ECU College of Allied Health Sciences ECU College of Allied Health Sciences

ECU College of Allied Health Sciences ECU College of Allied Health Sciences

Past Jean Mills Health Symposia

14th Annual Symposium - February 2, 2018

Social Determinants of Obesity and Diabetes - A Framework for Intervention

The 2018 Jean Elaine Mills Annual Health Symposium built synergies between community residents, community organizations and ECU faculty and students, focusing on minority health and community/campus partnerships as a vehicle to reduce health disparities. Participants were challenged to address the social determinants of obesity and diabetes that is disproportionally affecting the communities of eastern North Carolina.

Guest Speaker: Leandris Liburd, PhD - Associate Director, Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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Social Determinants of Obesity, Diabetes Addressed at ECU Symposium

Feb. 5, 2018
By Rob Spahr | University Communications

Does where you live or your level of education make you more prone to obesity and diabetes?

These and other social determinants of obesity and diabetes, which are disproportionally affecting eastern North Carolina, were addressed during the 14th annual Jean Mills Health Symposium at the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU on Friday.

During the event, local, regional and national experts in obesity and diabetes, as well as community leaders and ECU faculty, staff and students, were challenged to address the social causes of the diseases.

The social factors discussed included cultural beliefs, gender roles, access to health care and patient-provider communications, economic stability, community infrastructure, educational attainment and role models.

This year’s featured speaker was Dr. Leandris Liburd, associate director for the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Liburd is an expert on the social determinants of health and has been successful in identifying intervention strategies to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities.

“Our health is our greatest resource, it affects everything. … (But) it’s something that I think we typically take for granted until we don’t have it anymore. And then we get up and say ‘OK, now I need to pay attention,’” Liburd said. “In public health, we try to get to people in the front end of that. And while we can’t prevent everything, there are things that we can delay and that we can minimize.”

Liburd said physicians come with high levels of authority and respect, which they can lend to help sway public policies and make significant positive impacts in leveling out some of the social health discrepancies.

“We don’t expect that doctors will go out and take on all of these issues. But we do think that it’s reasonable, as a beginning, that they will lend their influence to the efforts that others are trying to put forth to help make them successful,” Liburd said. “We have to find our place in this and where we can contribute the most.”

The symposia are presented by the ECU College of Allied Health Sciences in collaboration with ECU’s Department of Public Health, the Brody School of Medicine and the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation.

“Over the past decade and a half, the Mills symposium has invited distinguished national and international experts to address the health and health care issues that affect minority populations, especially our communities right here in eastern North Carolina,” said Robert Orlikoff, dean of ECU’s College of Allied Health Sciences.

“This is not an academic seminar and this is not a town meeting,” Orlikoff added. “It’s a rare opportunity for us to come together, educate ourselves and work together to reach real and long-standing solutions.”

Jean Mills, who died from breast cancer in October 2000, was an ECU alumna with a passion for community health and health equity. Her brother, Amos T. Mills III, established the symposium in her honor.

13th Annual Symposium - February 24, 2017

Achieving Healthcare Workforce Diversity: Addressing the Challenges

The 2017 symposium sought to provide a forum for discussing issues impacting the diversity of healthcare professionals, primarily in eastern North Carolina. It proposed effective methods for recruiting and retaining a diverse clinical and academic faculty; improving minority access to professional healthcare programs; and diversifying the healthcare workforce, especially in underserved communities by building a network of individuals and organizations focused on assisting these efforts.

Keynote Speaker: Kendall Campbell, MD - Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Director of the Research Group for Underrepresented Minorities in Academic Medicine, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University

Watch Keynote Presentation

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12th Annual Symposium - February 5, 2016

Keeping Teens Healthy

The 2016 Symposium sought to build synergies between community residents, community organizations and ECU faculty and students focused on teen health. Participants will be challenged to address teen health through interactive workshops and keynote presentations addressing substance use and abuse, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, violence in minority communities, promoting positive teen behaviors and addressing eating disorders.

Keynote Speaker Philip J. Leaf, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Adolescent Health, Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence, and the Urban Health Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

Watch keynote presentation

Tackling Teen Health
Symposium explores adolescent challenges

Feb. 8, 2016
By Jules Norwood | ECU News Services

The issues and challenges surrounding teen health were the focus of the 12th annual Jean Mills Health Symposium, held Feb. 5 at the East Carolina Heart Institute at East Carolina University.

