Three Down, One to Go with Help from Prestigious Scholarship

Trey and Kristi Sloan

By Kathy Muse

Once, twice, three times a Pirate and he’s not done yet.

Ruben “Trey” Sloan III is proud to say that he is a three-time graduate of the College of Health and Human Performance, East Carolina University and excited to continue his ambitious studies.

The Deep Run native dreams of becoming a medical doctor to serve the citizens of his home state.

Thanks to the University of North Carolina Board of Governor’s Medical Scholarship-Loan Program, he is one step closer to reaching this goal.

Sloan has been selected to receive the competitive four-year scholarship to attend the Brody School of Medicine.  The scholarship provides an annual stipend of $5,000 plus tuition, mandatory fees, medical insurance and a laptop computer.  Renewal each year is contingent upon meeting all eligibility requirements and continued funding by the North Carolina General Assembly.

“I was overwhelmed with a sense of relief and gratitude when I learned about receiving this scholarship,” Sloan said.  “Knowing that many of my expenses will be paid is a great feeling,” he added.

Scholars are selected on the basis of academic merit, financial need, along with a commitment to practice medicine in North Carolina following graduation.

Sloan will enter medical school this fall as a distinguished graduate boasting a 3.96 grade point average.  He served as president of the Department of Kinesiology Graduate Student Organization and was appointed to the Dean’s Student Advisory Committee for the 2008-2009 academic year.

Dr. Ron Cortright, professor in the Department of Kinesiology (formerly Exercise and Sport Science), taught Sloan during his first year as a doctoral student, said “I immediately saw his intellect, creativity, and passion for learning through classroom participation and on critical thinking exams.”

Sloan’s affection for ECU is double fold.  It is here that he met his wife, Kristi Sloan, and got engaged under the cupola on campus.

He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and a doctoral degree in Bioenergetics and Exercise Science.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and in Nursing.



Research finds discrimination, resilience among older lesbians

More than half of lesbians aged 55 and older have been married to a man at some point in their lives. More than 90% said their families knew about their lesbian relationships.

East Carolina University researchers reported these findings in their article, “Older Lesbians: Experiences of Aging, Discrimination and Resilience,” published in the Journal of Women and Aging. The work was the largest and most comprehensive research done on this demographic since 1984.


Social work professors Paige Averette, Intae Yoon and Carol L. Jenkins surveyed 456 lesbians 55 years of age or older regarding socio-demographics, social activity, health, sexual identity, family relations, romantic relationships, use of service/help programs, mental health, end of life care, and experience with discrimination.

The research uncovered persistent discrimination and hostility toward lesbians despite improvements in public attitudes since the last national study. Compared to the earlier study, the group reported slightly higher levels of perceived discrimination in their employment settings due to their sexual orientation.

The researchers said that older lesbians contend with ageism in their work and social settings, just as many older individuals do. However, members of the study group face additional intolerance and discrimination from family and from the public, while walking down the street and going about their daily lives.

“More older lesbians have reported being married to men than twenty-five years ago,” said Averett, “which points to the continued pressure that lesbians feel to hide and to the power of heterosexism that continues within our culture.”

Averett said, “Older lesbians struggle with federal and state policies that disregard their lifetime romantic partnerships, denying them end-of-life decision making as well as access to partners’ Social Security and retirement benefits.” This forces them into legal battles with partners’ families, hospitals and employers, she said.

Despite the ongoing challenges, study participants showed an increase in positive thinking about their sexual orientation and about aging. While more than 80% reported participation in therapy at some point, the researchers said, they consider themselves overall to be in good mental health. More than 90% said they were “out” to their family members, and a majority reported having positive relationships with family members who know about their sexual orientation.

The study also showed an increase from the prior study in the duration of lesbian relationships. That number is now similar to the duration of heterosexual marriages.

For additional information about the study, contact Paige Averett, assistant professor in the ECU School of Social Work, at 252-328-4193 or


Full text of the article is available at:



TO WED ON FRIDAY: ECU graduate paralyzed at 2010 bachelorette party

A news story on features ECU graduate Rachelle Friedman and her fiance’ Chris Chapman, also an ECU alum. The couple will marry July 22.

Their original wedding date in 2010 was delayed after Friedman was paralyzed in an accident at her bachelorette party in Virginia Beach, Va. Following that accident, Friedman received international attention, including an appearance on NBC’s Today Show and a surprise home makeover by the NBC television show, Open House to the Rescue.

Read the story, NC woman to marry 1 year after paralyzing accident.


