Greenville, N.C. – East Carolina University and ECU Health are launching an initiative to increase the number of adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioners serving as advanced practice health care professionals in ECU Health’s critical care settings. This effort builds on the collective commitment of both organization to solve the rural health challenges in the region as well as the state.

The effort – conceived by nursing and education leaders from ECU’s College of Nursing and ECU Health – will benefit both the university and the health system, said Dr. Bim Akintade, the dean of ECU’s College of Nursing. An investment of nearly $1.5 million over five years from ECU Health will increase the College of Nursing’s capacity to graduate trained and qualified nurses who can meet the growing need for acute care practitioners to treat the hospital’s sickest patients.

“ECU Health is proud of its close relationship with ECU and the College of Nursing, particularly as it pertains to our efforts to adapt to the national health care workforce shortage,” said Dr. Daphne Brewington, ECU Health’s vice president of nursing. “Our success as an academic health system is predicated on our ability to leverage clinical and academic excellence in order to ensure we can provide high quality health care for the residents of eastern North Carolina.”

Nationally, the aging population is growing, accompanied by the shortage of health care workers. This collaboration not only strengthens the health care workforce in eastern North Carolina but also contributes to improved health outcomes and increased accessibility to specialized care for older adults in the communities of eastern North Carolina.

Through this effort, ECU Health is helping fund the development of a new Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Post Graduate Certificate, which will train current nurse practitioners to treat acute care adult patients. The investment also provides funding for a program director who teaches and an additional part-time faculty member as well as administrative support and operational costs.

The program will reserve six enrollments per enrollment cycle for current ECU Health employees, highlighting the importance of providing specialized training that benefits the region.

“Our plan is to take the next few months to work with our partners at ECU Health and find clinical placement sites in critical care environments for ECU Health employees who enroll in the program,” Akintade said. “They need nurses, and training nurses is our business and passion. This collaboration is a win-win and makes complete sense for the University, the Heath System, the region, and the state.

Clinical placements for students employed by ECU Health will take place at ECU Health facilities, which will help to alleviate a major sticking point for training advance practice nurses – finding clinical placements for students in training. It also has the potential to create pathways for those in the program to experience acute care at both ECU Health Medical Center and in ECU Health’s regional community hospitals.

The initiative isn’t limited to the current arrangement and both ECU and ECU Health continue to explore ways to leverage this effort to design innovative solutions that benefit the people of eastern North Carolina.

“Eastern North Carolina depends on institutions like ECU Health and ECU to collaborate on innovative solutions that drive us towards our mission of improving the health and well-being of the region,” said Dr. Trish Baise, ECU Health’s chief nursing executive. “As a health system serving 1.4 million people, we need more nurses at every level in order to meet the region’s immense needs. The College of Nursing is one of the premiere nursing education schools in the nation and our health system is great training ground for developing a health care workforce with a focus on rural health challenges. I am excited to see the benefit this program will have on our patients and team members.”

Health News | Nursing | Press Releases

Technology on a virtual screen

Greenville, N.C. ECU Health has earned 2023 CHIME (College of Healthcare Information Management Executives) Digital Health Most Wired recognition as a certified acute and ambulatory Level 8. The CHIME Digital Health Most Wired program conducts an annual survey designed to identify and recognize health care organizations that exemplify best practices through their adoption, implementation and use of information technology.

“We are excited to see how our utilization of technology supports enhanced patient care and engagement,” said Tanya Thompson, vice president of IT Applications at ECU Health. “As the use of technology continues to evolve in health care environments, organizations are prioritizing growth in technology, not just keeping up with the status quo. At ECU Health, we continue to focus on where we can to bring value through the advancement of our tools and processes to support the organization and take care of patients in eastern North Carolina. The Most Wired Award will continue to be an important barometer for us in this effort.”

