Greenville, N.C. – ECU Health is pleased to announce Eric J. DeMaria, MD, as chair of the Department of Surgery for the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and chief of surgery for ECU Health. Dr. DeMaria has served as the Interim Chair of the ECU Department of Surgery since January 2023 and will officially begin his new role serving both ECU Health and the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University on Monday, April 1.

“Dr. DeMaria’s appointment as chair of the Department of Surgery for the Brody School of Medicine at ECU and chief of Surgery for ECU Health improves avenues for collaboration and building a high-quality clinical and academic culture to meet the needs of eastern North Carolina,” said Dr. Michael Waldrum, CEO of ECU Health and dean of the Brody School of Medicine. “With proven experience in surgical excellence and leadership, Dr. DeMaria’s leadership and expertise will be instrumental in achieving our collective goal of becoming a national academic model for rural health care.”

Dr. DeMaria joined East Carolina University in 2018 as professor and chair of the Division of General and Bariatric Surgery. He has held many academic and clinical roles within the enterprise including senior medical director and vice chair of clinical operations for the Department of Surgery, and most recently as interim chair of the ECU Department of Surgery since January 2023.

In this new role, Dr. DeMaria will be responsible for helping create strategy for delivering surgical services across the system, ensuring the delivery of safe, efficient and high-quality surgical services and the recruitment of surgeons to meet this need. As department chair, he will be responsible for graduate medical programs, the academic pursuits in surgery and the oversight of the ECU Health Physicians Surgeons.

“I am excited to serve eastern North Carolina as chair of the Department of Surgery for the Brody School of Medicine at ECU and chief of surgery for ECU Health,” said Dr. DeMaria. “During my time here, I have had the opportunity to connect rural health care and academic medicine, and I look forward to continue bringing high-quality care to eastern North Carolina as an elite academic medical institution. I look forward to continuing to work closely with the high-quality surgeons, care teams, professors and students who personify the important work we do to meet the surgical needs of the region.”

Dr. DeMaria received his medical degree at Boston University School of Medicine and completed general surgery training at Brown University. He served on the faculty of the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia becoming the founding director of the VCU Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) Center and established one of the first MIS fellowship training programs. Dr. DeMaria’s other appointments include Professor and Vice Chair in the Department of Surgery at Duke University, bariatric surgery practice at WakeMed, Director of Bariatric Surgery at Maryview Medical Center and staff bariatric surgeon Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital.

Dr. DeMaria is internationally recognized for his contributions to bariatric surgery, advanced laparoscopy and minimally invasive surgery. He is an author, speaker and lecturer, who holds numerous leadership positions within societies, boards and committees across the globe.

Press Releases | Surgery

Pictured Tess Judge, Outer Banks Health board chair, Lynne Miles, FACHE, administrator of regional operations, Walter Holton, MD [retired], Barbara Holton, and Ronnie Sloan, FACHE, president.

Manteo, NC – March 21, 2024 – Outer Banks Health celebrated a significant milestone on March 19 as it broke ground for the expansion of its Family Medicine practice in Manteo. The groundbreaking ceremony was a momentous occasion coinciding with the 22nd anniversary of the opening of The Outer Banks Health Hospital on March 19, 2002.

The expansion project aims to double the size of the existing building, creating a 7,500-square-foot facility dedicated to providing primary care services to the community. With more than 16,000 primary care patients currently served by Outer Banks Health, the Manteo practice stands as the second largest in Dare County, with 3,600 patients, second only to the organization’s primary care practice in Kitty Hawk.

Ronnie Sloan, FACHE, president of Outer Banks Health, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to enhance health care services in Dare County, stating, “We have been fortunate enough over the last year and a half or so to recruit six additional providers to Dare County for primary care.”

Pictured Tess Judge, Outer Banks Health board chair, Lynne Miles, FACHE, administrator of regional operations, Walter Holton, MD [retired], Barbara Holton, and Ronnie Sloan, FACHE, president.
Pictured left to right are Tess Judge, Outer Banks Health board chair, Lynne Miles, FACHE, administrator of regional operations, Walter Holton, MD [retired], Barbara Holton, and Ronnie Sloan, FACHE, president.

Sloan also highlighted the visionary leadership of Walter Holton, MD, one of the first full-time physicians in Dare County.

“You know, at the end of the day, we couldn’t do any of this without this man here, this physician, Dr. Holton, who came here in 1974 and worked here for 40-plus years and then turned over the reins,” Sloan said. “He had this vision himself. I’ve seen it on paper, to expand this clinic one day.”

