ECU Family Medicine Center receives $1 million from Golden LEAF
(Dec. 17, 2007)
The Golden LEAF Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to help build a new Family Medicine Center at East Carolina University.
"This award from Golden LEAF is an important step in securing the necessary funding for the new center," said ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard. "Family medicine is at the core of our medical school, and the state-of-the-art facility that we are planning will enable us to better serve the medical needs of the entire region. The grant is another example of the foundation's exemplary record in responding to the needs of this region."
The new Family Medicine Center will serve 29 counties in eastern North Carolina, where residents have some of the worst health indicators in the nation.
"Golden LEAF is pleased to play a role in making possible the state-of-the-art Family Medicine Center at ECU's Brody School of Medicine," said Valeria Lee, president of the Golden LEAF Foundation. "We are confident the facility will offer first-rate training for family medicine doctors that will not only attract top quality professors but top quality students as well. Our hope is that the Family Medicine Center will address the shortage of primary care doctors in the state and also expand the range of medical services to communities in need throughout North Carolina."
The Family Medicine Center is a critical component of the medical school's mission to address the shortage of primary care doctors throughout North Carolina.
"If we are to continue to encourage, recruit and retain the best medical school students to family medicine careers, they must have access to a first-class facility," said Dr. Kenneth Steinweg, interim chairman of the Department of Family Medicine. "The center also will increase access to cost-effective care for some of our region's neediest citizens."
The current Family Medicine Center opened in the 1970s. It is approximately 29,400 square feet and has 32 exam rooms. Health care professionals see approximately 46,000 patients there each year. Officials expect patient visits to climb by 8 percent when the new center opens.
The new facility will include a geriatric center funded by a $2.5 million gift from the estate of Frances Joyner Monk of Farmville. The university will continue to seek additional gifts and grants for the project.
The Golden LEAF Foundation, a nonprofit corporation, was created in 1999 to receive one-half of the funds coming to North Carolina from the master settlement agreement with cigarette manufacturers. In turn, the foundation is helping North Carolinians make the transition from a tobacco-dependent economy through grants and investments that will positively affect the long-term economic advancement of the state. It gives priority in its grant-making to tobacco-dependent and economically distressed counties.