Technology on a virtual screen

Among the more than 55,000 facilities represented, ECU Health ranked above peers in categories across eight key areas including: infrastructure, security, administrative/supply chain, analytics/data management, interoperability/population health, patient engagement, innovation and clinical quality/safety. Participants receive a comprehensive benchmarking report enabling them to evaluate their current information systems’ health. This report assists in devising strategies to elevate the quality of health care organizations to enhance industry-wide care standards. The assessment covers digital health performance. The survey assesses the adoption, integration and impact of technologies at all stages of development, from early development to industry leading.

“We are proud to recognize ECU Health’s exceptional dedication to digital health excellence,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell. “ECU Health’s pioneering performance in the industry not only inspires other organizations by example, but also provides patients around the world with better care.”

Participants receive certification based on their overall performance, with level 10 being the highest. The 2023 Digital Health Most Wired program included more than 55,000 represented facilities, with the bar for excellence continually rising each year.

Awards | Press Releases

Ellen Walston poses for a photo with the Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Award at the Governor’s Highway Safety Conference in New York City.

Greenville, N.C. – The Greenville Traffic Safety Task Force was awarded the Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award at the Governor’s Highway Safety Conference in New York City, which recognizes notable achievements in the field of highway safety by individuals, coalitions, organizations, nonprofit groups, businesses, media, government agencies, universities or programs. The task force was created in partnership by Greenville Police Department and ECU Health Medical Center’s Eastern Carolina Injury Prevention Program (ECIPP).

“We are honored to receive an achievement award that recognizes the efforts of the Greenville Traffic Safety Task Force to improve pedestrian and driver safety,” said Ellen Walston, Injury Prevention Program Coordinator, ECIPP. “The Greenville Traffic Safety Task Force has served as a model of success across the state and is successful because of our community partners who want to see Greenville become safer for drivers and pedestrians. Receiving this award is not just a recognition of our efforts, it’s a testament to our proven results of unwavering commitment to making our roads safer for all.”

Ellen Walston poses for a photo with the Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Award at the Governor’s Highway Safety Conference in New York City.
Ellen Walston poses for a photo with the Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Award at the Governor’s Highway Safety Conference in New York City.

The Greenville Traffic Safety Task Force was honored for bringing together a range of community stakeholders and leaders to quickly implement needed roadway safety countermeasures. For many years Greenville was ranked number one for highest volume of crashes in cities with populations of 10,000 or more by the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. With an average of over 400 crashes per month in a city of less than 100,000, leaders in the community sought a creative solution. Thus, Greenville Police Department and ECIPP at ECU Health Medical Center formed the Greenville Traffic Safety Task Force.

The Greenville Traffic Safety Task Force is now comprised of partners from ECIPP, Greenville Police Department, City of Greenville’s Engineering Department, ECU Health Police, ECU Police, North Carolina Department of Transportation and Greenville Metropolitan Planning Organization. Partners are responsible for enforcement data, bicycle and pedestrian safety, crash reduction and roadway changes, school safety and policy changes. Each partner has a stake in the task force’s success.

“The Greenville Police Department is honored to work with this task force and take part in receiving this achievement,” said Deputy Chief Chris Ivey, Greenville Police Department. “The efforts of the Greenville Traffic Safety Task Force are key in ensuring traffic safety of our community and encouraging good driving habits. We see the value in traffic safety and recognize that enforcement and collaboration with our partners on the task force can save lives.”

The multidisciplinary group identified and implemented solutions including high-visibility crosswalks, traffic delineators and increased enforcement in crash-prone areas. Together, these countermeasures and community support led to a sizable reduction in crashes, providing a model for other cities and communities. The Greenville Traffic Safety Task Force also installed bollards, or vertical posts, which are used to guide left turns from middle lanes at busy areas. In 2021, Greenville moved from the number one ranking for crashes in the state to the number seven slot. In 2022, Greenville has moved to the number eight slot.

“Traffic safety takes effort from a number of different partners,” said Stacey Pigford, Civil Engineer II, City of Greenville. “Our department is proud to work with the Greenville Traffic Safety Task Force on a cause that has produced such positive results, and to see those results recognized.”

