“I have learned a lot of real-world skills including proper cleaning and sanitizing methods as well as made a lot of new friends at my internships,” said Neil Williams, a Project SEARCH student. “My next steps are to work on getting my license, a job and a house.”

The Project SEARCH program at VMC began in 2015 through partnerships with Pitt County Schools, RHA Health Services and Vocational Rehabilitation. Students complete internships in various departments at VMC, including Central Services, East Carolina Heart Institute Cafeteria, the Main Cafeteria, Endoscopy Center, Grounds, Environmental Services and the Neuroscience Intermediate Unit.

“Project SEARCH gives us an opportunity to teach students trades and help them become employable,” said Tommy Cox, director of Community Employment Services at RHA Health Services, and a member of the VMC Project SEARCH Advisory Committee. “Project SEARCH at VMC brings diversity to the local workforce and makes a positive impact on the region economically. These students have completed three rigorous internships at Vidant during a pandemic and have grown tremendously. My greatest joy is to see them become employed.”

Students who participate in the program are enrolled at various Pitt County high schools including J.H. Rose, D.H. Conley, South Central, Farmville Central, North Pitt and Ayden-Grifton. Completing the program helps students transition into the workforce through employment and skill development and a customized job search in the second half of the program.

The employment rate for youth with disabilities is about 60 to 70 percent less than youth without disabilities, according to the Office of Disability Employment Policy. Many of the program’s graduates have gained competitive employment in the local community upon graduating from the program, and the program continues to help students become employed beyond graduation. The class of 2021 is the sixth class to graduate from the program.

The Project SEARCH program began in 1996 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and is now an international program with over 400 sites in existence now in at least 45 states and with programs in England, Scotland, Ireland and Canada.


Project SEARCH students (from left) Tolbert Wangila, Nick Smithson, Neil Williams, Eric Kenney and Kahlil Green graduated after completing three internships at Vidant Medical Center during the school year.

Project SEARCH Vidant students (from left) Tolbert Wangila, Nick Smithson, Kahlil Green and Neil Williams at their graduation ceremony on June 1, 2021.

Press Releases

An EastCare team member prepares for a shift

An EastCare team member prepares for a shiftGreenville, N.C. – June 2, 2021 – Vidant Health is proud to announce that EastCare – the premier medical transportation agency in the region – recently became one of the first medical flight programs in North Carolina to carry O Negative Whole Blood, which will help improve patient survivability in eastern North Carolina. Whole Blood contains all the components of blood that the body loses during trauma events and helps replenish all necessary blood components.

“Vidant Health serves a vast rural environment with long distances in between towns and sometimes between providers,” said Chuck Strickland, Outreach Coordinator. “Trauma patients often need immediate treatment, and that’s what the O Negative Whole Blood allows us to do. Helicopters carrying O Negative Whole Blood can increase the chance of survivability of trauma patients in eastern North Carolina while being transported from these rural areas to hospitals.”

O Negative is the rarest blood type and compatible with all other blood types, making it an important life-saving intervention for those suffering from serious traumatic events. EastCare collaborated with the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University to obtain the O Negative Whole Blood from the American Red Cross.

Recent studies show that patients who receive Whole Blood products early typically require less blood transfusions while in the hospital. This may also improve 24-hour patient survival by 23 percent and reduce the patient’s length of stay, according to a recent study.

“O Negative Whole Blood is vitally important to our collective mission because it is a universal donor,” said Dr. Darla Liles, ECU Professor of Medicine and Chairman of the Vidant Patient Blood Management Committee. “This blood can be administered quickly in the field when a patient has suffered a serious trauma and is bleeding too rapidly to make it back to the hospital. Our Vidant Patient Blood management committee is thrilled to work with EastCare to create this unique program, which has the potential to save lives here in eastern North Carolina.”

O Negative Whole Blood is carried on all 5 EastCare helicopters and can be utilized on ground ambulances as needed. In addition to the Whole Blood innovation, EastCare will continue to carry Fresh Plasma and Packed Red Blood Cells.

EastCare | Press Releases

Lab samples

Lab samplesGreenville, N.C. – June 1, 2021 – Vidant Health is proud to announce a new collaboration with Mayo Clinic Laboratories that gives Vidant access to Mayo Clinic’s extensive menu of primary reference laboratory tests and clinical expertise, adding to its state of the art laboratory capabilities. Through this collaboration, Vidant is furthering its mission by providing immediate, curated access to complex tests performed by Mayo Clinic to eastern North Carolinians.

Through its worldwide network of more than 4,000 clients, Mayo Clinic Laboratories enables hospitals, medical centers, and health care organizations around the world to send tests to the laboratories of Mayo Clinic, which are some of the most sophisticated in the world.

As a uniquely rural academic health care system, Vidant is constantly seeking new innovations to bring world class health care to eastern North Carolina. Vidant’s extensive laboratory services and locations will continue to perform the vast majority of tests. The collaboration with Mayo provides Vidant additional data and insights into certain tests and further strengthens the health system’s current advanced testing capabilities.

