New state budget allows for new construction of medical education on ECU

GREENVILLE, NC – East Carolina University and Brody School of Medicine may move forward with a new medical education building after Gov. Roy Cooper signed the state budget on Thursday.

Included in the state budget are funds for a new medical training building at ECU. The state budget provides $ 21.5 million in fiscal year 2021-22 and $ 53.75 million in FY2022-23 from the state capital and infrastructure fund for the planning and construction of a new medical education building with a total authorization of $ 215 million.

“This is a landmark moment for the future of rural health care and medical education in our state and region,” ECU Chancellor Philip Rogers said Thursday. “We are grateful to Heads of State for investing in our courageous and innovative mission to ensure access to culturally competent, high-quality care through a hassle-free delivery system and a better quality of life for people in the East.”

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The state’s decision to fund a new medical education building for East Carolina University highlights the difference that the Brody School of Medicine is making across North Carolina.

“The impact this new facility will have on patient care, education, research and regional health is immense,” said Dr. Michael Waldrum, dean of the Brody School of Medicine and CEO of Vidant Health. “The new classrooms, clinical rooms, laboratories and technology will allow our faculty to build on the tradition of expertise at the Brody School of Medicine as we train the next generation of North Carolina physicians to provide care in our region and across by the state. ”

The School of Medicine was founded nearly 50 years ago to increase the supply of primary care physicians serving North Carolina, improve the health status of eastern North Carolina, and improve the access of minorities and disadvantaged students to medical education.

Brody consistently ranks No. 1 in North Carolina – and in the top 10% nationally – for trained physicians who practice in the state, practice primary care, and practice in medically underserved areas. It also ranks in the top 10% nationally for graduating blacks and Native American doctors.

“We appreciate that the legislature and the governor recognize that Brody is a significant contributor to the state’s health care, especially the health care of people in the East, and a leader in creating a diverse health workforce,” said Dr. Jason Higginson, Dean of the Brody School of Medicine.

In addition to the financing of the new medical training building, the budget includes the following items specific to the ECU:

  • Support for rural residency program: Provides $ 2.95 million recurring to the Brody School of Medicine for the Rural Residency Program, which places medical residents in rural areas for more than 50% of their education. This program promotes rural education by forming partnerships that have been shown to result in a high proportion of graduates choosing to provide care in areas of deprivation. This year, the program supports two medical residents in both Duplin and Hertford counties; these residents will spend the second part of their training in Pitt County. By FY2025-26, 27 medical residents will be supported through this program in the counties of Duplin, Hertford and Halifax.
  • Extension of NC-STEP (North Carolina Statewide Telepsychiatry Program): Provides $ 1.5 million in one-time funding to the ECU Center for Telepsychiatry and e-Behavioral Health for the NC-STEP program to respond to COVID-19 by providing virtual psychiatric assessments and patient consultations.
  • ECU repairs and renovations: Provides $ 82,535,134 for repairs and renovations on more than 45 proposed projects at the university.

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