10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Nov 28, 2004
Tobacco Road
Who should go to ECU.... and why....

The people of eastern NC fought a long and difficult battle to get a medical school established in eastern NC. (Many of those opposed were from other schools and regions in NC.) Their mission was to provide primary care physicians to a 29 county region in eastern NC and to provide medical education to minority students.

ECUs mission is very much alive and well. They are producing over 70% primary care docs (UNC 2004 51%, Duke 30-plus percent). Also, a LOT stay in NC and eastern NC. Compare to the hemorrhage of students from the other 3 NC schools who leave to go to CA, MA, FL, NY etc.

Why do they succeed? It begins with the admissions committee seeking people who are dedicated to primary care, and who have super-strong ties to NC.

Why eastern NC? If you look at 2000 census data, you will find that eastern NC counties still have the highest poverty rates in NC. Pitt Co, where ECU is, has 20% living under the poverty line. Compare: Orange Co 14.1, Durham 13.4, Forsyth 11.1 Cabarrus 7.1 (lowest in state) When I moved here I was very biased towards my home region west of here. But the truth is, this part of the state has much higher poverty rates. I remember going to home visits in trailers without indoor plumbing, no heat and air, and with holes in the roof and floors. True third world poverty can be found right here at home.

Other eastern Cos: Halifax 23.9 Robeson 22.8%

This site also has education rates and stats like incomplete plumbing and lack of phones or electricity.

Poverty, lack of access to care, lack of education and poor health care are a way of life for so many people in eastern NC. It is not glamorous like Charlotte or trendy like Asheville. (Believe me, I love those places, too!) It is a sometimes harsh place, and so few NC-educated physicians wanted to come here in the past and the need was so great they fought to get the school.

No doubt, the school was needed. There is actually a book about this struggle, and reading it might help you gain perspective on the mission of the school. Ask the admissions folks or the ECU library if interested.

If you want to be a plastic surgeon in Florida, or a neurosurgeon in Boston, please don't take a precious seat in the class. We do have a couple each year who sneak in, but they are not the rule. Go to UNC or Duke or Wake... they would be a better fit, anyways.

The mission of ECU is pure and good, and the people here still need primary care docs who are willing to get in the trenches (it isn't pretty or lucrative) and fight for them HERE. If you "get it" and this is your passion, if you think you are up to the job, please join us!


Sally 2.0
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Oct 6, 2004
Strawberry Field
Nice post. It would be nice if the western region of the state got a school with the same mission and dedication as ECU has to primary care physicians and serving areas with great need.

It also would be nice for ECU to up its class size. :D Just a thought.


Senior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 20, 2004
Medical Student
You know what? I would have loved to join ECU's medical school class. In fact, I would have loved to join their class for the past two years. I feel I would have made an excellent addition to their class as well. My MCAT and GPA are 30/3.85, well above their average of 26/3.5, and I planned on practicing in eastern NC since I've been living here for the past 5 years. Unfortunately, their admissions committee didn't feel that way, since I received rejection letters during the first week of January both of the past 2 years -- the earliest date they can reject you post-interview.

Now I can't help but feel cheated in this process of their's. Especially considering that I met with Dr. Peden to talk about my application, and all he said was that I needed some more non-healthcare volunteer work. So I spent the past year volunteering at Habitat for Humanity. A lot of good it did me.

After seeing the way their admissions people blatantly LIE to your face, and pretend to give you a fair shot, I have absolutely ZERO respect for ECU. At no other medical school are you forced to be part of some predetermined "club" to even be considered for admission. I'm sorry I wasn't born an URM, in Eastern NC, or in some rural area. But that shouldn't exclude me from getting into my state medical school. ECU gets it's funding from ALL the residents of NC, so it should be forced to serve ALL the residents of NC. It makes me want to puke just thinking about that person with a 22 MCAT and 3.0 GPA who got into ECU just because he or she met the admissions committee's "qualifications," which should be illegal according to the United States constitution.

The mission of ECU may be pure and good, but they way they go about fulfilling that mission is just plain WRONG.