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Academic Medicine:
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The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University

Fortner, Tom

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Director, Health Sciences News and Information, East Carolina University

East Carolina University (ECU) is located in Greenville, North Carolina, the geographic center of the state’s Coastal Plain, a region of small cities and expansive rural areas. Founded in 1907 as a teacher training school, ECU has grown to become a diverse doctoral/research university with more than 21,000 students.

In the early 1960s, a group of leaders from eastern North Carolina proposed that a medical school be established at what was then East Carolina College. They were concerned about the deficit of modern medical care available in the region, and about who would replace the generation of physicians then in practice. Over the next decade, these and other men and women, under the determined leadership of the late Dr. Leo W. Jenkins, chancellor of the college, made the case for their idea to anyone who would listen.

In time, ECU was authorized to establish a health affairs division as a foundation for a medical program, and then a one-year medical school whose participants completed their medical education at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Finally in 1974, the General Assembly of North Carolina appropriated the funds to establish a four-year medical school at East Carolina University.

The legislature set forth a three-fold mission for the ECU School of Medicine: to increase the supply of primary care physicians to serve the state, to improve the health status of citizens in eastern North Carolina, and to allow minority and disadvantaged students better access to a medical education. In 1999, it was renamed the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, in recognition of the continuous support of the Brody family.

The Brody School of Medicine enrolls 72 students in each class and offers residency and fellowship programs in 23 disciplines to more than 280 physician trainees. The school also offers the doctor of philosophy degree in six biomedical science disciplines, with an enrollment of about 50 students.

The medical school is regarded as a national leader in rural medicine and is known for producing well-rounded physician graduates who excel in a variety of disciplines. Over the last few years, the school has achieved national recognition for clinical advances in robotic and bariatric surgery, diabetes research and education, and in the use of telemedicine in a rural area.

The medical school shares a campus with its teaching affiliate, Pitt County Memorial Hospital, a 745-bed referral center and the flagship of University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina, a six-hospital system. The university also operates two of North Carolina’s largest schools of nursing and allied health sciences, which will relocate to a consolidated health sciences campus in 2006.

The school recently recruited a new dean, its fourth. Cynda Johnson, MD, MBA, was previously head of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Iowa.

For more information about the Brody School of Medicine, please go to 〈www.ecu.edu/med〉.

Tom Fortner

Director

Heath Sciences News and Information

East Carolina University

© 2004 Association of American Medical Colleges

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