School of Physical Therapy Hosts Shoes4Kids Drive

Each year, Shoes4Kids conducts a shoe drive in conjunction with the American Physical Therapy Association’s annual conference, NEXT, to provide new athletic shoes and socks to under-privileged and under-served children in the host city. This year’s conference took place in Nashville, providing Belmont University’s School of Physical Therapy with the privilege of hosting the Shoes4Kids event.

As host school, the Doctor of Physical Therapy students were responsible for collecting, inventorying, purchasing and transporting hundreds of shoes for the event. The Belmont PT students, along with faculty sponsor Dr. Christi Williams (‘05), collected over 800 pairs of new tennis shoes and socks, which were then distributed in the Nashville community with the assistance of Catholic Charities of Nashville. Students, joined by volunteers, formed the “Shoe Crew” and fit children with their new shoes and socks.

Kylie Cook (’16) and Jade Manning (’17) led the student team and presented the results of the shoe drive at the APTA House of Delegates. Brad Thuringer, founder of the Shoes4Kids program, said, “I am daily reminded how fortunate I am to be part of such a wonderful profession and organization made up of such amazing people… You have such an amazing group of students. The best that I have worked with yet!”

College of Health Sciences and Nursing Hosts Health Care Academy

Belmont’s College of Health Sciences and Nursing recently hosted a one-day session for high school students interested in pursuing careers in health care through the 2016 Maury Academy for Students in Health (MASH).

A two-week summer camp for local students, MASH included individual sessions designed to expose participants to diverse areas of medicine and health care. Students interacted with health care expects including physicians, registered nurses, medical & radiologic technologists, respiratory therapists and pharmacists to learn about physical assessment, casting, suturing, medical terminology and more.

In a post-survey of their experiences at Belmont, one student commented on the University’s use of technology throughout its curriculum saying, “I enjoyed working with the mannequins. They were super cool! I did not know that our world had that advanced of technology. It is quite amazing.”

School of Physical Therapy receives 10-year reaccreditation

Belmont University’s School of Physical Therapy was recently granted a 10-year reaccreditation term by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). This is the maximum length of time granted by the Commission and is reserved for programs that have demonstrated compliance with established criteria and excellent program outcomes.

Focused on the continued improvement of physical therapy education across the country, CAPTE requires programs to engage in a self-study to demonstrate compliance and submit it for review. Additionally, a team of CAPTE reviewers conducts an onsite assessment of the program. The findings of the self-study and the on-site review team are then reviewed by the Commission for determination of accreditation status. This year-long process (undertaken by Department Chair Renee Brown, PhD, PT and the entire physical therapy faculty and staff) included students, graduates, employers, clinical instructors and the Program Advisory committee.

The School of Physical Therapy’s 10-year reaccreditation was awarded on May 4 with no areas of non-compliance or areas for improvement cited. Additionally, the Commission commended the program for the quality of the self-study. The awarding of 10-year reaccreditation indicates that CAPTE recognized the high quality of the program, the caliber of the faculty and staff and the accomplishments of students and graduates.

Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Nursing Dr. Cathy Taylor said, “This is a remarkable accomplishment and well-deserved recognition for Dr. Brown and our exceptional PT faculty, staff, students and graduates.”

Pharmacy Fellow Certifies with HIMSS

Kate ClaussenBelmont College of Pharmacy and Aegis Sciences Corporation Clinical Scientist Fellow Dr. Kate Claussen recently became certified by examination in health care informatics. The Certified Associate in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CAHIMS) is a new Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) health IT certification designed for emerging professionals within the industry.

This certification demonstrates knowledge of health IT and management systems, facilitates entry-level careers in health IT and is designed to be a career pathway to the Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS) credential.

Belmont’s sponsor of the CAHIMS certification initiative is Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Informatics and Analytics Anthony Blash, Pharm.D., BCompSc, CPHIMS. Blash has created a three-course sequence of classes to prepare Belmont student pharmacists for healthcare informatics and to sit for the CAHIMS certification. The college saw its first students certify at the CAHIMS level in 2015 and expects 20-30 students to certify each year moving forward. Blash has also been invited to teach a “Boot Camp” intensive version of the CAHIMS review at the 2016 Healthcare Summit of the Southeast in September. The conference is sponsored by the Tennessee Chapter of HIMSS and will be held in Nashville.

