DNP Students Attend Student Policy Summit in Washington, D.C.

Smith and Porter in front of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.Belmont University Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students Carleigh Smith and Jordan Porter recently attended the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Student Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. During the three-day conference, Smith and Porter were immersed in didactic program sessions focused on the federal policy process and nursing’s role in professional advocacy. Additionally, they were able to visit the office of Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander and representatives from the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee. The experience gave Smith and Porter the opportunity to learn more about the influences that policy advocacy has on the country’s health care system.

“As a graduate student in Belmont’s BSN-DNP program, I fiercely believe it is my ethical duty to advocate for the advancement of health in Tennessee and nationwide,” Porter said. “As reforms take place in our healthcare system, nurses at all levels of education must be seated at the table and understand the health policy process to ensure the delivery of safe, high-quality care for all Americans. This opportunity is a testament to Belmont’s commitment to investing in its graduate nursing students as leaders and advocates in our present and future healthcare system.”

“The wonderful opportunity to participate in the AACN Student Policy Summit enabled me to look outside the clinical focus of FNP training and experience the broader, policy-focused influences that shape healthcare in our community,” Smith added. “As a future DNP, I hope to continue to work towards advocating for my community on a policy level. This summit gave me the building blocks to get started.”

College of Health Sciences Scholar in Residence Shares Insight on Social Leadership

Bankston speaking at a faculty lunch on February 22

Belmont’s College of Health Sciences recently welcomed Dr. Karen Bankston, associate dean for clinical practice, partnership and community engagement in the University of Cincinnati’s College of Nursing, to campus as a Scholar in Residence. From February 20-24, Bankston led students and faculty in convocations, lectures, small group discussions and even one-on-one conversations surrounding the role that diversity plays in the health care system. Bankston has been working in the health care industry for over 40 years in areas ranging from trauma care in the emergency room to psychological health. She spent her week at Belmont speaking to students and faculty on topics centered on social leadership in the 21st Century.

At her convocation event on February 22, Bankston discussed the history of health care in the U.S., starting with the conception of the idea that care should be provided to everyone, including those who can’t afford it, which surfaced during the Civil Rights Movement. She focused on how the industry has had to adapt, like everything else, to changes in technology, moving from an industrial society to a technological one and from a national consumer base to a global market. Due to these advancements in the way that society functions, the focus of health care shifted to meeting the needs of an audience that expected fast and immediate attention. The idea no longer seemed to be centered on the patients being served or on the quality of the service, but rather on the money that could be made through providing the quickest gratification.

“There is no health care industry in the United States,” Bankston said. “What we have in the U.S. is an illness care industry.” With the emphasis of care being placed on those who are already sick instead of also working to promote wellness and prevent illness from occurring in the first place, different areas within the industry are straying away from their common goal of providing care. Bankston raised the question, “When is it okay to let one’s rights take a backseat to cost and quality?”

Bankston also discussed the role that social leadership should play in creating change where and when change is needed. She described social leaders as the ones who “bridge the gap between what is and what should be” and encouraged students and faculty to always question why things are done the way they are.

Bankston’s visit gave CHS faculty members the opportunity to open a discussion regarding the role that social contexts play in creating disparities in the health care industry. This information is being considered moving forward as the School of Nursing works to launch a new curriculum this fall.

“Dr. Bankston challenged us with shared experiences and insights into our academic social responsibilities, and we’re especially grateful for her frank contributions to our on-going dialogue about diversity and inclusion.  She is an inspiration for future healthcare professionals,” said Dr. Cathy Taylor, dean of the College of Health Sciences.

“We know that the health care workforce needs to look more like the population we serve,” added Dr. Martha Buckner, associate dean and professor in the School of Nursing. “We lack diversity in our professions and we believe the dialogue generated around [Bankston’s visit] will help move us forward. We also know that health professions faculty need to be more diverse and we hope to inspire a future generation of diversity for academia.”

Physical Therapy Faculty, Alumni and Students Present at American Physical Therapy Association

PT Students present at conference

Belmont University’s School of Physical Therapy had a strong presence at the 2017 Combined Sections Meeting sponsored by the American Physical Therapy Association in February. Physical therapists from around the country gathered in San Antonio, Texas to present research, attend workshops and honor the academic achievements of the past year.

Belmont faculty, alumni and current students were among those attending the conference. The faculty had four presentations and seven posters highlighting their scholarly work including the platform presentation on clinical electrophysiology and wound management by Kathleen Galloway, PT, DSc, ECS.