The new building’s entrance will face the highway, and is being built to enhance accessibility for individuals with physical disabilities, a crucial aspect of Outer Banks Health’s dedication to ensuring access to care for all members of the community.

Outer Banks Health remains steadfast in its commitment to the community. The expansion of the Family Medicine practice in Manteo along with the recent opening of the state-of-the-art Cowell Cancer Center, reflects Outer Banks Health’s ongoing commitment to advancing health care delivery and meeting the evolving needs of the residents and visitors of Dare County and the surrounding region.

For more information about Outer Banks Health and its services, please visit To find a primary care provider, call the Primary Care Access line at 252-449-4540.

Family Medicine & Primary Care | Press Releases

The Carol S. and Edward D. Cowell, Jr. Cancer Center is shown from across the street in Nags Head.

NAGS HEAD, N.C. — Jan. 30, 2024 — Outer Banks Health is proud to announce the opening of the Carol S. and Edward D. Cowell, Jr. Cancer Center, a 15,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility made possible through the collaboration of Outer Banks Health, ECU Health, Chesapeake Regional Healthcare and the generous support of the Outer Banks community. The center opened its doors to patients on January 29, 2024.

This momentous occasion marks the culmination of years of dedication, perseverance, and community support. Outer Banks Health initiated the endeavor in 2015 with a vision to create a cutting-edge facility that would serve as a beacon of hope and healing for cancer patients on the Outer Banks and the surrounding region.

“The completion of the Cowell Cancer Center was made possible through the unwavering determination of the Outer Banks Health Development Council,” said Ronnie Sloan, FACHE, president of Outer Banks Health. “The council is comprised of dedicated individuals who share a passion for enhancing healthcare in the region and it played a pivotal role in bringing this ambitious project to fruition.”

The Carol S. and Edward D. Cowell, Jr. Cancer Center is shown from across the street in Nags Head.

Led by radiation oncologist, Charles Shelton, the new center boasts a dedicated team, including a director, radiation therapists, a radiation nurse, a genetics extender, a physicist, a dosimetrist, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, LPNs and RNs, lab technicians, navigators, a social worker, a practice manager, and patient access representatives. While the search for a permanent medical oncologist continues, Dr. Michael Spiritos, formerly of Duke Health, has agreed to serve in that capacity on an interim basis along with Dr. John Barton. Katie Caton, FNP is also on staff as a permanent provider.

Of the 1300 critical access hospitals nationwide, Outer Banks Health Hospital is one of only eight accredited by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons and is also distinguished as the only one in the country with an accredited breast program. This notable achievement reflects the commitment of Outer Banks Health to maintaining the highest standards of cancer care.

Outer Banks Health remains focused on expanding its list of services and programs to meet the evolving healthcare needs of the community. The organization’s goals include delivering excellent care locally and collaborating with health organizations throughout North Carolina and Virginia to ensure residents and visitors can access the best possible care.

For more information about the Cowell Cancer Center or to inquire about services, visit or call (252) 449-7272.

Cancer | Community | Featured | Press Releases

Greenville, N.C. – As part of its continued evolution to become the national model for rural academic health care, ECU Health today announced new leadership roles and responsibilities intended to further enhance the organization’s transformation as a rural health care leader.

Effective Feb. 5:

  • Brian Floyd, RN, MBA, will dedicate his efforts to his role as ECU Health’s chief operating officer (COO), providing strategic oversight of the health system enterprise and its day-to-day operations. He will have heightened focus on creating seamless interoperability within the health system and ensuring we are operating, performing and providing care as one team.
  • Jay Briley, MHA, FACHE, current president of ECU Health Community Hospitals, will transition to president at ECU Health Medical Center, reporting directly to Floyd as COO.
  • Van Smith, MBA, MSHA, current executive vice president of ECU Health Medical Center, will transition to president of ECU Health Community Hospitals, reporting directly to Floyd as COO.

Additionally, Tara Stroud, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC, NEA-BC, current senior administrator of Children’s Services at Maynard Children’s Hospital, will become vice president for Maynard Children’s Hospital, Women’s Service Lines and Community Health Programs upon Kim Crickmore’s retirement departure date of Feb. 26.