“This is an exciting time for both the present and future of health care in eastern North Carolina,” said Dave Harlow, vice president of operations – allied health, Vidant Health. “The COVID-19 pandemic taught us the importance of continuing to build our state-of-the-art lab infrastructure to ensure those we serve have access to the tests they need. This new collaboration with Mayo Clinic Laboratories will further enhance our already advanced testing services and will help inform the future of complex testing here at Vidant. This benefits all of eastern North Carolina.”

Vidant’s access to Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ test menu further strengthens Vidant’s ability to provide the highest quality laboratory testing for eastern North Carolina resulting in faster results for patients. Community members can continue to rely on Vidant’s enhanced testing capability for access to quality care close to home.

Specimens taken at any Vidant patient service center will be transported via air to Mayo Clinic Laboratories, with test results often available the following day through an interface. Additionally, Mayo Clinic physicians and scientists in every specialty laboratory will collaborate with the Vidant team regarding test selection, utilization and methodologies, and result interpretation.

Press Releases

“May 12 is National School Nurse Day, so there is no better time to celebrate the incredible work that our school nurses do in Pitt County Schools,” said Catherine Nelson, senior administrator of community health at VMC, and a founding member of the School Health Program. “They have helped us safely mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while getting our students back in school for in-person learning, and continued to excel in their daily case management among students.”

Vidant launched the program in partnership with the ECU College of Nursing, Pitt County Public Health and Pitt County Schools in 1996. The program has grown from six registered nurses at 19 elementary schools to 21 nurses at 39 schools. The School Health Program was recognized by VMC in March 2021 for having the most certified nurses in an ambulatory care setting. School nurses complete daily tasks from overseeing the administration of medications to performing life-saving measures.

“At Pitt County Schools we value our partnership with Vidant and consider ourselves fortunate to have the terrific team of nurses to serve our students throughout these past 25 years,” said Karen Harrington, Director of Student Services. “The demands on school nurses continue to increase annually but never before have we been challenged to this level. This year, our nurses never stopped working – even when the rest of the system was in quarantine – and their efforts and time this year have not gone unnoticed. Not only have our nurses supported student health but they are a valuable resource to our staff. Please take time to thank a school nurse this week. And thank you to Vidant for your continued partnership.”

Press Releases

The safety of wellness members and guests, as well as Vidant team members, is Vidant’s priority. As a health care organization dedicated to serving and caring for the community, we will continue to place safety at the forefront of all decisions.

Based on widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines in the communities where the centers are located, Vidant has made the decision to resume the Centers’ exercise and aquatics serves with strict safety guidelines in place.

Following safety and sanitation protocols, including screening, masking, distancing, disinfecting and hand washing, all those who enter the facilities will also be expected to follow the below guidelines:

  • Complete COVID-19 screening upon entrance.
  • Wear an approved mask at all times, covering nose and mouth, except when swimming or showering.
  • Check in and out of each visit to track capacity and enable members to choose less busy times.
  • Maintain a minimum of six feet social distancing throughout the center and classes.
  • Observe and comply with the capacity limits posted throughout the facility.
  • Wipe down equipment before and after use.
  • Sanitize and wash hands often.
  • Bring your own towel.

Vidant’s ability to keep Wellness Centers operational during the pandemic depends on all members following the above guidelines. Like all businesses and facilities, Vidant will pause operations in the event of suspected COVID-19 spread at a Wellness Center location. Visit VidantWellnessCenter.com to stay up to date on the latest information.

The Vidant Wellness Center in Greenville will reopen later this year as a destination facility for Vidant’s wellness and outpatient rehabilitation services, once renovations are complete.

New member enrollment for the Vidant Wellness Center in Ahoskie or Washington will be available starting June 1 at VidantWellnessCenter.com.

While Wellness Center members are not required to be vaccinated for COVID-19, Vidant Health strongly encourages all community members to get vaccinated to protect yourself and those around you. Schedule your vaccine appointment today at VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate.

The exercise opportunities and social support the Wellness Centers provide is vital to physical and emotional health. Together, we remain committed to meeting the health care needs of eastern North Carolina and improving the health and well-being of the region.

Press Releases

Vidant team members pose with Stop the Bleed kits.

“The school nurses have been instrumental in getting their school staff trained and prepared for the use of Stop the Bleed kits,” Erika Greene, pediatric trauma program manager for Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center, said. “We have expanded our outreach to Wayne County Schools while working towards our goal of providing education and placement of Stop the Bleed kits at each public school within the 29-county Vidant Health region.”

One of the most common contributing factors in trauma-related events is preventable blood loss. Approximately 40 percent of trauma-related deaths worldwide can be attributed to bleeding or its consequence. The items in these kits help control the loss of blood, leading to positive outcomes for those who sustain injuries.

The Stop the Bleed Kits are funded by Children’s Miracle Network along with training in the use of a combat tourniquet provided by Maynard Children’s Hospital. They were distributed to Wayne County Schools with education to ensure schools are prepared in the event of a trauma incident.

The Pediatric Trauma Department of Maynard Children’s Hospital distributed 66 kits to cover the 33 public schools in Wayne County with the assistance of the VMC Trauma Outreach Coordinator.

