Letter from the Dean: September, 2019

Dr. Sylvia Brown

Dear friends,

As we look forward to another academic year, I’m excited to share with you many of the great things happening in the College of Nursing. We have the largest enrollment in the history of the College of Nursing, with 1,365 students. Our college continues to live our mission which is to serve as a national model for transforming the health of rural and underserved regions through excellence and innovation in nursing education, leadership, research, scholarship and practice.

Dr. Pam Reis, associate professor in the Department of Nursing Science, recently received a $2.8 million HRSA grant which will focus on transforming the advanced practice registered nurse workforce through a scholars program designed to enhance clinical excellence in rural health, develop leadership capacity for delivering high quality evidence-based health care, and promote employment in rural communities following graduation. There is a maldistribution of primary care providers, as most practice in urban and suburban communities. This grant will address this need as we prepare a pipeline of APRNs to practice in rural and underserved areas of our state.

We are also continuing to expand our Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses program (RIBN) as a strategy to enhance the educational preparation of nurses in our region. This past year, we added Wayne Community College as a collaborating partner to join our existing community college partners (Beaufort, Carteret, College of the Albemarle, Craven, Lenoir, Pitt, and Roanoke-Chowan). Two additional partners are in the planning stages for this academic year. The graduates of this program often stay in these communities to serve our rural region.

Not only are we focusing on workforce needs in rural and underserved regions, we are also addressing the health care needs in these areas. The Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Grant (GWEP), now completing its fourth year, has focused on addressing the health care needs of farmers, loggers, and fishermen in eastern North Carolina with an emphasis during this last year on mental health needs, Alzheimer’s, opioid and substance abuse, and preparation of caregivers.

Over the next two years, associate professor Dr. Donna Roberson will be a part of the Carolina GWEP grant. The new collaborative Carolina Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (CGWEP) grant with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill builds on previous partnerships and success to continue building the workforce in geriatrics and tackle the critical need for dementia training among professional and lay caregivers.

The former ECU GWEP focused on the overwhelming need for support for the family caregivers of people living with dementia in eastern North Carolina. A new emphasis on dementia care strategies for Native Americans will be provided in partnership with citizens living in southeastern North Carolina. The Carolina GWEP combines the enormous success of the previous two GWEP grants and has programs focused on improving health care for aging citizens over most of the state.

Faculty member Dr. Lee Ann Jarrett-Johnson recently received the Lung Cancer Research Fellowship Grant from Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina. Annually, lung cancer claims more lives in North Carolina and the US than any other cancer and more than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. These are just a few examples of the ways we are addressing important health issues in our region and beyond.

As we continue striving to meet our mission, I thank all our alumni and friends for your continued support in preparing our students to meet the needs of our region, state, country and world.

Thank you for taking the time to read and learn the latest about our college. Don’t forget that our Homecoming reception will be held on October 25 at 5 p.m. in the College of Nursing. Special recognition will be given to the Class of 1969 who will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary. In addition, we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Nurse Midwifery concentration in our MSN program and the 25th anniversary of the Class of 1994. Please follow us on social media for updates between these emails, and don’t forget to keep in touch!

Sylvia T. Brown, EdD, RN, CNE, ANEF

Dean & Professor