Bringing together community leaders, residents, health providers and youth organizations, the event featured workshops and presentations on substance abuse, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, violence and eating disorders.

"This event is a way of pulling in all kinds of assets to look at best practices and support systems for our youth," said Philip J. Leaf, the keynote speaker for the symposium. Leaf is a director at the Center for Adolescent Health, Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence and the Urban Health Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

With the increasing prevalence of single-parent households and those in which both parents work, along with many other factors, Leaf said today's children spend less time with adults than at any other time in history. Therefore it is vital to focus on adolescents and provide them with positive opportunities. The entire community, not just health providers, plays a role in teen health, he added.

"Health is in the home, it's in the faith institutions, it's in the after-school programs," he said.

Leaf's address centered on the many challenges facing teens, especially in urban and impoverished environments, the impact of youthful decisions on adult life, and the importance of schools and adult role models.

"They need to have adults in their lives who can help them, who can communicate with them and who can help train them to avoid these (health issues)," he said. He emphasized that the community and health providers need to focus on the deeper problems in the home and in the community to address the root causes of the problem.

Jean Elaine 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 Jean Mills Health Symposium was created through an endowment established by her brother, Amos T. Mills III, to bring attention to critical health care issues facing minority populations and to seek solutions.

"Our health is more important than anything else in life," Amos Mills said. "This event is a way to honor my sister and make the community a better place." To that end, Mills committed additional funding at Friday's event that will help continue the program for years to come.

The Jean Mills Health Symposium is hosted by the College of Allied Health Sciences in collaboration with the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation.

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11th Annual Symposium - February 6, 2015

New Models for Empowering Personal and Community Health

View agenda (pdf)

2015 symposium focused on:

  • creating community partnerships focused on the behavioral determinants of obesity
  • improving outcomes among African American women with Type 2 DM
  • innovative approaches to mental health issues of minority adolescents
  • community partnerships as portals to access
  • improving health through community engaged dental education
  • new models for empowering community and minority health

Daily Reflector: ECU Notes February 16, 2015 -- Symposium peddles patient-centered partnerships

Innovative community health care driven by patient needs, and tailoring local resources to cooperatively address those needs was the focus of the 11th annual Jean Mills Health Symposium held earlier this month at ECU.

"North Carolina's strength in health care comes from putting the needs of patients and community first," said Dr. L. Allen Dobson, keynote speaker and current president and CEO of Community Care of North Carolina, the comprehensive network that manages health care delivery for the state's Medicaid recipients and low-income residents.

Dobson told the audience - an assortment of health care providers, community and faith leaders, faculty, students and community residents - that eastern North Carolina has pioneered a successful model of collaborative efforts that put patient needs before health care industry needs.

Dobson also highlighted consolidation, noting how unsuccessful the shift from physician-owned practices to health-system-owned practices can be.

The higher costs associated with ownership consolidation often result from more care being delivered in high-cost hospital settings and hospital based ambulatory surgical centers, Dobson explained. While he noted that increased coordination of care and less duplication of tests and treatments help decrease costs for consolidated practices, he said physician-owned practices provide lower cost care.

North Carolina's effectiveness in addressing such issues lies with the state's collaborative efforts across disciplines and a knack for tailoring approaches to local resources, according to Dobson. Through these efforts Community Care ensures health care is focused at the community level and ensures patients' needs are met, no matter their location, he said.

"Health care, just like politics, is local. You can't take something that worked in Durham or Charlotte and make it work in little Washington," he said.

The daylong symposium also featured panels and breakout sessions on ways community partnerships can address issues around obesity, diabetes and mental health, especially in minority populations.

The Mills Symposium was created by Amos T. Mills III in memory of his sister, an ECU alumna with a passion for community health and health equity. Presented by the College of Allied Health Sciences in collaboration with the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation, the annual event is aimed at generating awareness and solutions for health problems that plague North Carolinians and minorities in particular.

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10th Annual Symposium - February 7, 2014

View agenda (pdf)

View photo gallery

The 2014 Symposium featured:

  • keynote speaker, Dr. Lori Carter-Edwards spoke on Health Care Looking Forward: The Role of Community Engagement - View video (wmv)
  • the role of AMEXCAN in implementing successful health programs in the Mexican & Latino community
  • the innovative contributions of school nurses in reducing health disparities - View slideshow (pdf)
  • the role of mobile health units in addressing health inequities
  • Panel discussion with Jim Baluss, Dr. Lorri Basnight, and Dr. Tom Irons - View video (wmv)

Building Together

10th Jean Mills Symposium focuses on achieving health equity

Feb. 7, 2014

By Crystal Baity | ECU News Services

Building a road and building better health care require a community to work together.

That was the message from keynote speaker Dr. Lori Carter-Edwards at the 10th annual Jean Mills Health Symposium held Feb. 7 at East Carolina University. Using a road-building project in three towns to illustrate her point, Carter-Edwards said the only community that was successful had engaged stakeholders - from the ditch-diggers to the landowner - to get their road built on time with limited resources. They gathered information, relied on the skills of those involved and shared with each other.

"Let's look at what's working and replicate it in our communities," said Carter-Edwards, deputy director for research and operations at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and research associate professor of health behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Achieving health equity, or the same quality care for all, will require using the principles of community engagement to care for an aging - and changing - population, she said.

North Carolina's public school system saw a net increase of 60 percent more Latinos and 32 percent more black students enrolled from 2000 to 2009. In Tier 1 counties, many of which are in rural eastern North Carolina, 84 percent of the population was listed as non-white and 51.5 percent was Hispanic.

While construction and manufacturing jobs continue to shrink in rural counties, one growth area has been health care because of an aging population with chronic health conditions.

Health care in the next decade will need to focus on four key areas, Carter-Edwards said:

  • More options for where people get care. Besides hospitals and clinics, people will be treated in mobile units and other non-traditional settings like recreation centers, churches or schools.
  • More diversity in health care teams. Community health workers will be the bridge to the community.
  • Increased attention to preventing illness and disease.
  • Adding collaborative, integrated care networks with non-traditional partners.

"Research projects need to include the people we're serving," Carter-Edwards said. "Are you ready to sit at the table with the person you're claiming to help?"

Landon Allen of Wake Forest is a third-year ECU medical/master's of public health student and director of the Grimesland Free Clinic. He found Carter-Edwards' presentation translatable. "It's great advice," he said. "It's difficult to navigate, but the more we talk about it, we begin pulling groups together in a social movement to make these sorts of changes."

Helen Hill has attended every Mills Symposium since at least 2008.

"It's been a real advantage. Having the connection, listening to all the speakers they've brought in through the years and the different areas. It's helped me," said Hill, who retired as director of a school-based program with Greene County Health Care after more than 25 years. She began working part-time in Greene, Pitt and Pamlico counties last summer on another project.

Jean Elaine Mills, the symposium's namesake, was a Greenville native and ECU alumna who died at age 45 of breast cancer in 2000. Her brother, Amos T. Mills III, and his family started the symposium as a tribute and to bring awareness and solutions for health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, hypertension, diabetes and obesity that plague North Carolinians, particularly African-Americans and other minorities.

"We made a commitment to make a difference in the life of eastern North Carolinians," Mills said.

The only minority rural health care symposium of its kind in eastern North Carolina, the event has grown each year, from 50 participants in 2004 to about 175 last year.

The symposium was presented by the College of Allied Health Sciences in collaboration with the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation.

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9th Annual Symposium - March 1, 2013

Enhancing Minority Health in the Millennium

View Schedule of Events (pdf)
View video (wmv)
Read the ECU News Services story

View photo gallery

Presented by the College of Allied Health Sciences in collaboration with ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation and the ECU Office of Continuing Studies.

The 2013 symposium featured:

  • the application of social media in health and health care
  • the use of "apps" to enhance the health of citizens of NC and/or the practice of health professionals - Examples of Health Apps for Smartphones and iPads (pdf).
  • the impact of the environment on health and health care
  • healthcare reform post the 2012 election
  • community/campus partnerships as a vehicle to reduce health disparities.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Janice C. Probst, Director of the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center, shared valuable knowledge about innovative methods to address minority health in rural communities.

