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Chancellor's Office


Status of Brody School of Medicine

Chancellor

ECU regrets that recent news stories have suggested the imminent demise of the Brody School of Medicine and have alarmed many supporters. The actual status of the school is as follows. 

There are no plans to close the Brody School now or in the future. However, Brody has a unique mission to train family doctors for North Carolina and to serve an underserved population that is among the sickest and poorest in the state. We also have a unique funding model. Unlike most academic medical centers, we do not own our teaching hospital and that sets us apart from other medical schools in the state. While we have a highly successful partnership with Vidant Medical Center to provide a teaching hospital, which provides us payment for services provided, there are significant legal restrictions for an independent hospital to fund a medical school that is under separate ownership. Because of these factors we have always and will continue to require strong state support.

We are proud of our achievements and believe they have had a very positive impact on North Carolina. We have delivered on our mission. Only North Carolina residents are admitted to the Brody School and more than half of the 2,198 physicians who have graduated from Brody practice in North Carolina, the highest percentage by far of any medical school in the state. In addition, Brody has consistently been ranked by the American Academy of Family Physicians among the top five (often No. 1) in the nation for the percentage of graduates who choose family medicine each year.

Our partnership with Vidant is recognized as one of the most successful public-private partnerships in the state. It provides health care to 29 eastern counties and to tens of thousands of people who would otherwise have limited access or no access to health care. Combined, these two institutions contribute an estimated $5 billion each year to North Carolina’s economy. The Brody School and ECU Physicians, its clinical practice, alone contribute over $700 million to the state’s economy; this is a 14 to 1 return on investment.

We also lead the future of medical education in the nation. Brody is one of 11 prestigious medical schools (119 schools applied) using a $1 million grant from the American Medical Association to shape the future of medical education using patient-centered care. Our partners include Vanderbilt, Indiana, the Mayo School and Penn State.

In addition, ECU pioneered telemedicine in N.C. and now leads a statewide telepsychiatry initiative providing cost-effective mental health services to communities statewide. 

These contributions would not be possible without the strong partnership with Vidant and without substantial state funding. Unfortunately, the percentage of our operating dollars provided by the state has declined rapidly over the past 24 years…from 53 percent in 1990 to 21 percent today.

Our doctors and faculty at Brody and our partner, Vidant, have stepped up to this challenge with great commitment and success. Brody has kept costs down, implemented business practices that make our clinical practice highly cost effective and streamlined operations in medical education. In addition, Vidant Medical Center and Brody are working to integrate clinical services to further reduce the cost to Brody for critical services provided at VMC.

We look forward to continuing to work with our legislative partners this year in order to maintain these positive contributions to the health and the economy of the state. We estimate we will need more than $25 million in new state appropriations in the next few years. We will need debt collection capacity similar to all other state agencies. Vidant Medical Center, which supports most of our physician residency programs, must have Medicaid reimbursement rates at 100% of costs reinstated.

With increased state support, we will continue to deliver on our mission as defined by the legislature over 40 years ago. Our financial challenges are shared by similar institutions nationwide and many people inside and outside the university are working hard to address them. We are determined those efforts will not fail.