Several alumni received recognition for specialty certifications including Kristin Story, PT, DPT (’07), the second physical therapist in Tennessee to receive the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary certification. An additional seven alumni were recognized for receiving specialty certifications in sports and orthopaedics.

Additionally, Elise Meade, PT, DPT  (’15) presented research that she completed as part of the Neurologic Residency Program at Vanderbilt Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute and Belmont. Meade graduated from the residency program in August 2016.

The School of Physical Therapy also had a strong student presence as Jenny Ellison, Abby Lester, Kyla Lydon, Megan Rolfe, Ashely Gowen and Amy Krichau  presented research on a national stage.

College of Pharmacy hosts Fourth Annual Homecoming Continuing Education Program

Presentations during College of Pharmacy's 4th annual Homecoming Continuing Education Event

On Saturday February 25, the College of Pharmacy hosted its annual Homecoming Continuing Education event. Approximately 20 local pharmacists attended the event. Attendees came from across Middle Tennessee and represented a variety of pharmacy practice settings including health system pharmacists and community pharmacists. Presentations included a 2016 New Drug Update, Cyber Risk & Your Pharmacy, Precision Medicine in Pharmacy Practice, Neuropsychiatric Symptoms of Dementia and an Update on the Screening and Treatment of Depression. Belmont faculty Drs. Genevieve Ness, Kate Claussen, Amy Ham and Michael McGuire were among the presenters. Other presenters included Hayden McKaskle of Kroll and Stephanie Walters of Alive Hospice.

Belmont University College of Pharmacy is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. For more information on upcoming Continuing Education opportunities, click here.

OT Doctoral Students Present Research at the Tennessee State Capitol

 Straatmann and Edwards with their research posterThird-year students in Belmont’s Doctoral Program in Occupational Therapy Joseph Straatmann and Emilie Edwards were recently selected to present their research at the Tennessee State Capitol as a part of Graduate Week. Straatmann and Edwards presented their research project to state legislators, Tennessee college deans and the Nashville community. Other colleges represented included UT-Martin, UT-Knoxville, Vanderbilt and Austin Peay.

“The primary focus of this poster presentation was to highlight the work that graduate programs were doing across the state,” said Straatmann. “We met wonderful people from all the local universities and had a chance to talk about our research. Not only did we present our poster, but we were able to network with many individuals in the Nashville community and universities.  We received great feedback and tips for future research projects and how we can improve on what we’ve done.”

Straatmann has been impressed with the opportunities he has received within the School of Occupational Therapy since his arrival at Belmont over two years ago. “As a member of the Belmont occupational therapy program, I have had opportunities to present at numerous conferences here in Tennessee, national conferences in other states and even international conferences that pass through Nashville. Our program, as well as Belmont, does a great job of allowing multiple ways for students to become active members in the community.”

Pharmacy Faculty, Students Represent Belmont at Graduate School Fair

 College of Pharmacy presents at Grad School FairStudent pharmacists Markesha Cook and Caleb Darensbourg recently represented Belmont at a Graduate School Fiar hosted by the Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (TLSAMP). Held on Feb. 23, the Fair was conducted in conjunction with the TLSAMP Annual STEM Undergraduate Research Conference.  Drs. Edgar Diaz-Cruz and Marilyn Odom represented the College of Pharmacy faculty.

The Alliance is composed of 10 institutions in Tennessee — Fisk University, LeMoyne-Owen College, Middle Tennessee State University, Nashville State Community College, Southwest Tennessee Community College, Tennessee State University, Tennessee Technological University, University of Memphis, University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Vanderbilt University.

Health Sciences Faculty and Staff Members Make Music to Support Down Syndrome Association

Michals and Christian at Hotel PrestonDr. Natalie Michaels, associate professor in Belmont’s School of Occupational Therapy and Michal Christian, academic support assistant in the School of Nursing, recently began making music together as a hobby. On February 20, the duo took their act to the community and played a small gig at Hotel Preston in Nashville, donating all their tip money to the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee. According to Michaels, they played “everything from The Girl from Ipanema to Whitney Houston to Lady Gaga,” and had a blast doing so.

Michaels has been writing music recently and has been playing flute and piano since she was ten years old. Christian is both a professional ballet dancer and musician. The two plan to announce a second gig that will be coming up in a few months and encourage anyone interested in hearing them play to “stay tuned.”