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.”



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. 


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.”


Nursing students reach out to serve Nashville’s homeless

NCF Safe HavenMembers of Belmont University’s Nurses Christian Fellowship (NCF) recently gathered to fill 62 boxes with school supplies and treats for the children of Safe Haven. The students asked for donation of fun age appropriate items and treats and the students gathered to wrap and fill the boxes; making the event a great time to spend with one another while serving others!

Safe Haven is a mission serving vulnerable populations with research-grounded, holistic methods.  It is the only shelter-to-housing program of its kind in Middle Tennessee that accepts the whole homeless family.  Executive director, Joyce Lavery, states that “Safe Haven is about preventing, reducing, and intervening in family homelessness with evidence-based and community-based solutions; moving the family from homelessness to self-sufficiency.”  Currently there are 22 children at Safe Haven ranging from 2 months to 22 years of age, living in a beautiful new facility that houses up to six families at a time.


PT professor recognized by Komen as a Pink Tie Guy

VoightSmallDr. Mike Voight, Professor of Physical Therapy, has been recognized as a Pink Tie Guy by the Greater Nashville affiliate of Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest organization fighting breast cancer.   The recognition was made at a Komen celebration dinner this week that honored a group of ten individuals from middle Tennessee this year.

The Pink Tie Program features influential leaders who help mobilize, energize and engage audiences in the breast cancer movement through their role within the community, within their organizations, and through their personal involvement.  Pink Tie Guys bring a male voice to the urgency of finding a cure for breast cancer.

“Mike is the perfect Pink Tie Guy,” said Dr. Cathy Taylor, Dean of the College of Health Sciences.  She added, “His positive energy is contagious, and he has worked tirelessly to mobilize others to race for the cure.  We are so proud of his accomplishments and appreciate our Komen partners for rewarding his work in this way.”


PT students and faculty visit Tennessee lawmakers

On Tuesday, February 18,  70 physical therapy students along with 4 PT faculty participated in the Tennessee Physical Therapy Association Day on the Hill.  They attended a session that covered an introduction to the legislative process, how to visit with a legislator, and how to become an advocate for the physical therapy profession. State Senator Doug Overbey spoke with them on the importance of getting to know their legislators.  The students were then given a guided tour of the Legislative Plaza and the Tennessee State Capitol.


Dr. Cathy Taylor Named to 2014 Nashville Health Care Council Fellows Class

TaylorSmallDr. Cathy Taylor, dean of the College of Health Sciences & Nursing, was recently selected as a member of the 2014 class of the Nashville Health Care Council Fellows. The Fellows initiative engages industry leaders in clearly defining health care’s greatest challenges and exploring new strategies to meet these issues facing the U.S. health care system.

“It is an honor to be selected as a 2014 Council Fellow, and I am eager to expand my knowledge and network with others in the health care field,” Taylor said. “The Fellows class is an elite group of industry leaders, and I consider it a privilege to learn from and alongside each of them.”

The 2014 class, selected by the Council Fellows Advisory Committee led by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., includes 32 of the nation’s top health care executives.