The task force was previously awarded the 2019 North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program Community Collaboration Award, the Safe States Injury and Violence Prevention Achievement Award in 2022 and the 2023 inaugural North Carolina Vision Zero Safety Award.

Community | Press Releases

A doctor talks with two patients

Greenville, N.C. – Coastal Plains Network improved care for more than 27,000 Medicare beneficiaries in eastern North Carolina and saved Medicare $13,220,162 by meeting quality and cost goals in 2022, according to recently released performance data from The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Coastal Plains Network consisted of ECU Health clinics and hospitals as well as Rural Health Group during the performance period.

As a Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organization (ACO), the Coastal Plains Network – a company founded by ECU Health – reached a record number of savings and earnings in 2022. ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers who decide to collaborate and provide coordinated, high-quality care to people with Medicare. Under this collaboration, patients are less likely to need repeat medical tests or unnecessary medical services, have extra help managing chronic diseases, more preventative health services, additional recovery support when coming home from the hospital and care in more convenient ways such as home-based care or telehealth services.

A doctor talks with two patients

When an ACO succeeds in both delivering high-quality care and spending health care dollars more wisely, the ACO may be eligible to share in the savings it achieves for the Medicare program, also known as performance payments. The Coastal Plains Network received more than $5 million from CMS to invest in improving patient care and outcomes.

“ECU Health and the Coastal Plains Network are proud of the providers who helped bring record savings to the Shared Savings Program, which improves the quality of care, care coordination, accessibility and lowers health care costs for Medicare recipients,” said Todd Hickey, chief strategy officer, ECU Health. “With the savings, ECU Health plans to reinvest in population health efforts aligned with our mission to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina.”

Patients enrolled in the Medicare Shared Savings Program see lower out-of-pocket spending on avoidable health care utilization like emergency department visits because the ACO has better coordinated their care.

“The Medicare Shared Savings Program helps millions of people with Medicare experience coordinated health care while also reducing costs for the Medicare program,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “CMS will continue to improve the program, and it is exciting to see that Accountable Care Organizations are continuing to be successful in delivering coordinated, high-quality, affordable, equitable, person-centered care.”

The Medicare Shared Savings Program saved Medicare $1.8 billion in 2022 compared to spending targets for the year. This marks the sixth consecutive year the program has generated overall savings and high-quality performance results. This represents the second-highest annual savings accrued for Medicare since the program’s inception more than ten years ago.

“We are encouraged and inspired by six consecutive years of savings and high-quality care, with 2022 being one of the strongest years of performance to date,” said Meena Seshamani, MD, PhD, CMS Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicare. “The Shared Savings Program is Medicare’s permanent, flagship Accountable Care Program, and we look forward to continually improving and growing the program, expanding the reach of participating ACOs, and addressing critical health disparities across the country.”

Community | Press Releases

From left: Brennen Reynolds, Jeffrey Woods, Dr. Sy Saeed, Isa Diaz, Dr. Michael Genovese, Chris Hunter, Sec. Kody H. Kinsley, Dr. Michael Waldrum, Brian Floyd, Todd Hickey, Bob Greczyn, Dr. Michael Lang, Chancellor Philip Rogers, William Monk hold shovels during the groundbreaking for the upcoming behavioral health hospital in Greenville.

GREENVILLE, N.C. (November 1, 2023) – ECU Health and Acadia Healthcare held a ceremony today to celebrate the start of construction on its previously announced state-of-the-art, 144-bed behavioral health hospital in Greenville, North Carolina. The event occurred on the site of the new hospital – located at 2820 MacGregor Downs Road, Greenville, North Carolina 27834 – and celebrated the joint venture partnership between ECU Health and Acadia Healthcare, which will own and operate the new hospital together.