“Vidant Health provided an awesome comprehensive Stop the Bleed training for the school nurses of Wayne County Public Schools,” said Kim Kennedy, manager of School Health Services for Wayne County Schools. “Thanks to Stop the Bleed and The Children’s Miracle Network, all WCPS campuses will be equipped with tourniquet kits that can be utilized in the event someone suffers severe bleeding. We thank Vidant Health and The Children’s Miracle Network for sponsoring this vitally important project.”

Community | Press Releases

Vidant encourages all community members age 15 and older to complete the CHNA survey and provide meaningful feedback on how Vidant can continue to improve health and well-being in eastern North Carolina. The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and all responses are confidential. Your feedback helps ensure health care needs are met in the 29 counties Vidant serves. The survey is open through June 18.

The full CHNA process involves collection and analysis of a large range of data, including demographic, socioeconomic and health statistics, and most importantly, feedback from community members. The completed CHNA analysis and results serve as the basis for prioritizing methods to meet the community’s health needs in order to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina.

The survey is in both English and Spanish and can be found at VidantHealth.com/CHNA.

Community | Press Releases

The outside of the Vidant Wellness Center in Greenville

Vaccinations will be offered at the Vidant/Pitt County Large-Scale Vaccine Clinic at the Greenville Convention Center and second dose appointments will be scheduled on-site at the time of the appointment.

There are currently a large number of appointments available, which can also be scheduled by any eligible community member. Appointments are required and available as supplies last, and can be scheduled at VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate.

College students should bring their student ID at the time of their appointment.

Although the vaccine offers great hope, Vidant encourages everyone to do their part to keep communities in the region safe from COVID-19: wear a mask, social distance and wash hands. Those who receive the vaccine should still practice these important safety measures.

Covid-19 | Press Releases

The outside of the Vidant Wellness Center in Greenville

After closing in June 2020, we spent several months diligently assessing how to best utilize the building, while also exploring how to improve access to patient services. Balancing both the community’s passion for the Greenville-based Wellness Center, as well as the need to expand patient services, the organization carefully redesigned the Wellness Center’s space and service model that is mission-focused and sustainable.

The Wellness Center in Greenville will re-open later this year as a destination facility for Vidant’s wellness and outpatient rehabilitation services. Additional details about timing, employment opportunities and memberships at the Wellness Center in Greenville will be shared in the coming months.

Fitness Center

Fitness Center offerings will include membership access to exercise equipment, pool and aquatic programs, group exercise classes, personal training and a KidZone. Services like the Café, CrossFit, children’s gym and camps will not be offered in the revised model.

Outpatient Rehabilitation Services

Vidant’s three Greenville-based outpatient rehabilitation clinics will all relocate to new space at the Wellness Center. This centralized location will improve convenience and accessibility for patients as well as team member collaboration. Vidant Outpatient Rehabilitation includes adult, children and aquatic programs; comprehensive speech, physical and occupational therapy; and many specialty services.

Lifestyle Medicine Clinic

The Lifestyle Medicine Clinic currently housed at the Greenville-based Wellness Center will continue to offer patient visits with medical providers for nutrition, weight loss, diabetes, tobacco cessation, exercise as medicine and other lifestyle treatments. The clinic will also provide wellness programs to Vidant team members.

Ahoskie and Washington Wellness Centers

Vidant plans to resume operation of the Wellness Centers in Ahoskie and Washington, which have been closed due to COVID-19. Outpatient rehab and cardiopulmonary rehab services remain open in the Washington Wellness Center. Children’s after school and upcoming summer camps also remain open in the Ahoskie Wellness Center. The timing for opening these facilities, along with the Greenville-based Wellness Center, is dependent on the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

Vidant remains committed to meeting the health care needs of eastern North Carolina and improving the health and well-being of the region.

Press Releases | Wellness

A teacher gives a thumbs up after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Greenville, N.C. – March 1, 2021 – Vidant Health has opened COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling for eligible Group 3 community members – child care and PreK-12 school workers – from across eastern North Carolina. Appointments are required, as Vidant will not be able to accept walk-up or drive-up vaccinations. Importantly, Vidant is still vaccinating community members 65 and older, and encourages those eligible to receive their vaccine.

Eligible community members can view appointment availability by conveniently visiting VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate or by calling 252-847-8000 — available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. The online appointment scheduler is the fastest and most convenient way to view and schedule an appointment. If internet access is not available or special assistance is required, community members may call 252-847-8000.

Vidant serves a region of 1.4 million people and appointments are expected to fill up quickly. The public is encouraged to be patient as it is expected to take months to vaccinate eligible community members.

Although the vaccine offers great hope, Vidant encourages everyone to do their part to keep communities in the region safe from COVID-19: wear a mask, social distance and wash hands. Those who receive the vaccine should still practice these important safety measures. Importantly, COVID-19 patients are relying on Vidant for care and our team members are not immune from community spread. Please do your part to protect yourself and those around you.

Community members can visit VidantHealth.com/Vaccinate to view appointment availability, stay up to date on Vidant’s vaccine efforts and sign up for email updates.

Covid-19 | Press Releases