“Nashville is considered by many to be home to the U.S. healthcare industry, with nearly 300 companies providing healthcare synergies found in few other places.” said Blash. “If your interests lie in healthcare and informatics, our program stands apart. With experiential rotation sites at the headquarters of the largest healthcare organizations in the world, faculty with experiences in the corporate boardrooms of many American healthcare companies and a pharmacy/healthcare informatics experience facilitated by the immediate past national chairman of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ Educational Steering Committee on Informatics and Technology, our faculty represents the pinnacle of teaching experience. As an HIMSS Education Partner, Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy becomes the only pharmacy school in the world with a healthcare informatics concentration leading to an internationally recognized certification in healthcare informatics which may be obtained before experiential rotations, residency inquiries and job searches begin.”

College of Pharmacy sends group to Honduras for medical mission

A group of faculty and students from Belmont University College of Pharmacy recently traveled to Honduras as part of the Baptist Medical Dental Mission Trip. Drs. Adam Pace and Leela Kodali and Noah Vasilakes and Brittany Hayes, two 4th year pharmacy students, joined a team of 20 medical professionals for the trip.

The team set up a medical clinic, dentistry clinic and pharmacy in a schoolhouse in Naguaterique, a rural mountain community on the El Salvadorian border and saw more than 1500 patients. About 5800 prescriptions were dispensed through the pharmacy, 223 teeth were pulled by the dentist for 117 dental patients and 325 pairs of eyeglasses were distributed. Additionally, 64 individuals professed a new found faith in Jesus or expressed a renewal of their Christian commitment during the church services and through personal evangelism at the medical stations.

Pace oversaw the setup and operation of the dispensing pharmacy while Kodali provided clinical pharmacy services in the medical clinic by answering providers’ questions about medications and making recommendations on drug therapy.

As part of their advanced pharmacy practice experience, Vasilakes and Hayes split their time between the pharmacy and the clinic. This experience was designed for them to compare and contrast the provision of pharmacy services during a mission trip in Honduras to that of a Nashville patient population.

Vasilakes said, “The Honduras medical mission trip was a wonderful opportunity to use my pharmacy skills and knowledge outside of my comfort zone. It amazed me what our team was able to do in only a few days when teaming with the Hondurans who were incredibly friendly, helpful and welcoming. It was a blessing to be able to provide care to people who otherwise likely would not receive it, and I am so thankful for being provided with this chance to share the love of God through healthcare.”

Hayes added, “Traveling to Honduras gave me the opportunity to not only learn more about myself and the type of practitioner I want to be, but also allowed me to learn about an entirely different culture. The Honduran people were warm, welcoming and grateful for any and all assistance we provided. Although a language barrier existed, a smile and kind eyes created a patient-provider bond that ended the consultations with hugs and trust. I will never forget one particular patient who spoke about the renewed love of God she found that day through the generosity of the mission. As our eyes teared up, she thanked me and blessed me for everything she had been given that day. What she didn’t know was that she and the other patients gave me a renewed love of God as well. Healing begins with the soul and I find myself blessed to have been able to contribute to the physical and spiritual healing in Naguaterique.”

Pharmacy professor leads antibiotic stewardship program at Williamson Medical Center recognized in national report

WilliamsMediumDr. Montgomery Williams, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice, is providing leadership to an effort at Williamson Medical Center (WMC) in Franklin, Tennessee to curb unnecessary antibiotic use, an initiative recently recognized in a report published by The Pew Charitable Trusts.  Dr. Williams was quoted earlier this week by The Tennessean in a story about the success of the antibiotic program.

Dr. Williams serves at Williamson Medical Center as part of her teaching responsibilities at Belmont University College of Pharmacy, educating PharmD students in their advanced practice experiences at the medical center during their final year of study.   As an internal medicine and antibiotic stewardship pharmacist at WMC, she provides extensive training in general medicine to students throughout the year as they complete month-long rotations at the medical center.  Like all Pharmacy Practice faculty in the College of Pharmacy, Dr. Williams divides her time between the classroom at Belmont and her community site where she mentors student pharmacists who are near completion of their doctoral degree.  Those students participate in the antibiotic program during their rotation with Dr. Williams.

At Williamson Medical Center, where Dr. Williams has practiced for the past six years, she is the co-chair of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program along with Dr. Shaefer Spires, an antibiotic stewardship physician and hospital epidemiologist.  Other health professionals involved in the program at WMC include Dr. Courtney (Curtis) Sutton, pediatric pharmacist (2013 PharmD graduate from Belmont); Dr. Michael Wright, critical care pharmacist; and Dr. Tracey Bastian, clinical pharmacy manager.  In her role as chair, Dr. Williams coordinates ongoing efforts to evaluate how the hospital prescribes antibiotics and work with physicians in developing appropriate treatment plans for patients.   “Presenting recommendations to physicians can be challenging — you really have to work together as a team,”  Williams said in the Tennessean. “We always want what’s best for the patient.”