Slated to open in Spring 2025, the hospital will be a center of excellence situated less than a mile from ECU Health Medical Center. It will offer comprehensive inpatient and intensive outpatient treatment for adults, seniors, children and adolescents who struggle with acute symptoms of mental health such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as treatment for co-occurring disorders. Thomas Construction Group is the general contractor, and Stengel Hill Architecture is the architect for the project.

From left: Brennen Reynolds, Jeffrey Woods, Dr. Sy Saeed, Isa Diaz, Dr. Michael Genovese, Chris Hunter, Sec. Kody H. Kinsley, Dr. Michael Waldrum, Brian Floyd, Todd Hickey, Bob Greczyn, Dr. Michael Lang, Chancellor Philip Rogers, William Monk hold shovels during the groundbreaking for the upcoming behavioral health hospital in Greenville.
From left: Brennen Reynolds, Jeffrey Woods, Dr. Sy Saeed, Isa Diaz, Dr. Michael Genovese, Chris Hunter, Sec. Kody H. Kinsley, Dr. Michael Waldrum, Brian Floyd, Todd Hickey, Bob Greczyn, Dr. Michael Lang, Chancellor Philip Rogers, William Monk hold shovels during the groundbreaking for the upcoming behavioral health hospital in Greenville.

“Too many people, including children, in North Carolina get stuck in emergency departments when they urgently need short-term and high-quality behavioral health care,” said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Sec. Kody H. Kinsley. “This new hospital will create lasting change in this region by making behavioral health services easier to access when and where they are needed.”

The new hospital will also serve as a teaching hospital for psychiatry, social work, nursing and other behavioral health professionals. This will address the shortage of clinical behavioral healthcare professionals in the area, training students and residents from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, many of whom will go on to practice in eastern North Carolina and carry forth ECU Health’s mission to improve the health and well-being of the region.

The hospital will include 24 inpatient beds specifically for children and adolescents with behavioral health needs. These beds will be the first of their kind in ECU Health’s 29-county service area and the only child and adolescent beds within 75 miles of Greenville, North Carolina.

“The shortage of mental health resources is a critical challenge in North Carolina,” said Dr. Michael Waldrum, chief executive officer of ECU Health and dean of the Brody School of Medicine. “We are pleased construction is underway for our new behavioral health hospital, and this moment marks another milestone in our effort to improve access to behavioral health care for the region. It will provide the hope and healing residents of Greenville and the surrounding communities need when dealing with complex behavioral health issues.”

Prior to the pandemic, nearly one in five North Carolinians were experiencing a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder, according to a report from the North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use. In the past three years, national data indicates a growing trend of depression and anxiety symptoms. This partnership demonstrates a commitment to addressing mental illnesses and substance use disorders, normalizing and treating them with the latest science and medicine in appropriate care settings.

“This new hospital will provide North Carolinians with expanded access to quality behavioral health services and treatment from specialized clinical teams in a carefully designed environment,” said Chris Hunter, chief executive officer of Acadia Healthcare. “We are so proud to be affiliated with ECU Health, working together to address the strong need in this area and building upon their legacy and commitment to behavioral health services. This hospital will be a strong member of the Greenville community, collaborating with all organizations, hospitals and first responders. It will be a beacon of hope for patients and families in eastern North Carolina.”

To learn more about the partnership between ECU Health and Acadia Healthcare, visit

Behavioral Health | Press Releases

ECU Health and community leaders gather for a group photo during the 75th anniversary celebration at ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital.

Ahoskie, N.C.ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital hosted a community celebration Tuesday to proudly commemorate 75 years of dedicated service to eastern North Carolina.

Established in 1948, the hospital is dedicated to providing exceptional health care services to its community and has expanded and evolved to meet the changing health care needs of the region.

“We are immensely proud to celebrate 75 years of serving our community,” said Brian Harvill, president, ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan. “Throughout the years, we have strived to provide high-quality health care services with a patient-centered approach. Our commitment to excellence and compassionate care for our community has been the driving force behind our success and continues to positively impact those we are proud to serve.”

