GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The UNC Board of Governors on Thursday approved a move to merge the Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Health to create ECU Health.

The approval by the Board of Governors was unanimous.

“This is a monumental day for health care in Eastern North Carolina, Chairman Randy Ramsey said about the merger.

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Officials said in a release from ECU News Services that clinical integration will “more effectively and efficiently address current issues facing the region, such as health disparities and care delivery obstacles, while also better anticipating future health care and educational needs.”

Under the agreement, the Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Health will retain their separate legal entities but will function collaboratively under a shared brand launching in 2022, known as ECU Health. Most Vidant entities and ECU Physicians will operate under the new brand, while the Brody School of Medicine’s name will not change.

The terms of the agreement are effective Jan. 1, 2022.

“Today’s approval by the UNC Board of Governors allows ECU and Vidant to begin the detailed work to launch a clinically integrated academic health system. We are grateful for their support as we work together to provide quality health care for the residents of eastern North Carolina,” Chancellor Philip Rogers said. “This agreement represents an important milestone in the long-standing affiliation between two entities bound by the same mission as we become ECU Health.”

There are no changes to the employment status or benefits of current employees – and no assets are exchanged – as a result of the joint operating agreement approval.