Also quoted in the Tennessean was Dr. David Hyun, senior officer of Pew Charitable Trusts’ antibiotic resistance project, which published the report. “Williamson Medical Center is a great example of how a program can be tailored to the needs of a community hospital,” said Hyun, who developed and co-chaired a stewardship program at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.  “Efforts to use antibiotics appropriately are not only about reducing resistance but ensuring patients get the right care.”

The full report can be found at http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/reports/2016/04/a-path-to-better-antibiotic-stewardship-in-inpatient-settings.

Belmont University School of Nursing Named on Top 50 List

Belmont’s School of Nursing was recently included on NursingSchoolsAlmanac.com’s top nursing schools list for 2016. With data collected from 3,200 institutions across the nation, 10 percent of schools are included on the organization’s list.

Belmont was ranked No. 28 in the “Top 50 School in the Southeast” (top 3 percent of schools considered) and No. 62 among private nursing schools on the “Top 100 Nursing Schools” list (in the top 5 percent of all schools considered) .

College of Health Sciences & Nursing and College of Pharmacy Collaborate on Interprofessional Lab Simulation

Belmont’s School of Nursing and College of Pharmacy recently collaborated to demonstrate and educate students on their crucial roles in preventing medical errors. Collaboration and communication between health care professionals has been identified as one of the most important aspects of reducing errors and Belmont’s collaborative partnerships illustrates the University’s commitment to preparing its students for their careers.

The inaugural pilot program’s coordinator Dr. Anthony Blash, assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy said the collaboration between nurses and pharmacists allows for identification of potential medication errors, furthering the field’s ability to eliminate errors. Some of the technology available at the bedside to prevent errors and promote patient safety includes medication dispensing cabinets, electronic health records, patient identification through electronic scanners and infusion safety software that provides “dose error reduction.” Each of these is utilized in Belmont’s School of Nursing but, prior to this pilot, pharmacy students and nursing had not collaborated in the reduction of medical errors.

(L to R: Drs. Blash and Hallmark)

L to R: Drs. Blash and Hallmark

Blash and Dr. Beth Fentress Hallmark, director of simulation in the College of Health Sciences & Nursing, provided simulation-based education to first-year pharmacy students in pharmacy’s “Introduction to Drug Information and Informatics” course.

“I know this makes a difference in the professional lives of these pharmacy students,” Hallmark said. “The most powerful comment was when one of the students said she did not realize that nursing students knew so much about medication. Dr. Blash said it best when he talked about the ‘us’ vs ‘them’ mentality in healthcare and how it must be a ‘we’ mentality… this is what prevents medical error.”

Several nursing, business and pharmacy faculty participated in this initiative including Sara Camp, Jean Blank, PJ Ambrefe, Victoria Buechel, Dr. Tammy Legge, Dr. David Wyant and Dr. Kate Claussen.

Nursing Alumnus Honored with Vanderbilt’s Founder’s Medal

Jessica Walker, a Belmont School of Nursing alumnus, was recently honored as a Founder’s Medalist for Vanderbilt School of Nursing where she graduated with her Master’s of Science in Nursing in Vanderbilt’s Psychiatric-Mental Heath Nurse Practitioner program.

According to the Vanderbilt website, the Founder’s Medals have been given since 1877 to the top graduates from each school at the University, in honor of the awards’ benefactor Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Since being at Vanderbilt, Walker received the American Psychiatric Nurses Association Board of Directors Student Scholarship, served as president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and was very involved locally as she volunteered at Room in the Inn, NAMI of Davidson County and Renewal House. Currently, Walker is enrolled in Vanderbilt’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Program.

Pharmacy Students Earn Certification to Conduct HIV Testing

In an effort to end HIV/AIDS in Tennessee, 17 Belmont University College of Pharmacy students recently volunteered and received intensive training in HIV prevention counseling and testing. The Tennessee Department of Health certified these students who will be using their newly acquired skills to serve communities around Nashville through HIV testing, education and prevention during the annual Walgreens National HIV Testing Days event scheduled for June 23-25.

Dr. Edgar S. Diaz-Cruz is leading the initiative, first started in 2013, and has forged an ongoing partnership between the College of Pharmacy and Nashville Cares, a local non-profit that provides life-saving services to Middle Tennesseans living with HIV/AIDS. Diaz-Cruz said, “I am very proud of our students for volunteering to reach out of their comfort zones to serve the community by bringing attention to HIV/AIDS education. I believe this type of training and personal outreach exposes our students to unique experiences to better serve the public and represent BU.” Since 2013, this partnership has resulted in 44 trained individuals and hundreds of community service outreach hours serving Middle Tennessee.