Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame Inducts Six Health Care Legends at Luncheon and Ceremony

Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame

For images from this year’s event, click here

The Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame inducted six health care legends from across the state at a luncheon and ceremony held in Belmont University’s Curb Event Center today, Tuesday, October 17. Hosted by Senior Counsel at Finn Partners John Seigenthaler, the Hall of Fame’s Ceremony recognizes and honors the pioneers and current leaders who have formed Tennessee’s health and health care community and encourage future generations of health care professionals.

Created by Belmont University and Belmont’s McWhorter Society with the support of the Nashville Health Care Council, a Founding Partner, the Hall of Fame’s 2017 class includes:

  • Dorothy Lavinia Brown: First African American female surgeon in the south, TN House of Representative and General Assembly Member, longtime educator and Chief of Surgery at Riverside Hospital and Clinical Professor of Surgery at Meharry, advocate for women’s health, rights and education
  • William H. Frist: Former U.S. Senator and Majority Leader, Vanderbilt Transplant Center founder, first heart and lung transplant surgeon at Vanderbilt, Founder of Hope Through Healing Hands and NashvilleHealth, Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Joel C. Gordon: 47-year health care veteran who introduced physician ownership/joint ventures as a business structure, Founder of GeneralCare and Surgical Care Affiliates, Co-Founder of HealthWise of America, Owner of Gordon Group Investment Management
  • Harry R. Jacobson: Physician, entrepreneur and investor who founded/co-founded eight companies, Past Chair of the Nashville Health Care Council Board of Directors, Executive-in-Residence at Belmont University’s Jack C. Massey College of Business, Past Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at Vanderbilt University and former CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Stanford Moore:  Received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1972 for his work with proteins and their composition which led to the first understanding of the complete chemical structure of protein and ultimately informed decades of scientific work surrounding disease and drug discovery; graduate of the University School of Nashville and Vanderbilt University
  • Donald P. Pinkel: First Director and CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; received the Lasker Award for Medical Research, Kettering Prize for Cancer Research and Pollin Prize for Pediatric Research; led the development of the first treatment for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia, increasing the cure rate from 4 to 50%

This year’s Hall of Fame inductees join an impressive list of health care legends honored in the last two years. These include Jack O. Bovender, Jr., Stanley Cohen, Dr. Henry W. Foster, Dr. Thomas Frist, Jr., Dr. Thomas Frist Sr., Dr. Ernest William Goodpasture, Frank S. Groner, Jack C. Massey, Clayton McWhorter, Dr. David Satcher, Dr. Mildred Stahlman, Dr. Paul Stanton, Danny Thomas and Dr. Colleen Conway Welch.

For more information on the Hall of Fame, click here.

CHS Dean Taylor Featured on HealthStream’s “Second Opinions” Podcast

Dr. Cathy Taylor Head ShotDean of the College of Health Sciences and Nursing Dr. Cathy Taylor was recently featured on HealthStream’s “Second Opinions” Podcast. Taylor’s interview, “Rewiring Nurse Education to Match Industry Demands and Millennial Strengths,” details the ways in which nursing education programs are evolving based on the ever-changing health care workforce.

Taylor details training curricula and how it must change to match the needs of the “connected, digital millennial workforce.” She also explains the importance of setting realistic expectations regarding workforce rigor early in a student’s educational experience. Finally, she highlights the ways Belmont has adapted–namely through her team’s use of concept-based learning aimed at “producing flexible, curious, engaged graduates” who are prepared for their health care careers.

To listen to the interview, click here.

Physical Therapy Students Honor the Memory of Alumna Sara Pigg Walker

Students pose for a picture before the Fun Run began.

Belmont University Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) students volunteered at the annual Sara Walker Run on September 24, held in honor of 2003 Belmont DPT alumna Sara Pigg Walker. The Sara Walker Run is a fundraising event to raise money for missions supported through the Sara Walker Foundation that are intended to help spread Sara’s message of hope to others through Jesus Christ.

Sara’s Story

Sara was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer on her 33rd birthday in January 2011. After 16 rounds of chemotherapy and three clinical research trials, Sara’s earthly struggle with cancer ended in August of 2012, at the age of 34.

During her life, Sara had two great loves: writing and bringing souls to Jesus. From her diagnosis until her final breath, she sought to use her writing to provide encouragement to those with their own challenges, always pointing her readers to Jesus. She candidly wrote of her physical, emotional and spiritual battles, praying she could provide encouragement to her more than 700,000 readers worldwide. What resonated most with her audience was the concept of “savoring”–the opportunity to enjoy the little things life has to offer and see each moment as a gift from God.

Because of her great outreach to the lost and hurting, Sara’s family and close friends established the Sara Walker Foundation in 2012 to continue to provide hope to others in her honor. Because of Him, her story continues today.

Sara Walker Foundation and Belmont University

Kids who participated in the event run towards their activities. The first Sara Walker Run was held in April 2011, when Sara’s ‘Belmont DPT family’ sought to help raise funds for Sara’s medical expenses after her diagnosis. Due to its huge success, and in an effort to continue to honor Sara, the annual Sara Walker Run continues today and serves as the Sara Walker Foundation’s main fundraising event.

This year, Belmont University and the Sara Walker Foundation provided two current DPT students with scholarships in Sara’s honor. Scholarship recipients were 3rd year students Drew Dudek and Susan Keim.

Christi Williams, 2005 alumna and assistant professor in the School of Physical Therapy and Jennifer LaRocca, 2003 alumna and close friend and classmate of Sara’s, serve on the Sara Walker Foundation Board with a focus of sharing Sara’s story and keeping Sara’s spirit alive in the hearts of Belmont DPT alumni and current students. Williams shares Sara’s story with all incoming Belmont DPT students.

