The Pirate nurses pictured above learn techniques through training at East Carolina University's nurse anesthesia lab. The university's graduate nursing program is among several health sciences programs ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. (ECU News Services file photo)

U.S. News ranking recognizes ECU health sciences graduate programs

March 10, 2015

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

East Carolina University programs in medicine, nursing and rehabilitation counseling have been ranked among the best graduate schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

The Brody School of Medicine is ranked 25th overall among primary care schools for 2016. Nearly 60 percent of Brody graduates remain in primary care five years after graduation – the highest percentage of any medical school in the state. Primary care is defined as family medicine, pediatrics and internal medicine.

“It is again satisfying to see that we are ranked with other high-performing medical schools from across the nation,” said Dr. Paul R.G. Cunningham, dean of the Brody School of Medicine. “Clearly we maintain a great reputation in the state for preparing and placing primary care physicians to provide service in our communities.”

Nearly one in five of Brody’s 2,198 graduates practice in eastern North Carolina.

In addition, the rehabilitation counseling program in the College of Allied Health Sciences’ Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies is ranked 18th among such programs by U.S. News.

“We’re committed to providing the highest quality programs to prepare professional counselors for a complex and rapidly changing behavioral health care environment,” said Dr. Paul Toriello, chairman and director of graduate programs for the Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies. “Having our master’s program in rehabilitation counseling be recognized by the US News & World Report is a testament to our continuous pursuit of excellence.”

ECU offers a master’s degree in rehabilitation and career counseling and substance abuse and clinical counseling. Students also can pursue certificates in rehabilitation counseling, substance abuse counseling, vocational evaluation and military and trauma counseling. The doctoral program in rehabilitation counseling and administration allows students to specialize in substance and clinical counseling, vocational evaluation or rehabilitation research.

The ECU College of Nursing also is included in the most recent publication, ranked 83rd among the best graduate nursing programs and 18th among online graduate nursing programs. The online ranking previously was announced by U.S. News on Jan. 7.

“We are pleased to be recognized among the top graduate programs in the country for graduate programs in nursing,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the College of Nursing. “Our mission is to serve as a national model for transforming the health of a rural, underserved region through innovation in nursing education, leadership, research, scholarship and practice. Our ranking demonstrates our excellence in meeting this objective and advancing nursing education for the profession.”

The masters of science in nursing program prepares students for advanced roles as clinical nurse specialists, neonatal nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, nurse educators and nurse administrators.

Adult-gerontology nurse practitioner and family nurse practitioner options have transitioned to the doctoral of nursing degree program. The Doctor of Nursing Practice and the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing are the terminal degree programs offered at ECU.

Also listed in U.S. News graduate school rankings for 2016 are ECU’s physician assistant studies program at 70 and education at 184.

Other ECU graduate programs that appear in the online listings, but were ranked in 2012, include: audiology, 37; fine arts-School of Art and Design, 127, occupational therapy, 54; physical therapy, 75; public affairs, 149; social work, 148; and speech-language pathology, 106. Also appearing, ranked in 2014, is biology at 188.

Full lists and rankings can be viewed online at