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Pieces of Eight

At right, Dr. Ion Ababii, Moldova’s minister of health, looks through periodicals that will be shipped to his country with assistance from Laupus Library’s Patty Greenstein. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Visit Highlights Partnership with Moldova

By Crystal Baity

Another shipment of medical literature will be heading to Moldova in the coming months from East Carolina University’s Laupus Library through a unique partnership between the eastern European nation and North Carolina.

Moldova’s minister of health, Dr. Ion Ababii, visited ECU on Jan. 16 as part of a multi-city visit to the state. In Greenville, he met many people involved in coordinating the medical library project.

Laupus and other libraries across the state have been providing current medical literature and electronic journals to Moldova, said Donna Flake, a Greenville native and director of the Coastal Area Health Education Center Library in Wilmington, one of the participating libraries. Others include the medical libraries at ECU, Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University and North Carolina Area Health Education Center libraries in Asheville, Boone, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Hickory, Raleigh, Rocky Mount, Salisbury and Wilmington.

The libraries periodically cull their collection of duplicate or redundant clinical books and journals. The materials are temporarily housed at ECU and shipped bi-annually in large batches to Moldova. Last year, more than 7,000 books were sent, Flake said. Moldova, one of the poorest nations in Europe, sits northeast of Romania and once was part of the Soviet Union.

“This partnership inspires much optimism in Moldova and for which I’d like to express my deep gratitude,” Ababii said through an interpreter. The journals, books and electronic database are used by doctors and residents in teaching, research and caring for patients. “I assure you, great words are being mentioned about you on a daily basis.”

At ECU, Ababii observed a telemedicine and electronic medical record demonstration in the Laupus Library teleconference room, toured Brody School of Medicine’s medical simulation and patient safety laboratory and received an overview of the standardized patient program.

“It is a pleasure to host this visit and share the exciting things going on in the division,” said Dr. Phyllis Horns, interim dean of the Brody School of Medicine and interim vice chancellor of the health sciences division. “I look forward to having more conversations on how we can collaborate.”

Associate Director for Library Operations Susan Simpson gave Ababii a Laupus bronze medallion and an autographed pictorial history of the university, “No Time for Ivy: East Carolina University, 1907-2007” by Henry Ferrell.

As part of the weeklong visit, the minister attended a health care summit at the School of Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill and meetings at North Carolina State University and UNC-Greensboro. The summit included discussion on overall health care needs in Moldova and how North Carolina’s universities, faculty, staff and students can participate.

North Carolina and Moldova forged a partnership several years ago through an American “Partnerships for Peace” initiative with former Soviet states. Since then, government, churches, civic organizations, nonprofit agencies, colleges and universities, doctors, nurses, engineers, private firms and others have provided assistance in Moldova.

This page originally appeared in the Feb. 29, 2008 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at