Older Adult Driver Initiative at ECU. She has been researching functional performance of older adults since the early 1990s. When the American Occupational Therapy Association identified older adult drivers as an emerging practice area in 2003, she began to focus on the functional performance of driving and has become one of the leading occupational therapy researchers in this growing area.

She has an occupational therapy degree from Temple University, a master’s degree in allied health education/health administration from Texas State University and a doctorate in
developmental psychology from Florida International University.

Other panel participants included practitioners and researchers with expertise in geriatric medicine, kinesiology, human factors and occupational therapy.

The study was conducted by The Hartford and the MIT AgeLab.  For more information about the study, visit For details on the panel, visit


Toriello named chair of Dept. of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies

Paul Toriello

Dr. Paul Toriello has been named the new chair of the Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies at East Carolina University effective Aug. 1.

In the addictions and rehabilitation field since 1991, Toriello has worked as a paraprofessional, case manager and clinician. He also spent several years as the training director and then clinical director of a 108-bed residential facility serving adolescents with behavior disorders and substance abuse issues.

Toriello joined ECU in 2005 after four years at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. He has directed the PhD program in rehabilitation counseling and administration since 2009, and has served as the College of Allied Health Sciences’ interim assistant dean for research grants since 2011. In the role of principal investigator, Toriello conceived and started an addictions treatment clinic in 2007, and developed it into a state-licensed substance abuse intensive outpatient program.

He has participated in more than $5 million in projects funded by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, National Institute on Drug Abuse, the U.S. Department of Defense and other agencies. He is president-elect of the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association.

Toriello earned his Doctor of Rehabilitation, specializing in substance related disorders, from the Rehabilitation Institute, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He received a bachelor’s in psychology and master’s in rehabilitation counseling from Wright State University. He is a board-licensed clinical addictions specialist and a board-certified rehabilitation counselor and clinical supervisor.

Toriello replaces Dr. Lloyd Goodwin, who served as interim department chair for several years on two separate occasions.

Goodwin facilitated the new department name change to reflect its expanded emphasis; combined two graduate degree programs to improve their visibility and reflect current and future practice; and initiated the application for a new national accreditation to broaden student recruitment and employment markets for graduates, according to Dr. Stephen Thomas, dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences.