Although medical education is the foremost mission of Brody School of Medicine, its commitment of service to the region and state has had a lasting, beneficial effect on medical care in eastern North Carolina. The education and training of highly qualified physicians to serve in smaller cities and towns is one obvious way the school has contributed to this improvement. Yet in countless other ways, either through direct patient care or indirectly through such programs as continuing medical education for practicing physicians and other health professionals, the school is making eastern North Carolina a healthier place to live and work.
At its most basic level, the medical school serves the region through direct patient care. Faculty physicians conduct general and specialty clinics at the 517 Moye Medical Center, the Brody Outpatient Center and the Pediatric Outpatient Center. General outpatient care is also provided at the Family Medicine Center, the Monk Geriatric Center, ECU Women’s Physicians, the Firetower Medical Office in south Greenville, and in a number of other sites around the Greenville community. Inpatient care is provided at Vidant Medical Center. All medical care is provided under the auspices of ECU Physicians, the group practice of the School of Medicine. In recognition of the important need for reaching out beyond the campus, however, faculty offer their services in outlying communities through arrangements with area health care providers and agencies. Further, they cooperate with local and state health care agencies to help meet any special needs of communities. Many rural sites are linked to the medical center through a live interactive television system known as telemedicine, which facilitates medical consultation and education.
A more recent approach to improving clinical care has been through the development of centers of emphasis for particular diseases and conditions prevalent in eastern North Carolina. Within the last few years, centers have been established for the comprehensive care of patients with cancer, diabetes, addiction disorders, and allergy and asthma. In addition, the goal of the East Carolina Heart Institute is to help reduce the number of deaths due to heart disease and improve cardiovascular health in eastern North Carolina. Each of these centers integrates advanced clinical services, basic and clinical research, and educational activity into a single entity. Other exceptional programs with a regional focus include high-risk obstetrics, trauma, accident and injury prevention, HIV/AIDS, developmental evaluation and rehabilitation, to name a few. These examples of direct clinical service complement an abundance of activities that indirectly influence medical care in the region. Every clinical department sponsors annual seminars to update regional physicians on current topics in medical care, and faculty members travel to regional community hospitals to present lectures to physicians and other health care providers.
Finally, medical students themselves are involved in a number of service activities. Students are responsible for the administrative activities of a free weekly clinic staffed by volunteers at the Pitt County Health Department, as well as the weekly Greenville Community Shelter Clinic, which provides health care to homeless people under the auspices of the Pitt County Medical Society. Students and faculty also collaborate to provide care to children with special needs in a series of summer camps sponsored by the Department of Pediatrics.