ECU Health and community leaders gather for a group photo during the 75th anniversary celebration at ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital.

Situated in Ahoskie, this 114-bed hospital has been a cornerstone of health care, offering comprehensive services to nearly 40,000 residents spanning Hertford, Bertie, Northampton, and Gates counties. ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital offers a number of specialty services, including behavioral health, cancer care, pain management, wound healing, sleep services, pediatric asthma management and an ECU Health Wellness Center location in Ahoskie. The pediatric asthma program at ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital helps children in Hertford and Northampton counties miss fewer days of school, participate more fully in physical activities and look forward to a brighter future.

“Over the past 75 years, ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan has been dedicated to providing exceptional health care services, and this milestone marks a testament to its unwavering commitment to the well-being of the community it serves,” said Jay Briley, president of ECU Health Community Hospitals. “These achievements reflect the hospital’s dedication to improving the overall health and well-being of the community. Today is a day to celebrate the contributions of our current team members and those that came before them to help build a legacy of quality, compassionate care.”

Since its founding in 1948, ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital has continuously evolved to meet the changing health care needs of the community. On Oct. 24, 1948, the original 40-bed hospital celebrated with a community open house, officially welcoming patients on Nov. 1, 1948. ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital holds the distinction of being the first hospital licensed by the Medical Care Commission, still bearing license number 1, marking it as the first hospital in the nation constructed using federal funds provided by the Hill-Burton Act. In 1952, the facility expanded with the addition of its first wing, accommodating 25 additional beds, followed by another 34-bed expansion. By 1975, an extra 50 beds, 10 intensive care units and a third floor were added. In response to the growing community’s needs, the original structure was replaced, culminating in the dedication of the present-day hospital in 1992.

“As we celebrate 75 years of service, our hospital’s commitment to clinical excellence remains unwavering,” said Dr. David Lingle, chief of staff, surgeon, ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan. “Our legacy is built on a foundation of dedicated health care professionals who continuously strive to reach the highest standards of care, ensuring that every patient receives the best possible treatment, and making each year better than the last. It is an honor to serve alongside such a great team of professionals.”

ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan has achieved numerous milestones throughout its journey, including recertification as a primary stroke center by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, Get with the Guidelines – Stroke Gold Plus with Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll and earning accreditation by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer as a Community Cancer Program.

ECU Health CEO Dr. Michael Waldrum speaks to ECU Health team members and community members at ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital's 75th anniversary celebration.
ECU Health CEO Dr. Michael Waldrum speaks to two community leaders at ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital during the 75th anniversary for the hospital.

Community | Featured | Health News | Press Releases

Greenville, N.C. – ECU Health is pleased to announce Jenny Markham as Chief Legal Officer for the ECU Health enterprise. Markham officially began her new role serving both ECU Health and the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University on Monday, Oct. 16, 2023.

Jenny Markham

“Jenny Markham’s appointment as our Chief Legal Officer is a transformative moment for ECU Health and Brody,” said Dr. Michael Waldrum, CEO of ECU Health and dean of the Brody School of Medicine. “Her experience navigating complex health care transformation will bring tremendous value as we continue to build ECU Health and work toward our mission of improving the health and well-being of the region. We look forward to her expertise, leadership and partnership in achieving our collective vision of becoming a national academic model for rural health care.”

As Chief Legal Officer, Markham is responsible for overseeing the ECU Health Office of General Counsel and all matters within the framework of the joint operating agreement between ECU Health and the Brody School of Medicine, including the health system and Brody. She will report directly to Dr. Waldrum in his dual role as CEO and dean.

Markham brings a wealth of health care legal experience to her new role, having previously served as system vice president and deputy general counsel at UNC Health. Markham earned her J.D. at University of Richmond School of Law, and has experience working as a health law associate for a large North Carolina law firm. Her deep understanding of the intricacies of health care transformation will undoubtedly add significant value to ECU Health as it continues to evolve and strives to enhance the health and well-being of the region.

