Easley approves ECU Heart Center
(Aug. 5, 2004)
Gov. Mike Easley on Thursday signed a bill authorizing the funding of several university projects, including $60 million for the North Carolina Cardiovascular Diseases Institute at ECU.
The governor signed House Bill 1264 at the Brody School of Medicine in the presence of university, legislative and medical leaders who have been touting the center as an economic development force and a way to address the state's high rate of advanced cardiovascular disease.
"This means a lot to eastern North Carolina," Easley said. "First it's important to economic development. It will help research and it will create jobs. Second, it gives us a treatment and research facility. The greatest benefit is that it will keep people healthy. We have to make our people healthier."
The cardiovascular institute is expected to create more than 500 new jobs with an immediate economic impact of $300 million. Long-term impact is estimated to be more than $34 million a year.
North Carolina has one of the highest rates of advanced cardiovascular disease in the nation, accounting for one in four deaths.
Dr. Randolph Chitwood, who will be director of the institute, said the center will increase the overall health of eastern North Carolina.
"It means better education and clinical care. It's a whole new day for families and patients," he said. "We want to find ways to improve the prevention of disease as well as the treatment of disease. It's a new day in eastern North Carolina for the health of our citizens."
The bill also authorizes $180 for a new cancer rehabilitation and treatment center at the University of North Carolina Hospitals at Chapel Hill and $28 million for a new Pharmacy School program to be located at Elizabeth City State University.