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An outstanding Washington County Student, whose desire to become a physician was encouraged by a local "Grow Your Own" program, began classes this fall at the ECU School of Medicine.

Brian Cabarrus had other choices. He was accepted at both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Howard University medical schools. His decision to pursue his medical studies at ECU was based on a number of considerations--financial support through the Brody Scholar/Fellow Program and the sense that he was best suited to the ECU environment.

Cabarrus got a preview of the ECU School of Medicine through the Grow your own Program, sponsored by the Generalist Physician Program (GPP) at ECU and the Washington County Community Health Access Group (CHAG). Grow Your Own identifies promising young people in the community who are interested in going to medical school. The idea is to encourage and provide financial support to students who might come back home to practice medicine.

In March 1996, the GPP staff participated in a CHAG meeting in Washington County. At that time, they were introduced to Cabarrus, who struck them as "highly" motivated, a good student and very interested in the ECU School of Medicine," stated Pamela Federline of the Generalist Physician Program.

Cabarrus was also impressed. "The CHAG meeting convinced me that ECU was one of the places I should apply to medical schoo," he said. "I had decided to attend UNC if accepted. But after the CHAG meeting, I thought a lot about how I might be able to serve Washington County and how important it is to me to be part of the area in which I and most of my ancestors were reared," Cabarrus said.

Later in the year, the GPP brought the young man to the Greenville campus for a "day in the life of a medical student." Cabarrus had a busy visit. He spent time with medical students and got a hands-on introduction to gross anatomy dissection. He also followed a pediatric resident and met with the ECU Admissions office staff, who gave him information about financial aid. To finish off the day, he socialized with Rural Health Scholars at a picnic sponsored by the Generalist Physician Program.

Throughout the remainder of the year, program staff stayed in touch with Cabarrus, answering questions and providing encouragement as he worked through the process of applying to medical schools.

For More information, contact the Office of Generalist Programs at (919) 816-2291.
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