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Eastern Area Health Education Center, a non-profit affiliated with ECU that provides continuing education and other resources for health care providers, is located at 2600 W. Arlington Blvd.  (Photo by Susan Holt Architectural Photography)

IMPROVING HEALTH

Eastern Area Health Education Center cuts ribbon on new facility

Jan. 27, 2017

By Jackie Drake
Eastern AHEC

A new facility in Greenville will increase collaborative education for health care providers across eastern North Carolina, including those who begin their careers East Carolina University.

Eastern Area Health Education Center, a non-profit affiliated with ECU, cut the ribbon on its new home located at 2600 W. Arlington Blvd. on Thursday, Jan. 19. The 36,400 square foot building provides expanded and technologically updated space for Eastern AHEC's continuing education and professional development programs.

The Education Center on the first floor contains two meeting rooms and four classrooms that can easily be configured for both lectures and interactive activities as well as webcasting. This setup allows providers to collaborate across disciplines and across all 23 counties in the Eastern AHEC service area.

"We designed this to be a place for collaboration," Eastern AHEC Executive Director Dr. Lorrie Basnight said. "We'll work with each other to solve tough problems and improve health in our area." 

Eastern AHEC Executive Director Dr. Lorrie Basnight, center, surrounded by officials from ECU, the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce, and NC AHEC. (Photo by Michele Weaver)


The ECU Office of Clinical Skills and Assessment leases the second floor for their clinical skills lab, which allows health professions students to practice interacting with actor patients. Eastern AHEC offices are on the third floor.

"We are very excited to be resident neighbors, and we foresee a lot of collaboration in the future," said Dr. Maria Clay, director of the ECU Office of Clinical Skills and Assessment.

The $11 million building, designed by East Group and built by C.A. Lewis, was financed primarily with funds saved over more than 20 years, as well as a tax exempt bond placed with Southern Bank. Audio-visual technology is by Kontek.

Founded in 1974, Eastern AHEC is one of nine centers in the North Carolina AHEC program. The mission of this program is to meet the state's health and health workforce needs by providing educational programs and services bridging academic institutions and communities to improve the health of the people of North Carolina with a focus on underserved populations.

Eastern AHEC previously was located in Vidant Health property at 2000 Venture Tower Dr. The organization occupied the new building Aug. 29, 2016. The ribbon cutting originally was set for October but was rescheduled due to Hurricane Matthew.

"We are so excited to finally be here doing this ribbon cutting," said Dr. Sylvia Brown, chair of the Eastern AHEC Board of Directors and dean of the ECU College of Nursing. "The health sciences division is so indebted to everything Eastern AHEC does for our students, faculty, and alumni."

"I'm so proud of the tremendously innovative work you'll see inside this building for learners and professionals of all disciplines," said Dr. Nicholas Benson, interim dean of the Brody School of Medicine.

"Having both AHEC and clinical skills in the same building will provide an opportunity for new types of clinical learning," Basnight stated.

The ribbon cutting ceremony was led by Leo Corbin, president of the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce, with music provided by the ECU School of Music.

The Education Center is available for community use. For more information or to make reservations, call 252-744-5221. Upcoming continuing education programs are listed at www.easternahec.net.

 AHEC Support Services

In addition to continuing education and professional development, Eastern AHEC provides other resources including quality support services for local practices, housing for health professions students on rotation, and pipeline programs in area schools, such as Youth Health Service Corps.

In fiscal year 2015-2016, Eastern AHEC:

• offered 284 continuing education programs for 8,000 healthcare providers.

• worked with more than 200 high school students in rural eastern North Carolina to expose them to health careers.

• provided almost 9,000 nights of housing for health professions students doing clinical rotations in the region.

• helped 241 local practices improve their patient care through practice support services.

The Education Center at Eastern AHEC has classrooms and meeting rooms equipped with the latest audio-visual technology from Kontek. The Education Center is available for community use.  (Photo by Les Todd LKT Photography)

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