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
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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ECU and UNCP form public health program partnership

"ECU and UNC Pembroke have entered into a partnership to enhance research and improve the health of eastern Carolina residents.

Leaders from ECU and UNC Pembroke officially signed off on a new partnership that commits the universities to a collaborative approach to research, and creates a more direct path for qualified Pembroke graduates to gain admission to ECU's graduate level public health degree programs.

Both universities have missions to improve the health of people living in the east.

Doctor Ronny Bell with ECU says a well trained public health workforce will help meet the region's needs.

Dr. Bell says, "Eastern North Carolina has a number of health disparities and chronic diseases and different health outcomes that require a public health approach to address them."

Dr. Bell says well qualified UNC Pembroke graduates will receive priority admission to both ECU's master and doctor of public health degree programs."

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Ann Rafferty
ECU study shows 1 in 10 Americans have loaded & unlocked gun in home

"A new report by experts at ECU has determined that nearly one in ten Americans live in a home with a loaded and unlocked gun.

The ECU report asked American gun owners about their safety practices and 25 percent of those surveyed who own firearms said they have one or more loaded and unlocked firearms in their home.

According to the report, an estimated 393 million firearms are owned by civilians in America, but little is known about how many Americans actually follow the basic rules of gun safety and the implications for public health.

In the report, ECU faculty members and report co-authors Dr. Ann Rafferty and Dr. Joseph Lee write, "Firearm violence is a serious public health issue and firearm presence and safe storage are key components.

You can read the entire report by clicking on the related link."

Reported on WITN.com

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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.