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Coaching program proven to support new teachers, increase retention

For 12 years, the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP) has supported beginning teachers in their first years in the field. With the current teacher shortage, this support has proven more important than ever.

Data from evaluations conducted by the Friday Institute have shown that the NC NTSP improves teacher retention rates at the school, local educational agency (LEA) and state levels. In the 2020-21 academic year, 1,046 teachers were served; on average, 89% planned to return to teaching and 51% said that NC NTSP was one of the factors in their decision to stay. In the survey, teachers said that NC NTSP coaches helped improve their instruction, confidence, planning, knowledge, skills and virtual teaching ability.

The main program office is located on East Carolina University’s campus with additional partnerships with Appalachian State University, Fayetteville State University, NC State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and Western Carolina University.

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NOTE: Please contact Kristen Martin by email at to request an interview.

Potential medical marijuana approval in North Carolina

A bill to legalize medical marijuana has been approved by the N.C. Senate and will now move on to House members for consideration and possibly the governor’s office for approval.

East Carolina University’s Dr. Brenda Wells is available to talk with reporters about the effects of the proposed legislation.

Wells is the Robert F. Bird Distinguished Professor of Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) and the director of the RMI program in ECU’s College of Business. She’s the author of Marijuana Legalization: Implications for Property/Casualty Insurance, an article that catapulted her in the spotlight as an expert on marijuana legalization.

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NOTE: Please contact Michael Rudd by email at or call 252-737-4574 to request an interview with Wells.

Disruption and the future of the global supply chain

The pandemic brought two relatively obscure words into the forefront of our collective consciousness: Supply chain. Supply chain disruptions, shipping delays, port congestion and product shortages continue to plague global economies, and the news remains grim. Indeed, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell recently stated that COVID-19 disruptions to global supply chains may continue to push prices up through 2022 and possibly into 2023.

ECU supply chain management experts Dr. Jon F. Kirchoff and John F. Kros discuss if the pandemic can be a catalyst for revolutionizing the supply chain.

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NOTE: Please contact Michael Rudd by email at or call 252-737-4574 to request an interview with Roper or Sousan.

ECU researchers discover new way to detect coronavirus through building ventilation systems

Researchers at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine have found a new way to detect the virus that causes COVID-19 by testing the air passing through building ventilation systems. The discovery could lead to earlier detection of the virus, improved quarantine protocols, reduced transmission and fewer outbreaks.

Dr. Sinan Sousan, an assistant professor in Brody’s Department of Public Health and Research Faculty at North Carolina Agromedicine Institute, and expert of environmental and occupational airborne exposure, and Dr. Rachel Roper, a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology with an extensive background studying coronaviruses, spearheaded the effort to learn whether SARS-CoV-2 could be detected through the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in student dorms.

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NOTE: Please email or call 252-328-6482 to request an interview with Roper or Sousan.

ECU taking health care, COVID-19 vaccines on the road

Teams of health care providers from East Carolina University have been traveling throughout eastern North Carolina to provide mobile health care screenings and COVID-19 vaccines to those in rural and under-resourced areas.

So far, the vans and their teams, which include providers and volunteers from all over the ECU Division of Health Sciences as well as community partners, have been to seven counties, conducted nearly a dozen health screening events and administered more than 1,000 COVID-19 vaccinations.

Brody School of Medicine physicians Dr. Paul Bolin and Dr. Paul Shackelford are available to speak to media about increasing access to health care throughout the East.

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NOTE: Please email or call 252-328-6482 to request an interview with Bolin or Shackelford.

ECU helps older adults plan for the road ahead

As baby boomers age, some are outliving their ability to drive. That’s why it’s important to have a transportation plan, and East Carolina University occupational therapists are helping older drivers plan for continued independence — with or without a driver’s license.

Dr. Anne Dickerson in the College of Allied Health Sciences has been doing research on older drivers for more than 25 years. She says transportation planning is as important as planning for retirement, because people outlive their driving ability by six to 10 years.

Changes in eyesight or other medical conditions can result in a recommendation to restrict or cease driving, impairing quality of life and participation in activities. Having a plan for using other means of transportation can reduce this decline for older adults.

Dr. Lynne Murphy, ECU assistant professor of occupational therapy, is leading a study with older drivers on transportation planning.

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NOTE: Please email or call 252-328-6482 to request an interview with Dickerson or Murphy.

New research from ECU suggests Blackbeard ran the QAR aground on purpose

It has long been speculated by historians that the notorious pirate Blackbeard may have intentionally run his ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR), aground off the coast of North Carolina in 1718.

New research from East Carolina University’s Jeremy Borrelli supports this theory and suggests that Blackbeard may have indeed landed on the sand bar near Beaufort intentionally because the vessel was beyond repair.

Borrelli, a staff archaeologist in the Department of History’s Maritime Studies program, found the ship had major leaks that were repaired with lead sheathing by studying artifacts from the 300-year-old shipwreck.

Read more about Borrelli’s work.

NOTE: Please email or call 252-328-6482 for more information or to request an interview.