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Pieces of Eight


Health Symposium Expands

By Crystal Baity

Now in its third year, the Jean Mills Health Symposium will expand from one to two days Feb. 9-10 thanks to a $10,000 grant by the Pitt Memorial Hospital Foundation.

The symposium will address health issues affecting African-Americans and Hispanics. The event will be held at the Greenville Hilton this year after being held the past two years at the Edwin W. Monroe AHEC Conference Center.

“Health disparities are inherently linked to issues of social, environmental and occupational justice,” said Beth Velde, assistant dean and associate professor in the ECU School of Allied Health Sciences. “Without inter-professional approaches to research and service and the collaboration with communities, health disparities cannot be addressed successfully.”

The two-day symposium will bring together researchers and community members who can work together to address disparities. “Sessions this year feature ECU researchers and community agencies who are taking an active role in enhancing community health and quality of life,” Velde said.

The first day, entitled “Making Research Real in Reducing Health Disparities and Transforming Health Services” will feature presentations and posters on topics such as obesity, diabetes, stroke and disability.

The keynote speaker will be James Johnson, William Rand Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Participants will include Deidra Mageean, vice chancellor of research and graduate studies at ECU; Eric Bailey, ECU medical anthropologist; Chris Mansfield, director of ECU’s Center for Health Services Research and Development; Kathy Kolasa, professor of family medicine in the Brody School of Medicine; Max Zarate, assistant professor in ECU’s Department of Health Education; Lucy Wong Hernandez, a visiting lecturer in ECU’s College of Human Ecology; Monica Carion-Jones, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at ECU; Velde and Gary Grant, executive director of Concerned Citizens of Tillery.

New this year will be the second day’s community outreach, titled “Practicing What You Preach: Developing Healthy Habits.” The public is invited from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for free demonstrations, screenings and education. Blood pressure, blood sugar, weight and fat analyses will be offered. Local community organizations and the School of Allied Health Sciences will provide screenings and educational programs.

The event is presented by the ECU School of Allied Health Sciences in collaboration with the Medical Foundation of ECU, Pitt Memorial Hospital Foundation and the Eastern Area Health Education Center.

Mills earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1977 and a master’s in public administration with a concentration in community health from ECU in 1984. She died from breast cancer in 2000.

The symposium was created by Amos T. Mills III, Jean’s brother, in an effort to keep her spirit of discovery and community outreach alive. The purpose is to bring attention and seek solutions to critical health care issues facing minority populations.

For more information, visit or register for the symposium by calling Eastern AHEC at 744-5231.

This page originally appeared in the Jan. 26, 2006 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at