School of Nursing Takes Pledge on Opioid Education

Belmont’s School of Nursing recently committed to educating advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) students on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, as part of ongoing efforts to combat prescription drug and opioid abuse across the U.S. The commitment was featured in a White House fact sheet today as part of the White House Champions of Change event on Advancing Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery.

Earlier this month, administration asked the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) member schools with APRN programs to partner on this initiative. Belmont recognizes that opioid abuse is a pressing public health crisis, and it is critical that students receive education on current standards.

Today, AACN’s President and CEO Deborah Trautman, PhD, RN, FAAN, will offer remarks at the White House to recognize the 191 AACN schools that have taken this pledge. “AACN is proud of the rapid response by our membership when the Administration called to help ensure future generations of providers who prescribe opioids for chronic pain are prepared for the critical work ahead,” said Trautman. “We commend academic nursing’s dedication to ensuring our nation’s future providers are prepared to address opioid abuse and overdose using best practices.”

Belmont’s Associate Dean of Nursing Dr. Martha Buckner said the university is committed to ensuring its graduates are prepared to combat the nation’s opioid abuse problem. “As primary care providers, APRNs are well positioned to be part of the solution to opioid abuse, a serious health problem affecting many Tennesseans,” Buckner said. “Our students will receive a firm grounding in best practices for prescribing as outlined in the CDC’s new guidelines.”

Nursing Students Present at Regional, National Summit

AACN Policy summit 2016

L to R: Dr. Martha Buckner, associate
dean of nursing, Rice and Cook

Doctor of Nursing Practice students Angie Cook and Justin Rice were recently selected to attend the AACN Nursing Policy Summit in Washington D.C., two of only four Tennessee nursing students who were selected to attend. During the conference, the students were immersed in didactic program sessions focused on federal policy processes and nursing’s role in professional advocacy. They also visited with legislative staff from Senator Alexander and Corker’s offices to advocate for nursing in patient health improvement.

Following the summit, more than 90 Belmont nursing students participated in the Tennessee Nurses Association Legislative Summit. Undergraduate, RN-BSN and graduate students gathered in the War Memorial Auditorium with other Tennessee nursing students to learn about the state’s legislative processes. This year’s keynote speaker was ANA president Dr. Pam Cipriano.

PT students to collect shoes for underserved children in Nashville

In conjunction with the 2016 APTA NEXT conference being held in Nashville from June 8 through June 11, Belmont University’s School of Physical Therapy is partnering with Shoes4Kids to collect and distribute new athletic shoes and socks to underserved children and their families in the Nashville community.   The goal is to collect 1,300 pairs of shoes to reach the 10,000th  pair of shoes that Shoes4Kids has given out in the last 10 years.

You can help by teaming up with Belmont’s PT students to place collection containers in appropriate stores and clinics, purchasing “NEW” youth athletic shoes (toddler size 1 to adult size 15) to donate, or sending a monetary donation to help purchase shoes.

For more information, contact Dr. Christi Williams ( or student representatives, Kylie Cook, SPT ( or Jade Manning, SPT (

College of Pharmacy Finds Success on “Match Day”

Student pharmacists and alumni claim 32 positions across the U.S.

“Match Day,” the highly anticipated moment when Belmont’s College of Pharmacy soon-to-be-graduates and alumni learn where they’ll spend the next year honing their skills and talents, was a successful day at Belmont as 32 student pharmacists and alumni heard of their acceptance to competitive residency positions across the country. About 3,000 residencies were offered for this year’s American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists match, far fewer than the number of student pharmacists desiring a position.

College of Pharmacy Dean Dr. Phil Johnston said, “Belmont College of Pharmacy has always had an impressive match rate, which can be attributed to enhanced student awareness of career goals and faculty mentoring. It was a happy week to celebrate the success of our students and their futures.  Congratulations to the classes of 2015 and 2016.”

Graduates selected for first-year residencies include Sarah Ayers (Jackson-Madison County Hospital in Jackson, Tennessee), Candace Beam (VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare in Nashville, Tennessee), Bailey Bolten (Erlanger Health Systems in Chattanooga, Tennessee), Tyler Casey (Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee), Ricky Church (Memorial Healthcare System in Chattanooga, Tennessee), Jennifer Collins (University of Chicago Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois), Scott Denno (Tennessee Department of Mental Health in Nashville, Tennessee), Fernando Diggs (Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville, Alabama), Meredith Ervin (Birmingham VA Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama), Chelsea Goodman (Ephriam McDowell Regional Medical Center in Danville, Kentucky), Sarah Hardeman (The Medical Center, Columbus Regional in Columbus, Georgia), Shelby Hood (Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia, Tennessee), Joe Huenecke (University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio), Michelle Kirchbaum (Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama), Jocelyn Mason (University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota), Quyen Nguyen (Cookeville Regional Hospital in Cookeville, Tennessee), Frederick O’Neal (Dignity Health St. Rose Dominican in Henderson, Nevada), Emily Russell (James H. Quillen VA Medical Center in Mountain Home, Tennessee), Kristen Sherlin (University of Louisville Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky), Jennifer Sposito (Parkview Health in Fort Wayne, Indiana), Sara Thompson (VA Caribbean Health Care System in San Juan, Puerto Rico), Erin Todd (Tristar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee), Alexander Tu (National Association of Community Drug Stores), Duy Vu (Dekalb Medical Center in Decatur, Georgia), Danielle Walker (Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee), Katie Wickler (Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro, Tennessee) and Haley Willett (Norton Healthcare in Louisville, Kentucky).