‘Do something bigger than yourself’

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus urged graduates to do something bigger than themselves through service to others, during East Carolina University’s Spring Commencement May 6. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)  Read more and see slideshow from the commencement service.


Graduates mark end of medical school.

FIRST GRADUATE: ‘Long journey’ ends for Smith, his family

MIRACLE MILESTONE: Early graduation ceremony includes mom



Advice from patient helps doctor, family stay close

WINTERVILLE, N.C.   (Mar. 17, 2011)   —   Dr. Tommy Ellis sees a lot of patients in his family medicine practice at East Carolina University. Almost always, he is able to help them.

One day, however, the tables turned.

Marilyn Love, 70, a longtime patient of Ellis’, was at his office for a routine appointment. As the visit concluded, Love asked the doctor if there were anything she could do for him.

The question caught Ellis by surprise. He’s supposed to be the one making suggestions and coming up with answers, he thought. But since Love had grown children of her own, Ellis, 44, decided to ask for advice on raising teenagers.

Love’s response was swift: Buy a pingpong table.

Read more…


Valentine Gift

June Long, an executive assistant at the Brody School of Medicine, recalls her Valentine's Day kidney transplant. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

A Valentine’s Day gift of a different sort

ECU staff member recalls the Feb. 14 kidney transplant that gave her a new life

By Doug Boyd

GREENVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 11, 2011) — June Long was with her daughter browsing Valentine’s Day cards when she received the call.

A match to replace Long’s failing kidneys had been found and was on its way to North Carolina. If the new kidney and Long passed the final matching criteria, she would undergo a transplant the following day, Feb. 14, 1997.

“It was very emotional,” said Long, 62. “It’s just overwhelming when you know something that means so much to you has cost a family so much.”

The transplant surgeon on call that day at East Carolina University was Dr. Paul Cunningham, now dean of the Brody School of Medicine at ECU.

“He said, ‘It’s about a perfect match. We’re going to the O.R.,'” Long said.

Feb. 14 isn’t just Valentine’s Day at the Cunningham household. It’s also the Cunninghams’ wedding anniversary, and that year was their 10th. “Our plans usually involve not doing a whole lot other than spend time with each other,” Cunningham said. “Typically, I cook a meal.”

When Cunningham told his wife, Sydney, their anniversary and Valentine’s Day dinner would have to wait, her response was warm.

“She felt this was the best Valentine’s Day gift we could give one another – to help somebody,” Cunningham said.

Long was prepped for surgery, and the operation proceeded. After Cunningham made all the connections, the new kidney began working before his eyes.

“From a surgeon’s viewpoint, it’s so exciting to be able to do that and see the thing run,” Cunningham said. “It’s like a kid at Christmas; you put the battery in the toy and see it work.”

Long, who worked at the ECU medical school in 1997 and still does, as an executive assistant, has enjoyed 14 years of normal life. She said anti-rejection medication is far better than 10 hours of dialysis each night. “I was pretty much tied to the dialysis machine,” she said. “All you do is take a handful of pills, and that’s so much better than being on dialysis.

“This has been a real good match,” she added. “I’ve never had any rejection episodes. It’s been a great kidney.”

In addition, new anti-rejection medications have fewer side-effects and are less damaging to the kidneys and body, Cunningham said.

While the job of dean leaves no time for surgery, that’s OK with Cunningham. “There’s a time for everything,” he said. “My job now is to support those who are doing transplants now.”

More than 280 eastern North Carolinians are awaiting a kidney transplant, according to ECU experts. ECU surgeons performed 73 kidney transplants in 2010.

For more information about kidney transplants at ECU, call 252-744-2620.


Appointments and Elections

December 2010/January 2011

Will Banks (English) was invited to join the advisory board for, which works to provide high-quality education materials that align to national standards. Banks also joined the board for the North Carolina English Teacher Association.

Kirk St. Amant (English) was elected member at large on the executive committee of the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication.

Lorraine Hale Robinson (English) was appointed to the advisory board for Martin Community College, to the board of directors of the Friends of Hope Plantation, and to the board of directors for the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.

November 2010

James Kleckley (Business) was appointed to the board of directors for the Association for University Business and Economic Research for 2010-11.

Jennifer Hodgson (Child Development and Family Relations) was named president of the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association, a national organization that promotes collaboration between psychosocial, biomedical, nursing and other healthcare providers.

Tejas Desai (Internal Medicine) was named to the national board of directors of the American Association of Kidney Patients.

Steven Schmidt (Education) was elected secretary and member of the executive board of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education at the organization’s annual conference in Clearwater Beach, Fla.