“It is an honor to join ECU Health as the chief legal officer,” said Markham. “It is immediately clear to me during my brief time here that ECU Health is rooted in service to a mission that has profound impacts on a rural communities across the region. I look forward to contributing to the collaboration between rural health care and academic medicine as we work together to make a meaningful difference in the health and well-being of our community.”

Press Releases

Brian Floyd, Rep. Greg Murphy, Chairman Jason Smith and Rep. Claudia Tenney tour ECU Health Medical Center.

Greenville, N.C. – Members of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means visited Beaufort and Pitt counties Monday, Oct. 16, 2023, to engage with the community, tour ECU Health Beaufort Hospital and ECU Health Medical Center, hear from community care leaders and discuss the challenges facing rural health care in America. The committee visit consisted of Rep. Greg Murphy, Chairman Jason Smith, and Reps. Adrian Smith, Kevin Hern, and Claudia Tenney.

“Whether it’s in my home state of Missouri or eastern North Carolina, rural communities are facing a health care crisis,” Chairman Smith said. “Today we heard from health care providers and local leaders about the struggles their communities face ranging from patients traveling long distances to receive emergency care to health facilities finding and keeping a quality health care workforce with the scarce resources available. On our current path, access to health care for a huge portion of America will continue to erode, putting the health of millions more rural Americans at risk. The Ways and Means Committee will take what we learned today from patients and doctors on the frontlines of this crisis and use it to inform the best way to expand access to health care in rural communities.”

Brian Floyd, Rep. Greg Murphy, Chairman Jason Smith and Rep. Claudia Tenney tour ECU Health Medical Center.
From left: Chief Operating Officer of ECU Health and President of ECU Health Medical Center Brian Floyd, Rep. Greg Murphy, Chairman Jason Smith and Rep. Claudia Tenney tour ECU Health Medical Center.

Committee members and county leaders started the day by visiting Belhaven before touring ECU Health Beaufort Hospital, built in 1957 under the Hill-Burton Act that provided federal funding to support rural hospitals. There, committee members joined a roundtable conversation with ECU Health leaders and Beaufort County community leaders about the importance of finding collaborative solutions to the complex rural health care challenge.

The day concluded with committee members visiting ECU Health Medical Center in Greenville, a state-of-the-art academic facility that delivers high-level care to residents of eastern North Carolina. ECU Health Medical Center is the only Level I trauma center east of Raleigh, showcasing ECU Health’s unique system of care that serves as a national model for providing high-quality rural health care.

“Chairman Smith has been gracious enough to organize field hearings in the country this year on various issues,” said Rep. Murphy. “I am glad to have him and other members of the Ways and Means Committee spend time in eastern North Carolina to look at rural health care. We had the opportunity to witness firsthand the efforts of clinicians striving for quality in medicine while ensuring access to care for all.”

Throughout the tours, lawmakers walked through the emergency departments, intensive care units and labor and delivery units and engaged in conversations with clinicians regarding the challenges faced by rural health care, the aging infrastructure and the difficulties associated with sustaining essential services. Leaders discussed the importance of preserving services such as labor and delivery units within ECU Health, which are a lifeline for expectant mothers, providing essential access to safe and skilled maternity care, often in regions where other health care options are limited. Maintaining units like these ensures that rural families do not have to endure the significant burden of traveling long distances to access critical services.

“ECU Health has long advocated for solutions at the state and national level to combat the intensifying rural health care crisis facing America,” said Dr. Michael Waldrum, ECU Health CEO and dean of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. “We are pleased legislators not only recognize the need to explore solutions to maintain rural health care, but also recognize ECU Health as a leading voice on this important topic. The visit to Beaufort County and Greenville gave us an opportunity to show our mission in action, and we are deeply appreciative of the committee for spending time with us discussing rural health care.”

Dennis Campbell II, president of ECU Health Beaufort Hospital, speaks to legislators and staff during the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means.

