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ECU announces changes to enhance effectiveness

Dr. Phyllis Horns has been named interim vice chancellor for health sciences and interim dean of the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. Photo by Cliff Hollis
GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Nov. 14, 2006)   —   East Carolina University Chancellor Steve Ballard has announced leadership changes designed to strengthen the university's research and fund-raising capabilities and to more aggressively realize several opportunities for growth.

"These changes will help us improve our effectiveness and efficiency," Ballard said. "The individuals involved are all exceptionally capable and fully committed professionals. They know how to move the institution forward, and I am very pleased to be able to make these announcements."

The changes are as follows:

--Dr. Phyllis Horns, longtime dean of the School of Nursing, has been named interim vice chancellor for health sciences. She will also serve as interim dean of the Brody School of Medicine.

--Dr. Michael Lewis, vice chancellor for health sciences, will report to the chancellor as executive assistant, charged with directing strategy for developing support, partnerships and resources for critical health sciences initiatives such as the proposed dental school, indigent care funding and other key development opportunities.

--Dr. Cynda Johnson, dean of the medical school, has been named senior associate vice chancellor for clinical and translational research in the Division of Research and Graduate Studies. She will be responsible for stimulating and encouraging collaborative research efforts and promoting development of interdisciplinary research opportunities in the clinical and health sciences.

--Dr. Nicholas Benson, senior associate dean for operations at the medical school, will assume the additional role of vice dean for the school and will be in charge of much of the day-to-day operations of the school.

--Dr. Sylvia Brown, associate dean for graduate programs in the School of Nursing, will assume the additional role of acting dean for the school.

--Carole Novick, interim associate vice chancellor for health sciences fund raising and interim president of the ECU Medical Foundation, will continue in those roles, but will now report to Mickey Dowdy, ECU's vice chancellor for advancement.

"Phyllis Horns is widely known on our campus and in the health sciences education community," Ballard said. "She is an effective and admired leader, and I am grateful that she has accepted this assignment."

Horns, the senior dean at ECU, previously served as interim vice chancellor for health sciences in 2001-02 and was also responsible for logistics for the last two chancellor searches at the university. Her school is the leading producer of baccalaureate nurses in North Carolina and recently established a doctoral program to help increase the number of nursing faculty members for colleges and universities.

"Dr. Horns has an exceptional breadth and depth of experience," Ballard said. "Her knowledge and insights will be especially valuable as we continue to create new organizational approaches and innovative business practices for the medical school and the Health Sciences Division. She can and must make us leaner, more aggressive and more productive. I have no doubt that she will succeed."

ECU in the summer announced the beginning of what is expected to be a multi-year effort to restore financial strength to the Medical Faculty Practice Plan, the clinical arm of the medical school through which faculty members offer medical care and services to the community. The faculty group practice is known as ECU Physicians.

"A strong practice plan is absolutely essential to the well-being of the medical school, and a strong medical school is essential to the health of the university and the citizens of eastern North Carolina," Ballard said. "We are a national leader in bringing superb health care to underserved populations, and I expect us to continue to build on this capacity."

He said Horns will work closely with Kevin Seitz, the vice chancellor for a


Contact: John Durham | 252-744-2481