East Carolina University is starting a multi-disciplinary program to address social, health and economic disparities between rural and urban parts of the state.
ECU’s Rural Prosperity Initiative will seek to leverage the university's medical, dental, and public health programs.
"The ultimate goal is that a child that is living in eastern North Carolina, or rural North Carolina, has the same mobility and opportunities in education as those living in the Research Triangle or Charlotte,” said Jay Golden, ECU’s Vice Chancellor for Research, Economic Development and Engagement. “That parents that are looking for jobs in rural North Carolina or across the country have the same opportunities as those living in cities and that the health care and the preventative health and the life expectancies are the same."
Golden said the goal is to not only create jobs or just focus on education.
“Rather, we need a pan-university, an inter-disciplinary approach where we take physicians, clinicians, with educators, with life science, physical science, social sciences and really think through in a holistic manner," he said.
Officials say the initiative eventually will be housed on ECU’s Millennial Campus, which is slated to be up and running by 2021.