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8th Annual Symposium - February 3, 2012

Enhancing Community Health in North Carolina: Looking in the Mirror

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View brochure (pdf)

Keynote Speaker:
Brian Smedley, PhD, Vice President and Director Health Policy, Institute of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, DC
Building Stronger Communities for Better Health: The Geography of Health Equity (pdf)

Other Presentations from the Symposium:
Cultivating Campus-Community Health Partnerships: The West Greenville Community Health Needs Assessment (pdf), Kerry Littlewood, PhD, MSW, East Carolina University

Partnering with a Community Clinic to Provide Diabetes Self-Management Services Utilizing a Telehealth Approach (pdf), Ave Maria Renard, PSYD; Amaris R. Tippey, BA; Laura M. Daniels, MA; Lisa C. Campbell, PhD, East Carolina University

Focusing on the Solution (pdf), Craig M. Becker, PhD, CWP, East Carolina University

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7th Annual Symposium - February 4, 2011

Creating Effective Partnerships to Reduce Health Disparities and Improve Minority Health

View video (wmv)
View brochure (pdf)

The Symposium featured recognized experts who are knowledgeable about the key principles of community engagement: mutual benefits, collaborative relationships, and empowerment. Presentations focused on the scholarship of engagement and on service to the community with an engagement model addressing health disparities and minority health.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Bill Jenkins, Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Morehouse School of Medicine and Senior Fellow at the Institute for African American Research at the UNC at Chapel Hill.

Luncheon Speaker: Barbara Pullen-Smith, Director, North Carolina Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Division of Public Health, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Raleigh, N.C.

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6th Annual Symposium - February 5, 2010

Race, Stress and Health

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View brochure (pdf)

Friday, February 5, 2010
Greenville Hilton and Greenville Convention Center
Greenville, NC
Registration: 8:30 AM
Program: 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM

The Symposium featured recognized experts who promoted the health and wellness of people from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds by understanding the interactions of individual and societal factors on stress and coping behaviors.

Keynote Speaker:
Sherman A. James, Ph.D., FAHA
Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy
Duke Sanford School of Public Policy

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5th Annual Symposium - February 6, 2009

Empowering Individuals to Take Responsibility for Their Own Health

View video (wmv)
View brochure (pdf)

Friday, February 6, 2009
Greenville Hilton and Greenville Convention Center
Greenville, NC
Registration: 8:30 AM
Program: 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM

The Symposium featured recognized experts who use a health empowerment model. Using presentations and posters, the symposium described research and services that empower individuals to take responsibility for enhancing their health, thereby reducing health disparities.

Keynote Speaker: Carmara Jones, MD, MPH, PhD
Addressing Social Determinants of Health and Social Determinants of Equity

Dr. Jones is the Research Director on Social Determinants of Health and Equity, Emerging Investigations and Analytic Methods Branch, Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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4th Annual Symposium - February 15-16, 2008

Rural Health in Eastern North Carolina, Meeting the Challenges

View video (wmv)

February 15-16, 2008
The Hilton and the Greenville Convention Center
Greenville, NC

Day One - February 15

The Hilton-Greenville
Presentations related to issues, research and services to address rural health.

Keynote Speaker: Thomas C. Ricketts, III, Ph.D., MPH
Dr. Ricketts is Professor of Health Policy and Administration and Social Medicine, and Director of the Health Policy Analysis Unit in the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Second Keynote Speaker: Dr. Yolanda Burwell
Dr. Yolanda Burwell is a senior fellow in the Community and Human Resource Department of The North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center.

Day Two - February 16

Community Outreach Focus Health and Wellness Fair
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Greenville Convention Center

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3rd Annual Symposium - February 9 & 10, 2007

Health Disparities in a "Browning" and "Graying" America: Implications and Challenges

View presentation (ppt)

James H. Johnson, Jr.
William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Management
Kenan-Flagler Business School
Director, Urban Investment Strategies Center
Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Food Choice and Obesity in Black America: Creating a New Cultural Diet (ppt)
Eric J. Bailey, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Medical Anthropologist
East Carolina University

Focus on Research in Health Disparities (ppt)
Cynda Johnson, MD, MBA
Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical and Translational Research

Weight Loss Experiences of African American Women (ppt)
Kathryn M. Kolasa, PhD, RD, LDN
Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University

Understanding Health and Wellness Needs: A Community's Perspective (ppt)
Beth Velde, PhD, OTR/L
Department of Occupational Therapy
College of Allied Health Sciences

The Built Environment and Human Health: An Initial 'Sight' at the Local Status
Max A. Zarate, PhD
East Carolina University

Health Disparities and Disabilities among Hispanic Populations (ppt)
Lucy Wong-Hernandez, M.S.
College of Allied Health Sciences
East Carolina University
Monica Carrion-Jones, MD
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Brody Medical School
East Carolina University

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2nd Annual Symposium - February 10, 2006

Obesity in African Americans: Causes and Cures

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1st Annual Symposium - April 6, 2005

Obesity in African-Americans Living in Eastern NC

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