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COMBAT CARE: Schenarts saves soldiers, others at Afghan hospital

At a dusty base in Afghanistan, Dr. P.J. Schenarts is doing what he loves: taking care of the injured.

"To work here, you need your funny bone, your back bone and your brain bone," said Schenarts, better known there as Lt. Col. Paul J. Schenarts, a trauma surgeon and deputy commander of clinical services, 344th Combat Support Hospital. "I feel like it's not only my duty, but an honor for me to be able to do this. Being able to provide critical care to soldiers is really wonderful."


Dr. Paul Schenarts, an ECU surgeon and lieutenant colonel in the
Army Reserves, treats a patient at the 344th Combat Support
Hospital in Afghanistan.

Schenarts is an Army reservist, associate professor of surgery and assistant dean for clinical academic affairs at the Brody School of Medicine. From July until October, he served his sixth tour of duty in the Middle East. He returned Oct. 14.

The hospital, at Forward Operating Base Salerno, stays busy. During one 38-day period this summer, hospital staff responded to 39 traumas and admitted 47 patients. They took nearly 600 X-rays, performed 57 surgeries, conducted 259 CT scans and treated 56 battle-related injuries.

"This is a trauma hospital," said Lt. Col. Gregory A. Kolb, commanding officer. "It's not a typical hospital like we have in the U.S. Most of our patients are trauma patients."

Approximately 90 percent of those who arrive at Salerno Hospital do so by helicopter and are coming to get treatment for injuries sustained in battle, mostly from improvised explosive devices, shrapnel and gunshot wounds.

"This hospital is completely on par with hospitals in the U.S.," Schenarts said. "We don't lack anything. We are able to get diagnostic results back very quickly here, usually within a matter of minutes. That doesn't happen in the States."

Although their main focus is saving soldiers' lives, the hospital also treats contractors, coalition forces, detainees, Afghan National Security Forces and local nationals on a case-by-case basis.

Recently, staff treated several civilians who had been the target of an insurgent ambush and massacre that claimed 12 lives. One of the survivors was happy to be treated by the hospital staff.

"I thank the ISAF forces so much," said Gula Gha, a 28-year-old Pakistan native from Parachinar District, Pakistan. "If it was not for their help, I would have died. I had lost a lot of blood, but the American doctors saved my life. I will never forget them."

With the combination of the latest technology and highly-skilled medical staff, soldiers can rest assured they will receive the best care available if they find themselves at the CSH.

"This is a great hospital with a great staff," said Schenarts. "We provide excellent quality care, and we treat the best patients in the world ... the soldiers."

—Sgt. Brent C. Powell, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division Public Affairs

Kolasa receives state award



Dr. Kathryn Kolasa, a dietitian and professor of family medicine at the Brody School of Medicine, received the Jim Long Lifetime Achievement Award from N.C. Prevention Partners, a state organization that promotes better diets, more physical activity and reduced tobacco use.

The award was presented in Chapel Hill at the group's annual meeting and awards ceremony. Long was a state insurance commissioner, NCPP board member and an advocate of prevention. He died in 2009.

Kolasa was recognized for her extraordinary leadership to bring awareness and solutions about good nutrition to North Carolinians and across the nation. Her latest project is working to make sure employees and visitors at North Carolina hospitals have access to affordable and healthy foods and beverages at all times of day.

Pekala named department chair

Dr. Phillip H. Pekala has been named chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Brody School of Medicine, which he joined as a faculty member in 1981.

He has a doctorate in biochemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in physiological chemistry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Pekala has also served as the assistant dean for research and as the associate director of research for the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center. Pekala received the Brody School of Medicine Master Educator recognition in 2002 and the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003.

Pekala had served as the interim chair since 2006.

Kataria recognized

Dr. Yash Kataria received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Amritsar Medical and Dental Alumni Association of North America at the group's annual meeting Aug. 14-18 in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Kataria is professor emeritus and director of the Sarcoidosis Clinic at the Brody School of Medicine.

Moore named to fellowship

Dr. Justin B. Moore, assistant professor of public health at the Brody School of Medicine, has been named a fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine, acknowledging high standards of professional responsibility, achievement, participation and continuing professional development.

Ferguson leads task force

Dr. Jeffrey Ferguson, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Brody School of Medicine, served as co-chair of the International First Aid Science Advisory Board, a task force co-sponsored by the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. The group included more than 70 members from emergency health care organizations worldwide.

Willson re-elected to council

Dr. Charles Willson, a clinical professor of pediatrics at the Brody School of Medicine, has been re-elected to a four-year term on the Council on Medical Service. The council is part of the American Medical Association. It studies and evaluates the social and economic aspects of medical care and suggests means for developing services in a changing socioeconomic environment. It was established in 1943.

Cao receives grant

Dr. Qing Cao, a geriatrician and clinical assistant professor of family medicine at the Brody School of Medicine, has received a five-year, $375,000 Geriatric Academic Career Award grant for faculty development. The grant was one of 58 awarded to new faculty around the country by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. Cao will focus her work on hospice and palliative care teaching.

