Health Sciences at Belmont University


Social Work students honored at Belmont University Awards Day

scholarship-awards-2014-105In a ceremony marked by numerous standing ovations, students and faculty were honored this week during the University's annual Scholarship and Awards Day convocation. All of the awards given reflected Belmont’s mission and commitment to scholarship, service and leadership.

In one of the most moving presentations, graduating senior and social work major Matthew Thompson was awarded the John Williams Heart of Belmont Award, which is given to a student committed to Belmont’s values including innovation, persistence, advocacy for change, community development and service. Before coming to Belmont, Thompson served in the Navy on the USS George Washington for five years.  In 2005, he enlisted in the Army where he served an additional four years and afterwards completed one year of service in the Tennessee National Guard. After 10 years of service and three deployments, he was honorably discharged and began pursuing a degree at Belmont.

ElenaHarmonAn intern at Operation Stand Down, Thompson has been integral in the development of veterans services on campus and developed an intercollegiate student veteran coalition that spans six universities across Middle Tennessee. Thompson’s mission is to continue on to a career path that assists veterans who are transitioning from military service into civilian life. In his own words, his “biggest motivation has never been to be recognized but to instead encourage and inspire others to step forward and contribute.”

Another social work major, Elena Harmon, was the recipient of The Third Year Award for Leadership.


Nursing Students, Faculty Support March of Dimes

Nursing students pictured left to right are Tiffany Jenkins, Erin Pettepher, Patrick Haltom, Emily Graehler and Elaine Seneff.

Nursing students pictured left to right are Tiffany Jenkins, Erin Pettepher, Patrick Haltom, Emily Graehler and Elaine Seneff.

Belmont School of Nursing students and faculty participated in the March of Dimes March for Babies on April 13 at LP Field. The walk raises awareness and funding for the March of Dimes work to support community programs that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies. The March of Dimes also funds research to find answers to the problems that threaten babies. The March for Babies has been going since 1970 and raised over $2 billion. Nine nursing students and two faculty members participated in the walk. The students were led by senior Patrick Haltom and were sponsored by Assistant Professor of Nursing Angela Lane and Instructor of Nursing Barb Padovich. The Belmont Nursing team raised $1,160 for March of Dimes.


Social Work students look to influence state legislators

Social work juniors in Dr. Jennifer Crowell’s Policy II class recently participated in Social Work Day on the Hill at the Tennessee Legislative Plaza.  They met with legislators, observed committee meetings and participated in a policy presentation and poster competition. Prior to the Day on the Hill, students worked in class to identify bills under consideration at the state level, and analyze the bills in the context of social work values, ethics and populations served, and then made recommendations on how to improve the bills they had studied.  This collective work led the class to identify one topic to focus on for the policy presentation, the issue of Human Trafficking in Tennessee.  At Day on the Hill, junior Christi Sidwell was selected as Belmont’s representative to speak in front of a crowd of students, faculty and social workers from across the state about Senate Bill 1655 and House Bill 1870. Christi spoke passionately about the issue in Tennessee and also about how the bills as proposed could be strengthened to ultimately provide better services and seek justice for people in Tennessee who have been trafficked.  The hard work of all the students was recognized when Belmont University was announced the winner of the undergraduate competition.

Bryan Griffith, a junior social work major at Belmont, said, “Social Work Day on the Hill gave me great insight into how our state’s policies are influenced by social workers by people who see and experience social issues firsthand. I got to sit in on a committee hearing and see how research based on the reports of people who work directly with (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) families can be presented to the representatives who write laws about (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) eligibility. It was an exciting experience for me because I really got to see how legislature works. Only so much can be understood about how our government functions through reading from a textbook. If more people were to take a trip to legislative plaza, meet their representative, and observe their representative’s interactions with other members of the general assembly and organizations, we might have a better understanding of our legislature’s behavior.”



Pharmacy professor published in education journal

HahnSmallDr. Lindsay Hahn, assistant professor of pharmacy, recently had a manuscript published in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education (AJPE).  The article reviewed the development and implementation of a solid organ transplant elective course for second- and third-year pharmacy students, assessing the course’s impact on their knowledge in the management of medications, adverse effects, and complications in organ transplantation patients.  Dr. Hahn concluded that course participants  significantly improved their confidence and knowledge regarding solid organ transplantation and became open to exploring careers or residencies in this area.  The full manuscript can be found on the AJPE website.


College of Pharmacy leads first health-focused immersion to Guatemala

pharm-spring-breakThe College of Pharmacy partnered with University Ministries for an international spring break Immersion trip geared towards health professional and pre-health professions students. The team was comprised of four faculty and staff members, one professional medical interpreter, eight undergraduate students with an interest or major in healthcare-related fields and two fourth-year pharmacy students. Together they provided diabetes, asthma and vision screenings, as well as nutrition, hygiene and first-aid education to migrant workers at Finca la Azotea coffee plantation, in Antigua, Guatemala. Additionally, the team spent one day working with at Escuela Proyecto la Esperanza, an non-governmental organization school for underprivileged children assessing height weight, and vision percentile projections.

