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
S Pitts
Grant Award

Drs. Stephanie Pitts, Ann Rafferty, and Qiang Wu, along with others across the state, were awarded a $250,000 grant to study the impact of the NC Healthy Food Small Retailer Project on food environments of small corner/convenience stores, as well as customers' dietary behaviors.

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Lok Pokhrel
Pokhrel has book chapter accepted for publication
Dr. Lok Pokhrel along with two MPH students, Rebecca Dean and William Burrows and a former honors student, ZL Jacobs are co-authors on a book chapter. The chapter is titled "Sustainable Nanotechnology-enabled innovative filters for point-of-use (POU) drinking water treatments. 2019 (In: Characterization Tools for Nanotechnology for Environment, Health and Safety. Springer Book Series Vol. 10; Editor: Challa SSR Kumar, Harvard University).

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Sinan Sousan
Seminar with Dr. Sinan Sousan

Dr. Sinan Sousan will be a speaker at a seminar with Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (Assist)at NCSU on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at 12:30pm. Dr. Sousan will be speaking on the Advancements in Exposure Measurements.

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2018 NCPHA - JT
2018 NCPHA Meeting - Charlotte NC

The ECU Department of Public Health was well represented at the North Carolina Public Health Association Meeting from December 12th - 14th in Charlotte. The following is a list of oral and poster presentation from our faculty and students:

Ann Rafferty, Nancy Winterbauer, Ronny Bell, Huabin Luo, Satomi Imai, Ruth Little. Health Literacy Among North Carolina Adults with Chronic Health Conditions: 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) (Oral Presentation).

Mackenzie Brown, Kellie Sims, Beth Gifford, Karen Goldstein, Dawn Provenzal. Gender-stratified Health Conditions from the Gulf War Era Cohort and Biorepository Study (Poster Presentation).

Kalynn Hosea, Huabin Luo. Analysis of Cost-Related Medication Nonadherence in Minorities with Diabetes (Poster Presentation).

Madeline Lassiter, Suzanne Lea. Baseline Measures of Health Baby Outcomes in the North Carolina Public Health Association's Healthy Babies Initiative (Poster Presentation).

Jasmine Taylor, Nancy Winterbauer, Courtney Williams, Lauren Marino, Midred Elliot, Ronita Jones, Lynette Whichard. Chutes and Ladders: Key Facilitators of Community Engagement (Poster Presentation).

Alexia Williams, Tony Cellucci, Omar Glover, Wanda Wright. Tobacco Use, Readiness and Motivation to Quit Smoking Among Dental Patients at East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine (Poster Presentation).

Courtney Williams, Nancy Winterbauer, Jasmine Taylor, Mary Tucker-McLaughlin, Ann Rafferty. Logic Model or Theory of Change? An Illustration from the "Tell a Story..."Diabetes Awareness Intervention (Poster Presentation).

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Nancy Winterbauer
Researchers Tap technology targeting migrant workers in eastern NC

"Hurricane Florence had made landfall less than two weeks before a group of migrant workers gathered at sunset on an Edgecombe County farm to talk with East Carolina University researchers.

Mary Tucker-McLaughlin from the School of Communication and Nancy Winterbauer from the Department of Public Health are leading a project aimed at improving mental health among migrant workers through the use of geofencing and smartphones. Maritza Mata Betancourt of AMEXCAN has served as an interpreter and is assisting on the project. Maritza Mata Betancourt of AMEXCAN interprets questions and answers during the focus group. Maritza Mata Betancourt of AMEXCAN interprets questions and answers during the focus group.

Geofencing typically targets potential customers in a defined geographic area. Tucker-McLaughlin got the idea after talking with a friend in sales. “It occurred to me that you could deliver health education messages the same way,” she said.

Tucker-McLaughlin, Winterbauer and public health colleague Ann Rafferty began working on a grant in 2012 that involved workforce development and its relationship to communication of public health messages through traditional media. From there, the faculty members have collaborated on several projects.

The latest project came about as a result of two previous studies using geofence as a channel to communicate public health messages, Tucker-McLaughlin said. The first focused on distributing information about coastal hazards, specifically rip currents. The second study communicated messages about the ECU dental service learning clinic in Robeson County.

With the current project, researchers hope to raise awareness about resources to combat stress, anxiety and depression in the migrant worker population in eastern North Carolina. They also want to determine which tool works best, such as an interactive website or phone app, and if positive messages about mental health are more effective than negative ones. For example, a positive message would be “taking steps to reduce stress can make you happier” while a negative one would say “not reducing stress can take a toll on your health and your family life.”

While Hurricane Florence spared the tobacco and sweet potato farmers in Edgecombe County, they were stressed from missing work because they don’t get paid when they are not working. Some other stressors can be transportation, access to health care and family issues in Mexico.

Back home, the workers said they take walks or play soccer or other sports, or sometimes go to the park to try to reduce stress. Here, they also walk, doing laps down a rural road, or play soccer.

The workers have left eastern North Carolina temporarily, and either returned home or are working with Christmas tree farmers in the mountains. They are expected back in March for the planting season, when banner ads containing links to an interactive website about mental health established by the Mexican government will be launched as part of the ECU project, Tucker-McLaughlin said.

“In the next few months, we will be designing the banner ads based on feedback from the focus group,” she said.

The advanced mobile technology message will be dropped with a demographic to reach all seasonal migrant workers in eastern North Carolina. Farms in the region include approximately 200 workers, Tucker-McLaughlin said.

The project is funded by a $3,000 grant from the College of Fine Arts and Communication. An autumn sunset on a farm in Edgecombe County."

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Stephanie Wangerin

Name: Stephanie Wangerin
Major: Master of Public Health, Health Behavior Concentration
College: Department of Public Health, Brody School of Medicine, ECU
Year in School: 2nd year graduate student

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.

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 stricklandw@ecu.edu or by calling (252) 744-4037.