“These leaders’ unique expertise in driving operational and clinical excellence, financial stewardship and leading complex health care environments are at the forefront of these proposed – and ultimately enthusiastically embraced – leadership appointments,” said Dr. Michael Waldrum, CEO of ECU Health and dean of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. “I look forward to working closely with these leaders and remain focused on steering the enterprise toward our vision, including strengthening our academic mission, advancing our synergies as well continuing to build partnerships across the state.”

Brian Floyd

Jay Briley

Van Smith

Tara Stroud

Community | Press Releases

A team gathers to discuss patient care at the ECU Health heart center.

Roanoke Rapids, NC — Tiffany J. Mose, MHA, FACMPE, CPC, administrator, regional operations, ECU Health Medical Group, has been named a Fellow in the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE). ACMPE is the certification entity of the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). Fellowship in ACMPE’s industry-leading program demonstrates mastery and expertise in the profession of medical practice management.

Tiffany J. Mose, MHA, FACMPE, CPC

To achieve Fellowship, Mose first earned the Certified Medical Practice Executive (CMPE) designation by passing examinations that assess knowledge of the broad scope of medical practice management, as outlined in the Body of Knowledge for Medical Practice Management. This includes business operations, financial management, human resources management, information management, organizational governance, transformative health care delivery, quality management and risk management. In addition, Mose completed a minimum of 50 continuing education credit hours to achieve CMPE status. To earn Fellowship, Mose demonstrated leadership, innovation, and professional engagement in the health care industry and the advancement of the medical group management profession.

Today, MGMA membership is comprised of more than 6,600 individuals who have attained CMPE or ACMPE Fellow status or who seek certification.

Mose has worked at ECU Health North for more than 15 years and worked in the field of health care for more than 25 years. Mose is directly responsible for oversight and management of the operations, development, expansion and financial viability of the ECU Health Medical Group ambulatory practices and hospital-based provider groups in the Roanoke Rapids market. She also serves on multiple interdisciplinary teams in the organization to include the Coastal Plains ACO’s Board of Directors, Finance and Quality committees.

Community | Press Releases

Greenville, N.C. – ECU Health, the premier academic health system serving eastern North Carolina, experienced a transformational year highlighted by Medicaid expansion in North Carolina, breaking ground on a new behavioral health hospital slated to open in 2025, receiving various accreditations that affirm high-quality care and recognition of multiple team members on the state and national levels, all of which represent the shared commitment of the 14,000-plus team members who live the mission to improve the health and well-being of the region.

“As we reflect on the historic year that was and celebrate our achievements, I am deeply appreciative of the dedicated team members at ECU Health who play an instrumental role in solidifying our identity as a leading rural academic health system committed to serving the vibrant communities of eastern North Carolina,” said Dr. Michael Waldrum, ECU Health CEO and dean of the Brody School of Medicine. “Looking ahead, I know 2024 will be another important year for our health system and medical school as we work to transform rural health care. I am proud of our collective efforts in 2023 which position us to become the national academic model for rural health care delivery. I am confident that our ongoing efforts will continue making a meaningful difference in the lives of those we serve.”

The following highlights are only a few of the many achievements across ECU Health in 2023. For a more comprehensive review of the year, please visit:

Improving access to care through key behavioral health partnerships and Medicaid expansion

Improving access to behavioral health care has long been a priority for ECU Health. The organization made important strides in that work over the past year by hosting a mental health town hall with North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Sec. Kody Kinsley in February and breaking ground on a new behavioral health hospital with Acadia Healthcare that will open in 2025.

After more than six years of advocacy, Medicaid expansion is now a reality and could benefit more than 600,000 people in the state, including more than 100,000 people here in eastern North Carolina. ECU Health is passionate about Medicaid expansion because it witnesses first-hand the challenges uninsured and underinsured patients face. With expanded coverage, more patients can receive the care they need to keep them well.

Highlighting collective accomplishments

ECU Health accomplished much in 2023, including:

  • Receiving significant funding for ECU and ECU Health in the state budget to help us realize the mission through:
    • Brody class size expansion
    • the NC Care initiative
    • establishment of a new regional medical examiner’s office
  • Rebranding the ECU Health Foundation
  • Hosting U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means members for a roundtable discussion focused on supporting rural health care
  • Celebrating 75 years of service at Roanoke-Chowan and 10 years of services at Maynard Children’s Hospital addition
  • Honoring 13 nurses named to the North Carolina Great 100 Nurses list
  • Graduating 77 medical students from the Brody School of Medicine

Press Releases

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