Immersion activities included learning about the processes of growing, harvesting, roasting and packaging coffee, grocery shopping in a neighborhood market, visiting a private university, Universidad Francisco Marroquín, touring the Moore Pediatric Surgery Center and attending religious services on Ash Wednesday.

“The impact we may have had from simply educating the plantation employees may save lives one day. We had a few patients share they had family members who died or had been in danger because they did not know basic first-aid.  According to our partner in Guatemala, who initiated and helped organize this trip, many other coffee plantations are now expressing interest in collaborating with Belmont to provide similar services at their locations in the future,” said Jordan Tarter, a fourth-year pharmacy student.

This established and ongoing partnership in Guatemala directly complements the College of Pharmacy’s and Belmont’s overall commitment to missions. This is evidenced by the ability of pharmacy and undergraduate students from varied programs to concentrate their experiential learning in missions or public health, if they so choose. It also provides an opportunity to explore interdisciplinary learning and collaboration, as students representing a variety of health and pre-health professional fields combine in one immersion experience.


PT professor leads doctoral students in concussion study

SellsSmallDr. Pat Sells, associate professor of physical therapy, and a group of doctoral PT students from Belmont University are in the midst of conducting research on how multiple sub-concussive hits affect children ages 5 to 12.  The research team has enlisted The Brentwood Blaze, a youth football organization, for study participants, and those efforts were recently featured in an article on the Brentwood Home Page.  The article, written by Jonathan Romeo, is linked here with an excerpt below.


Belmont student honored as Social Work Student of the Year by local organization

ThompsonMediumMatthew Thompson, a senior Social Work student at Belmont University, recently was honored as the undergraduate Student of the Year by the Middle Tennessee branch of the National Association of Social Workers.  The award honors a student who has created a positive influence on classmates for the profession, and maintained academic achievement.

“Matt has demonstrated a tremendous aptitude for scholarship and scholastic activity,” said Dr. Sabrina Sullenberger, Social Work Department Chairperson.  She adds, “He is also a dedicated and courageous individual, respected and valued by his colleagues and peers.”

Thompson is a decorated Army veteran and a bronze star recipient who served honorably in the Middle East and Persian Gulf in 2002 and then was again deployed in Iraq in 2007.   He was the recipient of a competitive national fellowship through The Mission Continues, in which he was awarded a 10 month grant designed to provide a stipend for veterans working in social service fields.  He was one of 80 grantees from a field of just under 2200.

Thompson has deep and abiding commitment to the needs of veterans in the community. 


Pharmacy professor earns Healthcare Information, Management certifications

BlashSmall2Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice Dr. Anthony Blash is now certified, (CPHIMS and CAHIMS) by examination, in the area of health care informatics.  Faculty with these credentials continuously set Belmont College of Pharmacy apart as an institution where student pharmacists can pursue a concentration that prepares them for specialization in the practice of pharmacy.

Certified Professional in Healthcare Information & Management Systems (CPHIMS)  CPHIMS is a professional certification program for healthcare information and management systems professionals. Many organizations require candidates have this internationally recognized certification and are encouraging existing employees to obtain the certification. 


Belmont Announces Formation of Tennessee Healthcare Hall of Fame

McWhorter Hall

First inductees to be announced at McWhorter Society Luncheon May 1

With a mission to honor men and women who have made significant and lasting contributions to the healthcare industry, Belmont University announced today the formation of a new Tennessee Healthcare Hall of Fame. Sponsored by Belmont’s McWhorter Society, the Healthcare Hall of Fame will announce its first inductees at the McWhorter Society Annual Luncheon on May 1 on Belmont’s campus.

Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns, co-chair of the McWhorter Society, said, “Tennessee has become a premier hub for healthcare and healthcare education in the United States. It’s only appropriate that we recognize and honor the countless men and women who have contributed to the growth of the industry, creating ever higher standards for patient care and well-being. With Belmont’s strong interdisciplinary programming in nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, healthcare business and pharmacy, we’re proud to host this new Tennessee Healthcare Hall of Fame as these leaders can inspire our students for generations to come.”


Belmont pharmacy students featured in Tennessean article

March 19, 2014

Guatemala trip is life-changing for Belmont pharmacy students

By Mignonne Bryant

Gena CurlIn a Guatemalan hotel, 23-year-old Belmont University student Gena Curl carefully unpacked all that she had brought from Nashville. A wave of doubts swept across her mind: “Am I going to be able to do this? I’m by myself in the pharmacy. Can I handle this?” Curl knew no one in this foreign place and barely spoke the local language, but the experience changed her life forever.

In October 2013, Curl traveled to Guatemala City as a fourth-year pharmacy student to provide free services at the Moore Pediatric Surgery Center — an opportunity offered by Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy, which partners with the Shalom Foundation and BUCOP Medical Missions.

According to Phil Johnston, dean of the pharmacy school at Belmont, roughly 25 students go each year to one of two locations: the surgery center in Guatemala City or a clinic on a coffee plantation in Antigua. Both locations are enabled by the Shalom Foundation. The building in Guatemala was remodeled and created as a surgery center by people from Nashville.