October 2010

Bobby Lowery, Pam Reis and Susan Williams (Nursing) were appointed by the N.C. Board of Nursing to the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Advisory Committee, which will study licensure, accreditation, certification and education models.

Stephen W. Thomas (Allied Health Sciences) was named to a state committee examining the impact of federal health reform legislation on North Carolina, an effort led by Lanier Cansler, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, and Wayne Goodwin, commissioner of the N.C. Department of Insurance and state fire marshal.

Gregg D. Givens (Communication Sciences and Disorders) was elected to a three-year term on the board of directors of the National Council of State Boards of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.

September 2010

Mark Scholl (Education) was appointed to a three-year term as member of the editorial board of the Journal of College Counseling.

Ron Mitchelson (Geography) was appointed senior research fellow in residence for ECU’s Research and Graduate Studies.

July/August 2010

Doug Smith (East Carolina Alumni Association) was elected to the Council of Alumni Membership and Marketing Professionals Board of Directors at the organization’s annual conference on July 15. He will serve a two-year term as treasurer.

Paul R. G. Cunningham (Medicine) accepted an honorary chairmanship of the Inner Banks’ Project of the outer Banks Relief Foundation/The Surf Club.

Gary Vanderpool (Health Sciences Administration and Finance) has been named president of the board of directors for Carolina Donor Services, a regional organ-procurement organization.

George G. Fenich (Hospitality Management) was appointed associate editor of the Journal of Convention and Event Tourism. He has served on the editorial board since the inception of the journal in the early 1990s.

Nursing faculty Bobby Lowery, Pam Reis and Susan Williams were appointed to the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse advisory committee.

May/June 2010

Steven R. Sligar (Rehabilitation Studies) was named co-editor of the Vocational Evaluation and Career Assessment Professionals Journal. Min Kim, PhD student in rehabilitation counseling and administration, was selected as managing editor.

Kathleen T. Cox (Communication Sciences and Disorders) is president-elect of the North Carolina Speech, Hearing & Language Association. Her term as president will begin in July 2011.

Lorraine Hale Robinson (English) was elected to the Friends of Hope Plantation (Windsor, N.C.). The Friends assist in the continued maintenance and preservation of the Historic Hope restoration.

April 2010

William Meggs (Medicine) was re-elected as a toxicology representative to the American College of Emergency Physicians Council and will continue to serve on the ACEP Council steering committee.

Tami Tomasello (Communication) was invited to serve as associate editor for the International Journal of Interactive Communication Systems and Technologies. The inaugural issue was scheduled to print in January.

February 2010

Stephen W. Thomas (Allied Health Sciences) was elected as chair for a two-year term of the Council for Allied Health in North Carolina. The CAHNC represents allied health educators, employers of allied health providers, and allied health professionals. The Council keeps pace with trends and needs in allied health and manages statewide workforce studies used in projecting future educational needs.

The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina appointed as regional council members, Philip Rogers, executive assistant to the chancellor, and Ann Harrison, retired gifted and special education professor. Steve Jones, ECU Board of Trustees, joined the council as chairman in September.

January 2010

Kim Dixon (Psychiatric Medicine) was elected to a two-year term as treasurer of the Association of Psychologists in Academic Health Centers.

Peggy Goodman (Emergency Medicine) was re-appointed to the North Carolina Domestic Violence Commission by Gov. Beverly E. Perdue. This is Goodman’s 6th two-year appointment to the commission. Goodman was invited by the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence to serve on the North Carolina State Steering Committee for the CDC’s DELTA (Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancement and Leadership Through Alliances) Project, which studies and develops programs for the primary prevention of intimate partner violence and other forms of family violence. In addition, Goodman was named chair of the American Public Health Association Family Violence Prevention Forum, a group of over 600 APHA members and 200 affiliate members from 44 states and nine countries. She is also its newsletter editor.

Mack McCarthy (Athletics) was named honorary chairman for Live Healthy Greenville for the second year.

Jane Miles (Nursing) began her term this summer as president of the board of directors of the Association for Home and Hospice Care of North Carolina.

November 2009

Larry Donley (Career Center) was elected president-elect of the Southern Association of Student Employment Administrators for 2010.

Alan R. White (Arts and Sciences) was elected to the board of directors of the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences.

October 2009

Lisa Campbell (Health Disparities, Psychology) was appointed to a National Institutes of Health study section on behavioral medicine interventions and outcomes. Campbell was also named guest editor for the Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity, for a special issue on black male health.