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 (

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

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.

Health Science Students Attend Leadership Health Care Delegation in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Cathy Taylor, dean of Belmont’s Gordan Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing, recently moderated a session at the Leadership Health Care Delegation in Washington, D.C. Taylor’s moderated session delivered by Dr. Meena Seshamani, director of the Office of Health Reform, who oversees the office charged with implementing the Affordable Care Act.

Seven Belmont nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy doctoral students attended the conference with Taylor to network with industry leaders and decision makers. These students included Emmy Rice, Nicole Clark, Tim Zerwic, Joe Straatmann, Carleigh Smith, Kenneth Jenkins and Kristian Beach.

*Above photo provided by Keith Mellnick and Nashville Health Care Council

Research projects from PT faculty and students recognized

Christi and Layla 2Dr. Christi Williams, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at Belmont, has received a research grant from the Tennessee Physical Therapy Association (TPTA) for her project entitled, “Certified Therapy Animal Effect on Biometric Measures and Stress for Graduate Professional Students.”  The study, utilizing Layla, a certified therapy dog, will assess stress and anxiety by measuring heart rate and blood pressure and filling out an anxiety questionnaire before Kinesiology lab practicals – comparing those with exposure to Layla and those without exposure.  Results will come at the end of the semester after the final practical.

TPTA also has accepted four research projects by Belmont University physical therapy faculty and doctoral students for poster presentation at their upcoming spring meeting.  Dr. Cathy Hinton and her student research group of Kylie Cook, Teresa Brennan, Lauren Land and Breanna Poore will present a poster on their research entitled,  “A Comparison of the Effects of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation and Stretching on Hamstring Extensibility.”  Dr. Suzanne Greenwalt and her student research group of Grace Cronin, Ladi Stallard, and Katie Spruell will present the results of their research on the “Effect of Dual-Task on Gait Velocity in Geriatric Subjects with Mild-Moderate Cognitive Decline.”   Dr. John Halle, along with students Josh Baker, Chris Van Fleet and Emily Loehrlein will showcase their research on the “Impact of Time on POST Warm Up Club Head Speed in Low Handicap Golfers.”  Dr. Kevin Robinson and his student group of Ciara Garcia, Ashley Gowen, Ashley Henley and Amy Krichau will present their research on the “Retrospective Analysis of the Pre-Season Screen Used in a Professional Ballet Company with Recommendations for Improvements in the Screen.”

The TPTA spring meeting will be held April 8th & 9th at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Franklin.

Occupational and Physical Therapy Students Participate in Aquifit Program

Associate Professor in the School of Occupational Therapy Natalie Michaels started the Aquifit program seven years ago with students from Tennessee State University. The program provides aquatic exercise for older adults and promotes wellness, socialization and enjoyment. The program has demonstrated improved balance, weight loss and decreased pain in individuals with arthritis as the buoyancy in chest deep water provides assistive movement to antigravity muscles, as well as resistance to muscles that are gravity assisted on land.

Aquifit 3Michaels is now including Belmont’s occupational and physical therapy students in the program. Students recently participated in the program at Del Webb Retirement Community and will do so again in April. The program is currently targeted to the older adult population, but the group plans to work with young adults with neuromuscular disabilities in the Metro Parks system next month and to eventually work with children with Down Syndrome.

Michaels said the community was impressed with the professionalism and intelligence of the Belmont students. “It’s been wonderful including students from two different disciplines in the activity. Having students from more than one perspective has made it a much more holistic experience both for the students and the participants,” she said. “There have also been community therapists from multiple disciplines assisting and a few faculty from other universities. I am extremely proud to work on this service activity with the OT and PT students from Belmont.”

Aquifit at Del WebbStudents who participated included occupational therapy students Alyssa Burlage, Amanda LaBonte, Jordyn Perry, Joseph Straatman, Jenae Stevens and Nicole Kmieciek and physical therapy students Brittany Ryan, Emmy Rice, Kelsey Marie Otten, Lindsey Schiller, Megan Rolfe and Shelly Witt.