Brody School of Medicine dean speaks at Vidant health conference

By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services

Dr. Paul Cunningham, dean of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, was one of four health care professionals to present Monday, May 19 during the Vidant 2014 Health Care Conference.

Cunningham

Dr. Paul Cunningham

The conference encouraged leaders from across the community to “join the conversation” about improving health care for the county and region. Other speakers were Dr. Sanne Magnan, CEO of the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement; Mark Benton, COO for Community Care of North Carolina; and Vidant Health CEO Dr. Dave Herman.

Cunningham’s talk focused on the health challenges facing the region and how Brody is building partnerships to sustain operations and better serve the population of eastern North Carolina.

“The mission has not changed but our form must change,” he said. “We must focus on the future in a meaningful way. More and new partnerships are needed.”

Those include both partnerships across the health sciences at ECU, he added, as well as with leaders in all sectors of the community.

Eastern North Carolina still faces many challenges to improving access to health care, Cunningham said. Poverty persists in much of the region – particularly in rural areas – and individuals can be isolated, hard to reach and may be distrustful of health care providers.

There are about 12 chronic diseases that plague the region, he said. Those include obesity, diabetes, STDs, hypertension, asthma and cancer. More than 32 percent of the population is obese, he added.

“If we were expert at just this list alone, we could improve the health outcomes of eastern North Carolina,” Cunningham told attendees.

Brody continues to meet its mission to produce doctors who will work in primary care, he reported. And by keeping the cost of attending the medical school at ECU relatively low, students graduating from Brody can begin careers in primary care without “dealing with a mountain of debt.”

At the end of the individual presentations, Cunningham and Herman fielded questions from attendees.

View Cunningham’s entire presentation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXpnD0mcJjQ&feature=youtu.be.

 

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ECU pediatrician certified as physician executive

By Amy Ellis
ECU News Services

Dr. John M. Olsson, division chief for general pediatrics at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine, was recently named a certified physician executive by the American College of Physician Executives. Olsson was formally recognized for this achievement at the group’s annual meeting April 25 in Chicago.

Olsson

Dr. John Olsson

The nationally recognized credential requires physicians to pass a minimum of 150 hours of  “live” and online coursework followed by nearly four days of formal certification activities.

“The credential is becoming the benchmark for CEOs and executive recruiters seeking the most accomplished and influential health care leaders,” according to the website for the Certifying Commission in Medical Management, the national certifying body for physicians specializing in medical management. The CCMM is a not-for-profit corporation chartered by the ACPE, the association for physicians in health care leadership.

“This education gives me the medical essentials of an MBA,” Olsson said. “The skills I have gained will help my department and the Brody School of Medicine as we navigate the changing healthcare environment.”

Olsson came to ECU in 1998 from Phoenix, Arizona, where he was residency director for pediatrics at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. He earned his medical degree from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and completed his pediatrics residency at Emory University Affiliated Hospitals. Olsson served as chief of staff for Vidant Medical Center in 2011.

“Dr. Olsson was already recognized as an excellent leader, and this training will only improve that ability,” said Dr. Ron Perkin, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Brody. “All of us in this department are very fond of John and very proud of this accomplishment.”

 

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Saeed interviewed on NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’

Dr. Sy Saeed

Dr. Sy Saeed

Dr. Sy Saeed, chairman of the Department of Psychiatric Medicine at the Brody School of Medicine, was interviewed on NPR’s “All Things Considered” May 7 regarding the effectiveness of telepsychiatry in bringing much needed mental health care to underserved regions.

Saeed shared with NPR’s Robert Siegel that patients have found the experience of interacting via telepsychiatry to be much like a face-to-face interaction. He said that a few minutes into the two-way video hookup, many patients “forget they are talking to the doctor via this monitor.”

According to the NPR program, telepsychiatry is addressing a significant challenge for the state – the lack of mental health care providers in rural areas.

ECU is part of a statewide telepsychiatry program that links hospital emergency departments to mental health professionals who can initiate treatment for emergency department patients in mental health or substance abuse crisis.

Read more and listen to the interview at http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/05/07/308749287/telepsychiatry-brings-emergency-mental-health-care-to-rural-areas

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Society honors humanism, professionalism in medicine

Inductees into the Gold Humanism Honor Society are, left to right, Jane Kilkenny, Trey Sloan, Miller Johnstone, Ben Weston, Scott Gremillion, Michael Odom, Marlana Sheridan, Kenya Caldwell, Dylan Suttle, Sarah Norris, Julie Barrett, and Ben Robey.

2015 inductees into the Gold Humanism Honor Society are, left to right, Jane Kilkenny, Trey Sloan, Miller Johnstone, Ben Weston, Scott Gremillion, Michael Odom, Marlana Sheridan, Kenya Caldwell, Dylan Suttle, Sarah Norris, Julie Barrett, and Ben Robey.

The 2015 inductees to the Gold Humanism Honor Society at ECU were honored in a ceremony April 21 at Ironwood Golf and Country Club.

The society honors medical students, residents, role-model physician teachers and other exemplars recognized for demonstrated excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service. Organized to elevate the values of humanism and professionalism within the field of medicine, the society is fast becoming integrated into the medical educational environment.

Third-year medical students inducted into the society are selected for inclusion by their peers. The class of 2015 includes Julie Barrett, Kenya Caldwell, Scott Gremillion, Miller Johnstone, Jane Kilkenny, Sarah Norris, Michael Odom, Ben Robey, Marlana Sheridan, Trey Sloan, Dylan Suttle and Ben Weston.

During their fourth year of medical school, they will be responsible for selecting and executing a project that exemplifies humanism; participating in Solidarity Day, a nationwide initiative to highlight humanism in medicine; and sponsoring a fundraising event.

The Brody School of Medicine Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society began in 2011. The faculty advisor for the chapter is Hellen Ransom, DHCE, Department of Bioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies.

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ECU medical students advocate for healthcare system change on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON – Two fourth-year ECU medical students attended the Family Medicine Congressional Conference held April 7- 8 in Washington, D.C.  More than 200 physicians attended the meeting.

Sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Council of Academic Family Medicine, the conference educates participants on family medicine’s legislative priority issues, trains attendees on how to educate lawmakers on Capitol Hill and allows participants to put these skills to use with federal legislators and their staff.  Advocacy is a high priority of AAFP and the CAFM organizations.

As part of the meeting, ECU medical students Katy Kirk and Josh Carpenter and others attending from North Carolina had opportunities to meet with 12 of the state’s 15 congressional delegation members, including Senator Richard Burr, to urge passage of legislation that will maintain access to care for elderly and disabled Americans.  Such legislation would also address the primary care physician shortage by supporting primary care medical education as well as medical school scholarship and loan repayment programs.

Both Kirk and Carpenter will be entering family medicine residency training later this year.  Kirk will be joining the Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center Family Medicine Residency program in Phoenix, AZ, and Carpenter will begin his residency with the Cabarrus Family Medicine Residency in Concord, NC.

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