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Grants to aid Hobgood Clinic, HIV testing in China

Hewan-Lowe, Hong
GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Oct. 1, 2008)   —   Drs. Heng Hong and Karlene Hewan-Lowe of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University have received grants to help test residents of Hobgood for diabetes and women in China for HIV.

Hewan-Lowe's grant of $8,915 from the College of American Pathologists Foundation will allow her to provide diabetic screening and education at the Hobgood Clinic in Halifax County in northeastern North Carolina. The clinic is run by ECU medical students. ECU has provided cost-share funds of about $2,300.

The money will be used to purchase better testing equipment and supplies for the free clinic that meets twice a month.

Now, student volunteers check the height, weight and blood pressure of their clients and use a glucose meter to test their blood sugar levels. Clients with elevated levels are encouraged to see a physician or make lifestyle changes.

The new grant will pay for a more sophisticated method of testing, the hemoglobin A1-C test, that measures the average of a patient's blood glucose levels over a six-to-12-week period.

Clients will also receive a visual "road map" of their progress relative to their goals. Some grant funds will be dedicated to attracting more clients and to doing follow-up home visits.

Tonya Johnson, a second-year medical student actively involved in the project, said the grant will benefit the community by bringing services to those who need them. The region is removed geographically from health resources, and some residents struggle to afford medical care.

"We hope to help 600 people, and it's reasonable to think we could do that. But you know, if we help six people -- or even one -- and really make a difference, it will be worth it," she said.

The Hobgood clinic meets the first and second Saturday of every month, starting at 8:30 a.m., at the Thomas Shields Community Center. All services are free and open to the public.

Hong's grant of $10,800 will allow him and his colleagues to collaborate with Dr. Yuping Sun at Xinjiang Medical University in China through the Red Cross Society of Altay Prefecture in Xinjiang, China, to provide universal HIV screening tests for all pregnant women in Burqin and Jeminay Counties of Altay Prefecture. Funding is needed to purchase test kits, prepare multilingual educational material and cover travel expenses.

"The CAP Foundation Humanitarian Grant will provide us an opportunity to help the fight against HIV in this remote area of China," Hong said. "The incidence of HIV infection in China has increased dramatically in recent years. Currently, 37 percent of reported Chinese HIV cases were in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Despite the efforts of Chinese government and international groups, many remote areas of Xinjiang still need more help in the prevention and treatment of HIV infection."

Hong and Hewan-Lowe officially received their grants from the College of American Pathologists during a meeting Sept. 27 in San Diego.

The CAP Foundation's Humanitarian Grant Program provides grants to fund pathology and medical services to underprivileged patients in an underdeveloped area of the world.


Contact: Doug Boyd | 252-744-2481