Additionally, of the 22 student pharmacists who matched last spring, five are going on to a second-year residency. Drs. Emily Doss, Meghan Duquette, Elizabeth Jasper, Jocelyn Mason and Nilam Patel will be pursuing second-year residencies in internal medicine, psychiatry (2), infectious disease and cardiology, respectively.

First-year pharmacy residencies provide post-PharmD training in health systems, managed care and community settings, while second-year residencies provide advanced training in a focused area of patient care.

Pharmacy Student receives Dr. Fannie Hewlett Award which Honors Inclusivity and Diversity

In honor of Dr. Fannie Hewlett, Belmont’s first African American graduate, the University created the inaugural Dr. Fannie Hewlett Award and bestowed it upon an undergraduate and graduate student at Wednesday’s annual Scholarship and Awards Day. The award celebrates racial and ethnic diversity by recognizing student courage, leadership and a contribution to a culture of inclusion at Belmont. Its creation is one of the many initiatives from the University’s Welcome Home Team, a committee of faculty, staff and students that explores opportunities and plans strategies to expand racial and ethnic diversity on campus.

Dr. Hewlett grew up in Bay Minette, Alabama, and decided to come to Belmont College, some 420 miles away from her home, after finding a brochure for the school in her mailbox. Though she hadn’t visited the College and didn’t know where Nashville was, she arranged for transportation and embarked on the journey of a lifetime.

After earning her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and English from Belmont in 1970, Hewlett went on to earn her Master of Arts in Clinical and School Psychology from Fisk University in 1975 and her Doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1990. Most recently, Hewlett served as the interim president at Chattanooga State Community College.

Chair of the Welcome Home Team, Vice President and Chief of Staff Dr. Susan West said the University was honored to recognize Dr. Hewlett through the creation of this award. “The Dr. Fannie Hewlett Award celebrates Dr. Hewlett by honoring students who have followed in her footsteps to make powerful change on our campus. It is our privilege to remember the legacy she left at Belmont for many years to come.”

Dr. Hewlett returned to campus in October 2015 for the Welcome Home Team’s inaugural Diversity Week, a week created to celebrate the University’s diversity and inclusivity efforts. While on campus, Hewlett gave a presentation to faculty, staff and students and said, “The people I have met here are the people who have helped me to become what I have become today. For that, I am eternally grateful.”

The Dr. Fannie Hewlett Award will continue to be awarded during the University’s Scholarship and Awards Day each year. For West, the creation of this award is a testament to the great things transpiring on Belmont’s campus. “It means we’re acknowledging our past and taking important steps in the areas of racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion. It further recognizes the essential conversations that are happening in our boardrooms, classrooms and dorm rooms, and Welcome Home Team is honored to assist in facilitating those conversations.”

This year’s award recipients were Tetchi Assaomi (College of Pharmacy) and Kristoff Hart (Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business).

Nursing Instructor Acheives Certified Healthcare Simulation Expert Ranking

 Sara CampInstructor of Nursing Sara Camp recently achieved the Certified Healthcare Simulation Expert (CHSE) rank from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. This certification sets her apart as an expert in the assessment, practice and methodology of simulation and will be instrumental in helping advance the full certification of our simulation program in the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing.

There are over 700 other CHSE professionals from 19 countries; Camp is one of only 16 such professionals in Tennessee.

College of Health Sciences Introduces new major in Public Health

Undergraduate degree seeks to address critical topic of community well-being

This fall Belmont University will begin preparing the next generation of expert community health advocates through the establishment of an undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH). A dynamic field of study and practice credited with saving millions of lives, public health focuses on improving the health of communities and populations by working to develop the conditions and behaviors that contribute to better health for all. Practitioners address a wide range of topics that can include air, water and food standards; vaccine initiatives; tobacco control regulations; highway safety and injury prevention programs; emergency preparedness; and more.

Dr. Cathy Taylor, dean of Belmont’s Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing where the major will be housed, said, “Establishing a Bachelor of Science in Public Health supports our College’s goal to prepare graduates who are compassionate providers and transformational leaders dedicated to service. The need for the content in this program is great, as the health of Americans—and Tennesseans in particular—remains sub-optimal. We suffer illness and premature death at higher rates than other developed countries, and the U.S. economy is at risk due to rising healthcare costs with an unhealthy workforce that has grown less competitive in the global marketplace. Our faculty and students can bring their best science and qualified skills to addressing those issues head on.”

