UNC Pembroke graduates will soon have a direct pipeline to the Public Health degree programs at East Carolina University.
Leaders from both institutions this week signed a memorandum of understanding, which will provide an easier path for UNCP graduates to matriculate to degree and certificate programs offered by ECU’s Department of Public Health.
ECU offers a Master of Public Health and Doctor of Public Heath degrees, and an online certificate.
The agreement will enable faculty from both institutions to work together on research and educational initiatives with a shared goal to enhance the health of citizens in eastern North Carolina and across the state through research, education and service.
Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings and Provost David Ward joined Mark Stacy, dean of ECU’S Brody School of Medicine, at a signing ceremony on the East Carolina University campus on Thursday.
“This partnership is yet another example of how UNCP students can ‘Get there from Here,’” said Dr. Ward. “Not only does this collaboration create a new and exciting educational pathway for our students, it is a pathway that will likely lead to a healthier southeastern North Carolina.”
“This is a good step in the right direction in the broader vision of the College of Health Sciences,” said Dr. Angela McDonald, interim dean of the College of Health Sciences,” who was also in attendance.
“We are going to be continuing to look at new programs to add as well as more partnerships for the purpose of being able to help train students to be the workforce that the region needs.”
The partnership program will streamline the application process for UNCP graduates from programs in science-related disciplines. They will also be prioritized when considered for a graduate or research assistantship.
“Graduate assistantships are a big deal,” she said. “They enable our students to work really closely with ECU faculty to do research, presentations and publications.”
Stacy, who also serves interim vice chancellor for the Division of Health Science, was joined flanked at the ceremony with students and faculty from ECU’s MPH Program.
“Like all of our system institutions, ECU and UNC Pembroke care deeply about the people in the state of North Carolina,” Stacy said. “Today we are formalizing a partnership that provides educational and research opportunities for our students and faculty, and will align our mutual interests in improving the safety and health for the people in our region.”
Dr. Ronny Bell, a Pembroke native and chair of the Public Health Department at ECU, is thrilled about the opportunity to collaborate with UNCP graduates and faculty.
“We want to provide as many opportunities as possible for UNCP students to come into our program and hopefully go back in their communities and work in public health to address the health disparities and make an impact on the county, region and the state,” Bell said.
“This partnership will allow faculty from UNCP and ECU to collaborate with research and initiatives that will address public health needs throughout the region.
“I am really looking forward to seeing how this will unfold.”
ECU’s Public Health program, McDonald added, is a critical program to be connected with, in that, it is not only focused on developing practitioners, but improving overall population health and impacting issues on a broader level.
“I think this is a great program,” she said. “It is extra special that Ronny has a connection to this community and understands what the region’s needs are. It is great for our students to study at ECU and then come back here to help us apply it here.”
UNCP has a history of collaborative initiatives with ECU, including a pathway to ECU’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program and an Early Assurance Program with the Brody School of Medicine. The latest agreement is another building block aimed at strengthening the health education and research mission shared by both institutions.
Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings (center) is flanked by Dr. Ronny Bell, and Dr. Mark Stacy