ECU News Services

youtube twitter facebook rss feed

Eastern AHEC wins national award for school mental health project

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Aug. 5, 2004)   —   A school mental health project funded by a grant from The Duke Endowment has garnered a national award for the Eastern Area Health Education Center.

The National AHEC Organization has awarded the Center Award for Excellence for Special Community–Based Programs to Eastern AHEC for its School Mental Health Project. The award was presented during the 2004 National AHEC Organization Workshop July 31-Aug. 4 in Baltimore.

Eastern AHEC has received a total of $588,000 in Duke Endowment grant funds over three years for the project. The project provides in-depth training on child and adolescent mental health topics to school nurses, counselors, social workers, psychologists, resource officers, administrators and others including a “train-the-trainer” component.

Eastern AHEC also is expanding mental health training through its AHEC counterparts across the state.

As many as one in five children or adolescents may have a mental health problem that can be identified and treated. At least one in 10, or as many as 6 million young people, may have a “serious emotional disturbance” such that the individual’s ability to function socially, academically and emotionally is severely disrupted, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Eastern AHEC staff members Helen Brinson, director of nursing education, and Debbie Caton Rogers, director of mental health education, are the primary investigators for the grant program. Project director is Keith Letchworth, who has 30 years of experience in developmental disabilities and mental health.

Eastern AHEC is one of nine in the North Carolina AHEC Program. The nine AHECs link North Carolina’s four university health science centers, community hospitals and health agencies.

Eastern AHEC serves 23 counties in northeastern North Carolina and is affiliated with the East Carolina University schools of medicine, nursing and allied health, and the schools of dentistry, pharmacy and public health of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

For more information, call 744-8214 or visit


Contact: Crystal Baity | 252-744-2481