Three named master educators at Brody for 2010



Drs. Harry Adams, Lars Larsen and Robert Newman have been named master educators for 2010 at the Brody School of Medicine.

Adams is a professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases. He has a medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Texas and completed residency training at Vanderbilt University and a fellowship at the University of Washington. He's been a Brody


faculty member since 1984 and served as division chief from 1987 to 1996. Adams was recognized in the category of outstanding teaching or mentorship.

Larsen is a professor of family medicine. He has a medical degree from the State University of New York-Syracuse and completed a fellowship and post-doctoral training at the University of Utah. He's been an ECU faculty member since 1992. Larsen was recognized for educational leadership and administration and for outstanding teaching or mentorship.



Newman is also a professor of family medicine and an adjunct faculty member in the ECU College of Health and Human Performance. He is also director of clinical services for family medicine. Newman has a medical degree from the University of Virginia and completed residency training at Charleston (S.C.) Naval Hospital. He joined the Brody faculty in 2002. Newman was recognized for outstanding teaching or mentorship.

Since the program began in 2002, 37 Brody faculty members have been recognized.

ECU physicians named to annual Best Doctors list

Forty-three physicians from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University have been chosen by their peers for inclusion in the annual "Best Doctors" list.

The annual list is compiled by Best Doctors Inc., a Boston-based group that surveys more than 30,000 physicians across the United States who previously have been included in the listing asking whom they would choose to treat themselves or their families.

Approximately 5 percent of the physicians who practice in North Carolina make the annual list. A partial list of the state's best doctors was in the November issue of "Business North Carolina" magazine.

The ECU physicians on the list are Dr. William A. Burke, dermatology; Drs. Greg W. Knapp, Lars C. Larsen, Gary I. Levine, Robert J. Newman, Kenneth Steinweg and Ricky Watson, family medicine; Drs. Paul P. Cook and Keith M. Ramsey, infectious diseases; Dr. David Goff, pediatrics and internal medicine; Drs. Mary Jane Barchman, Paul Bolin and Cynthia Christiano, nephrology; Drs. Raymond Dombroski and Edward R. Newton, obstetrics and gynecology; Drs. David Hannon, Charlie J. Sang Jr. and Carolyn T. Spencer, pediatric cardiology; Drs. Irma Fiordalisi, Glenn Harris, William E. Novotny and Ronald M. Perkin, pediatric critical care; Dr. Michael Reichel, pediatric developmental and behavioral problems; Dr. Debra A. Tristram, pediatric infectious diseases; Dr. David N. Collier, pediatric obesity; Dr. Daniel P. Moore, pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation; Dr. Elaine Cabinum-Foeller, pediatric abuse; Dr. Diana J. Antonacci, John Diamond and Kaye L. McGinty, child and adolescent psychiatry; Drs. James J. Cummings and Scott S. MacGilvray, neonatal medicine; Dr. Karin Marie Hillenbrand, Thomas G. Irons, Dale A. Newton, Kathleen V. Previll and Charles Willson, general pediatrics; Dr. Robert A. Shaw, pulmonary medicine; Drs. Robert Harland, Eric Toschlog and Emmanuel Zervos, surgery; Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., cardiothoracic surgery; and Dr. Charles S. Powell, vascular surgery.

Faculty/staff deaths

Dr. Daniel Crabtree died Feb. 28 in Norfolk, Va., after a two-year bout with malignant melanoma. He was 63. He taught at ECU from 1988 to 1990. Crabtree is survived by his wife, Linda, his father, three daughters, eight grandchildren and other relatives.



Dr. Theodore Kushnick died May 1 in Greenville. He was a retired professor of pediatrics and director of the Developmental Evaluation Center at ECU. Kushnick is survived by his wife, Judith, three children, three grandchildren and other relatives.

Dr. Irwin S. Johnsrude died May 16 in Greenville. He was 80. He taught radiology at the medical school from 1978 until his retirement. He is survived by his wife, Wanda, five children, eight grandchildren and other relatives.

Dr. Opal Hood died of cancer Aug. 8. She was 60. Hood was a pediatrician and specialist in pediatric genetics, which she led at ECU from 1990 until her retirement in 2009. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Charles Daeschner, an ECU pediatric cancer specialist, her step-mother, her sister and other relatives.

Ann Cory, a retired research associate in the Department of Biochemistry, died in Florida Aug. 15 of a pulmonary thrombosis. She was 73. She is survived by her husband, Joe, a former chair of biochemistry, two sons, two grandchildren and three sisters. A son and daughter preceded her in death.

Dr. Lynn Orr died of cancer Aug. 17. He was 62. He was a faculty member from 1979-1985 and from 2000 until his death. He was a clinical professor in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences. Orr is survived by his wife, Becki, a son, two daughters, a sister and other relatives.



Wayne Williams, founding director of the ECU Center for Medical Communication and author of histories of the medical school and Pitt County Memorial Hospital, died Sept. 13 in Baton Rouge, La. He was 85. He is survived by a daughter and other relatives.