Brianna Horne, far left, completed the MATCH Wellness program as a seventh-grader. Today some of the same lessons, such as growing and eating fresh vegetables, help keep kids healthy at her mother's Martin County child care center. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)


East Carolina selected as finalist for national community engagement award

June 16, 2016

By University Communication

East Carolina University is among four universities in the nation who will compete this fall for a national award recognizing community engagement and scholarship in higher education.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) announced Wednesday that East Carolina is the southeast regional recipient of the 2016 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award, given in recognition of extraordinary community outreach initiatives.

As a regional winner, East Carolina will compete for the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, to be announced during the APLU Annual Meeting November 13-15 in Austin, Texas. The other regional winners are Pennsylvania State University, Portland State University and Purdue University.

Tim Hardison and Suzanne Lazorick of ECU’s Brody School of Medicine and the award-winning MATCH Wellness program

It will be the second time ECU has competed for the national honor. East Carolina won the Magrath Award in 2012 for its work with the Intergenerational Community Center in West Greenville.

This year’s regional award recognizes the Brody School of Medicine’s MATCH Wellness program, an interdisciplinary, community-university partnership created to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity.

“The MATCH partnership exemplifies engaged scholarship and the Servire spirit,” said Dr. Sharon Paynter, interim director of public service and community relations at East Carolina. “The collaboration shows how faculty and community can work together to build research and scholarship, generate grant funding and create a program that makes a difference in every day lives.”

Since 2007, the MATCH-Wellness partnership has grown from one middle school teacher and one ECU faculty member to include faculty and students from the ECU Pediatric Healthy Weight Research and Treatment Center and public school staff from 15 communities at 35 public schools across three states.

Nearly 13,000 students have participated in the MATCH curriculum, preventing an estimated 1,300 cases of adult obesity. In North Carolina, a 3 percent shift in adults from overweight to healthy weight would yield $3 billion annual savings.

Physical education teacher Allen Harrell works with Krysta Styons in the MATCH Wellness program at Chowan Middle School in Tyner.

“Being named a finalist…provides formal recognition for many years of hard work to benefit young adolescents, and shows the power of teamwork and dedicated partnership,” said Dr. Suzanne Lazorick, ECU pediatrician and obesity researcher.

“The university and the community bring different types of expertise that are critical to the success of projects like MATCH Wellness that are implemented in non-campus settings. Our goal is to reach as many regions and children as possible, and we hope being named a finalist will help to promote the value and potential benefit of MATCH.”

“The Magrath Awards reward the significant impact our universities make in their communities, states and across the nation as well as the world,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “This year’s regional award winners contribute unmatched cultural, civic and economic vibrancy to their communities. We applaud each of these model programs that feature students, faculty and administrators working in their community to improve the quality of life for all."

Since 2006, APLU and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have partnered to honor the engagement, scholarship and partnerships of four-year public universities. The award recognizes programs that demonstrate how colleges and universities have redesigned their learning, discovery, and engagement missions to become even more involved with their communities.

The national award is named for C. Peter Magrath, APLU president from 1992 to 2005. The C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award includes a sculpture and $20,000 prize. The three regional winners not chosen for the Magrath Award will each receive a cash prize of $5,000.

Students at E.B. Aycock Middle School in Greenville assess the nutritional value of different foods, including measuring the sugar content in soft drinks.