“Tennessee is fortunate to have excellent schools and programs in public health that help meet the increasing demand in our state, nationally and internationally for professionals who are well grounded in population health principles and practice, increasingly understood as being more important even than healthcare to meet the desire we all share for optimal health,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, FACOEM. “We are delighted that Belmont is creating this undergraduate public health program that can meaningfully contribute to this growing emphasis on public health, and I’m grateful to Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher, Dr. Taylor and others at Belmont who have taken this forward looking step in their institutional journey and educational mission. We look forward to working with them to help train an advancing generation of professionals.”

The Belmont program was designed based on accreditation guidelines set forth by the Council on Education in Public Health. The BSPH prepares students for work in positions in a variety of settings including health-related agencies, hospitals, local and state public health departments, academic research centers and institutes, corporate disease management and wellness programs, non-profit agencies, and healthcare businesses and industries. Examples include:

  • Community health outreach worker
  • International health organization or missions program assistant
  • Research assistant with a nonprofit organization
  • Carrying out health-related assessments at construction sites
  • Doing consulting work related to disease prevention
  • Working at a company that does health communication and health marketing
  • Conducting air quality sampling and surveying

Many students with undergraduate degrees in public health go straight on to health-related graduate programs, while some graduates choose to take advantage of government programs to gain more experience before entering the workforce or moving on to graduate study (e.g., serving in the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps or participating in a CDC Training Fellowship such as the Public Health Associate Program, a 1-2 year, paid fellowship).

Belmont’s program will emphasize hands-on field work hours in clinical, research, policy or community health settings at local and international locations. Students in the major will be mentored to achieve personal goals whether they choose employment after their bachelor’s degree or admission into a graduate or professional program. Courses will include explorations in the foundations of public health, epidemiology, environmental health, biostatistics, policy, global health and health economics, among others. Finally, as with all health science programs at Belmont, public health majors will benefit from the ability to work with interdisciplinary teams of students and professional colleagues in nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, pharmacy, social work and health care administration, providing the best possible atmosphere to emulate the challenges and complexities of modern health care.

For more information, visit

Pharmacy Professor Speaks at Healthcare Information Management Systems Society Conference

BlashSmall2College of Pharmacy Assistant Professor Dr. Anthony Blash co-presented at the 2016 Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference in Las Vegas, Nevada with JoAnn W. Klinedinst, M.Ed., CPHIMS, PMP, DES, FHIMSS, vice president of professional development for HIMSS North America.

Blash spoke about the benefits of being a HIMSS Approved Education Partner (AEP) and highlighted the fact that Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy was the first AEP chosen by the HIMSS society.

Attendance at this years’ conference was at a near-record high with over 40,000 attendees. After the conference, the society donated HIMSS conference backpacks to Blash for Belmont University College of Pharmacy students in the Healthcare Informatics concentration. The bags will go to students in a variety of healthcare informatics courses, as well as those who obtain their CAHIMS certification before graduation.

HIMSS is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving healthcare quality, safety, cost-effectiveness and access through the best use of information technology and management systems with 52,000 individual members, 570 corporate members and 225 not-for-profit association members.

Belmont Alumnus featured in Minority Nurse Magazine

LaQuitta Wilkins, a 2012 Belmont alumna and past member of the Women’s Basketball Team, was recently featured as an “In the Spotlight” of Minority Nurse, a magazine, career resource for nurses and the largest dedicated diversity nursing jobs board, according to the organization’s website.

In the spotlight, Wilkins said her time in nursing school was especially challenging as she was also a member of the basketball team. But she stuck to the task and found time to study between games. Wilkins is quoted as saying, “Even when people told me I couldn’t do nursing school and basketball, I did. You can do it even if you face adversity. If you have a positive mindset you can achieve anything.”

Wilkins is a traveling pediatric RN and was recently named Miss Black Alabama 2016.

Belmont’s Masters of Science in Nursing Graduates Achieve 100 Percent Pass Rate for 12th Straight Year

 All graduates of Belmont’s Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) program for Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) have passed the nursing certification exam on their first attempt. The most recent class of 22 graduates passed the exam this spring, making this the 12th consecutive year of 100 percent first-attempt success.

Nursing-ExamAssociate Dean of Nursing and Professor Dr. Martha Buckner said, “This is an amazing accomplishment for these students and Belmont’s program. It gives a clear indication of the quality and rigor of our program, and I could not be more proud of our students and their success. I am especially grateful to Dr. Leslie Higgins, director of Belmont’s Graduate Studies in Nursing, whose leadership of the program for the past 18 years has helped us achieve significant growth and outstanding quality within our graduate nursing programs.”

The School of Nursing began offering its MSN degree 20 years ago and with the creation of the Doctorate of Nursing, the College’s graduate programs have grown to a record enrollment of 88 students in the fall of 2015. Prepared to practice in a variety of settings, FNPs provide primary health care to families and individuals of all ages. Graduates from Belmont’s program have gone on to practice in pediatrics, genetics, family practice and public health, among others.

The advanced practice nursing examination for FNPs is administered by the American Credential Center (ANCC) and validates nursing skills, knowledge and abilities. Since 1990, more than a quarter million nurses have been certified by ANCC and over 80,000 advanced practice nurses are currently certified by the ANCC. The certification is accepted by governing boards throughout the U.S. as well as insurers and the military.