Community | Health News | Press Releases

Budget to provide critical funding for rural health care

Statement from Dr. Waldrum

Dr. Michael Waldrum

Dr. Michael Waldrum

“ECU Health is grateful to legislators for their commitment to supporting rural health care with Medicaid expansion and other critical funding in the state budget. Thanks to their commitment, eastern North Carolina will receive support to improve access to care, medical education opportunities, funding for the medical examiner’s office and more. In short, this budget enables ECU Health and other rural health care providers to improve the lives of those we serve. This budget also sets the stage for innovation with NC Care which will positively transform health care delivery in rural communities across the state. I want to again express my appreciation to lawmakers in both chambers and Gov. Cooper for recognizing the extraordinary challenges facing rural health care and designing solutions that benefit the citizens of North Carolina, including making Medicaid expansion a reality. ECU Health will continue to strongly advocate for rural health care in North Carolina and remain at the forefront of creating a national academic model for rural health delivery.”

Press Releases

Greenville, N.C. – ECU Health and the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University’s Lora Joyner was recently selected as the National Bleeding Disorders Foundation (NBDF) Physical Therapist of the Year. Each year, NBDF honors those who have made significant contributions to the inheritable blood and bleeding disorders community at its annual Awards of Excellence program.

“It is an honor to be recognized for my life’s work as a physical therapist in the bleeding disorder community by fellow therapists, health care professionals, patients, families, and HTC colleagues,” said Lora Joyner, MS, PT, PCS, physical therapist and clinic manager at ECU Health Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC). “I am grateful that my name will be associated with Donna Boone and previous award winners and recognized as a role model and mentor for current and future health care professionals in the bleeding disorder community.”

Physical Therapist of the Year, given in honor of Donna Boone, PT, honors an individual who has demonstrated service to the inheritable blood and bleeding disorders community above and beyond their daily responsibilities in an HTC PT role. This person serves as a role model for others in the physical therapy field and has a minimum of two years’ experience working with individuals with blood or bleeding disorders at an HTC. Donna Boone was a pioneer in physical therapy and bleeding disorders and served as a mentor for many professionals.

“We are proud of Lora for all of the hard work, dedication, and leadership she has put into this clinic and into our patients,” said Dr. Beng Fuh, director of pediatric hematology and oncology, “Bleeding disorders, sickle cell disease and cancer are life-changing diagnoses for patients and their families. Lora is an invaluable asset and works hard to ensure patients can live their best lives as possible after diagnosis. Lora’s passion for her patients is reflected by this well-earned achievement.”

Joyner has worked at ECU Health HTC for 32 years as a physical therapist and as the clinic manager for seven years. As HTC manager, Joyner is responsible for selecting patients for clinical trials and research, supporting transition needs of the clinic, quality improvement and writing grants and reports. As a physical therapist, Joyner is responsible for treating any muscular skeletal complications, most commonly joint or muscle bleeds. If left untreated long enough, joint/muscle bleeds can cause chronic pain, long-term joint problems and limited mobility. Joyner also facilitates safe participation in sports and physical activity of patients, including medication management, which allows patients to live an active and fulfilling life. Additionally, Lora has held leadership roles in multiple regional and national organizations. She is the currently the national chair of the physical therapy committee of the NBDF.

“When you see the joy on the face of a little one when you say ‘yes you can play baseball’ after their diagnosis, after they’ve thought they wouldn’t be able to do normal activities, that’s one of my favorite parts of my day,” Joyner said. “All parents dream that their children are able to do normal things, and I’m able to help children do that.”

ECU Health HTC is a nationally recognized comprehensive lifespan clinic with both adult and pediatric specialty services that is one of only three in North Carolina and is part of a national network of over 140 Comprehensive Hemophilia Diagnostic and Treatment Centers, which provide comprehensive specialty care to people with rare inherited bleeding disorders and their families.

Awards | Community | Press Releases | Therapy & Rehabilitation