Our Mission

Our Department of Public Health is committed to educating professionals and conducting research to improve the health of communities in our region and beyond. We practice a combination of science and social approaches to reduce disease and systematically address the multiple determinants of health. Our work is rooted in strong partnerships with the community, health and social services, industry and business, academia, and the media.

News & Announcements

News & Announcements
Kearney - JEH Cover Article
Journal of Environmental Health

Dr. Greg Kearney co-authored an article with Jo Anne Balanay, PhD and Adam Mannarino, MPH and it made the cover of the Journal of Environmental Health. The article, Intervention to Prevent Occupational Hearing Loss: Evaluating Attitudes and Behaviors or Groundskeeping Workers, can be found here.  

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Bailey and Lea - YouTube
Global Public Health Study Abroad Course Approved

Congratulations to Dr. Eric Bailey and Dr. Suzanne Lea for their Global Public Health Study Abroad Course to England and Scotland for 2018.  For more info check out their YouTube video.

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MPH Student awarded funding

Assessing Resilience among Vulnerable Populations Impacted by Flooding in Eastern North Carolina: A Mixed-Methods Approach

The NC Sea Grant and NC Water Resources Research Institute awarded Jasmine Hayes, MPH Student in Public Health, funding to develop a conceptual model of community resilience based on assessing individual resilience from residents of Pitt and Robeson Counties who experienced Hurricane Floyd and Hurricane Matthew. In addition, her advisor, Suzanne Lea, will also collaborate with UNC-Pembroke’s Department of Nursing. We know very little about individual resilience within communities in rural, inland eastern North Carolina where repeated hurricanes have opened opportunities to discover factors that form the fabric of individual, and hence, community resilience. Data from this project will inform planning for recovery after natural disasters, such as flooding.

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S Pitts
Changes in Diet, Physical Activity, and Weight

Dr. Stephanie Pitts is one of the authors of the article "Examining the Association between Intervention-Related Changes in Diet, Physical Activity, and Weight as Moderated by the Food and Physical Activity Environments among Rural Southern Adults" in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The data analyzed was from the Heart Healthy Lenoir project, a nutrition and physical activity lifestyle intervention for residents of Lenoir County.

The results of the research were the opposite of what was expected. The participants who lived in less healthy neighborhoods, with less access to healthy eating and exercise opportunities, seemed to make greater health improvements than those living in healthier areas.

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Ann Rafferty
Health Inequities among LGB Adults in North Carolina

A team of ECU researchers that included Melissa Barnhill, a recent MPH graduate, Joseph Lee in the Department of Health Education and Promotion, and Ann Rafferty in the Department of Public Health, have a new publication looking at disparities for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults in North Carolina using data from the NC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Study results show that being part of the LGB population in NC is associated with worse health. Both genders showed inequalities in mental health with LGB individuals having higher prevalence of five or more poor mental health days in the past month and of ever having been diagnosed with a depressive disorder compared with heterosexual individuals. Sexual minority women also had higher prevalence for ever having smoked cigarettes, current smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke both in the workplace and at home, and both alcohol risk factors, binge and heavy drinking.

Barnhill MM, Lee JGL, Rafferty AP. Health Inequities among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults in NorthCarolina, 2011-2014. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2017; 14(8):835.

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Upcoming Events

Mari Hawkins

Morehead City-native Mari Hawkins is expanding her scope from rehabilitating individual athletes to considering the health of whole populations.

Research In The Region

A private funding source for research at ECU's Brody School of Medicine is supporting pediatric asthma research by Dr. Greg Kearney.

MPH Program at ECU

Learn more about whether our master's of public health program is the right graduate degree for you.

Council on Education for Public Health

The ECU MPH Program is nationally accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). A copy of our final self-study report (2012) and a subsequent interim report (2013) on compliance with all accreditation criteria are available here. To request a copy of our official accreditation reports, please contact Wanda Strickland at or by calling (252) 744-4037.