Williams said, “When I share Sara’s story and the mission of the Sara Walker Foundation, the students quickly begin to understand that there is something uniquely special about our ‘Belmont PT family,’ and they are excited to be a part of Sara’s story by helping with this event and spreading her message to others.”

Kids For Kids Fun Run

Sara’s sister and fellow Belmont DPT alumna (2006) Dinah Hall, with the help of Williams, LaRocca and 3rd year student leaders Susan Keim and Erin St. Pierre, successfully organized the 2nd annual Kids for Kids Fun Run which included fun activities and obstacles designed by the Belmont DPT students. The kids were divided into three age groups – a “Team Green”, “Team Yellow” and “Team Red” – and given matching wristband.  Each team was led by a group of three DPT students who designed a series of warm-up activities, led the kids through the course and provided cool-down activities and games afterwards.

Belmont PT faculty member Suzanne Greenwalt said, “The Belmont students were so interactive, silly and engaging with the young children at the race. What great role models! My children were so won over by them that all they can talk about is how they want to be just like them when they grow up.” Keim said, “What a special experience it was to run along with the kids. There was so much positive energy that flowed from the race all the way into the worship service. “

This year, the Sara Walker Run included nearly 700 participants, and the event raised $70,000 of which 100% will go toward missions supported by the Sara Walker Foundation.

St. Pierre summarized the day and said, “The Sara Walker Run is a perfect example of how everyone who is a part of Belmont PT becomes your family and how that family continues to support you long after graduation. Years after Sara’s passing, the new students still come together on this day to support the cause of one of our own, and that is a such a beautiful thing. “

New This Year:

A Belmont DPT student runs alongside children who are participating in the Fun Run.

An exciting addition to the Sara Walker Run this year was a “Battle of the Boulevard” competition between Belmont and Lipscomb students.  Sara attended Lipscomb as an undergraduate student and Belmont as a graduate student, and she loved the annual Battle of the Boulevard event between the two schools. This year when students registered for the race, they indicated “Team Belmont” or “Team Lipscomb.” The trophy was awarded to Team Lipscomb this year. The competition will continue next year, and the trophy will be passed between the schools, going to whomever has the most registered runners.

Also new this year, was the announcement of the new book that shares Sara’s story, “The Light Shines Through – A Story of Hope in the Midst of Suffering.”  In this book, Sara’s story offers compelling lessons on how to live in the present and see God’s presence and abundant love in every moment – even those that are painful. The book will be released in January 2018. To preorder your copy and take advantage of the early release date of December 15, click here.

Children’s Worship Service

The children’s worship service, led by Sara Walker’s Father Jody Pigg (known as Papa Pigg) was also a success. Belmont DPT students played an integral role in engaging the children with high-fives, big hug, and reciting Papa Pigg’s phrases with enthusiasm. The children patted each other on the back saying, “I love you, I love you, I love you” coming to the front of the group to give the biggest “high-five” to student Drew Dudek and giving the “biggest hug” to student Susan Keim. Dudek stated, “The children’s worship service was awesome! It was incredible seeing how Papa Pigg had the kids so involved and how he made it clear that God loves them. “

Papa Pigg taught the kids about the importance of “doing what’s right.” This was no ordinary worship service–it was filled with excitement as Papa Pigg used short phrases and asked the children to repeat after him in loud voices. He led the children in repeating the phrase, “When God loves me, I want to do what’s right, go to heaven and help other people.” Belmont students were interspersed throughout the crowd, helping energize the children and keep them engaged in the activities.

He continued and explained that by participating in the Fun Run, the children helped provide medicine to sick children in Africa and that their involvement sent helpers to the children. Most importantly, Papa Pigg made sure that the children understood that by helping, “We will  be able to tell those children we love them.” Keim stated, “You could feel how in tune the kids were with Papa Pigg’s worship message, which tied together the purpose of the Kids for Kids Fun Run beautifully.”

To learn more about Sara’s story and the mission of the Sara Walker Foundation, click here.

To view a video of the event, click here.

Recent Accomplishments by faculty in the School of Nursing

Several faculty within the School of Nursing have recently been recognized for their contributions to the field. Below is a list of their accomplishments.

Dr. Angela Lane (Assistant Professor of Nursing) and Dr. Ruby Dunlap (Associate Professor of Nursing) will present a poster entitled “Start with What They Know: Student Perception of Self-efficacy in Community Health Nursing” at the Sigma Theta Tau International Research Conference in Washington, DC in April 2018.

Dr. Mona Ivey Soto (Assistant Professor of Education), Dr. Sabrina Sullenberger (Associate Professor in Social Work) and Dr. Angela Lane will give a podium presentation entitled “Empowering Trauma-Informed Undergraduates: Educating and Equipping the Next Cadre of Leaders from Diverse Helping Professions” at the Southeastern Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) conference in Asheville, NC in October 2017.

Ms. Jennifer Hicks, Dr. Robin Cobb (Assistant Professor of Nursing) and Dr. Betsy Kennedy had a poster entitled “A Narrative Approach to the Delivery of Perinatal Loss Care Course Content in an Undergraduate Obstetric Nursing Course” presented at the International Stillbirth Alliance conference at University College Cork, Cork Ireland in September 2017.

Dr. Erin Shankel (Assistant Professor of Nursing) gave a podium presentation at the 2017 TNA conference entitled Preventing Your own Compassion Fatigue: An Ethical Imperative.

Dr. Ruby Dunlap and Ms. Emily Morse have a newly published chapter in the edited text Culturally engaging service-learning with diverse communities (2017) published by IGI Global. Their chapter is entitled “Refugee Families and Undergraduate Nursing Service-Learning: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally.”

Dr. Ashley Scism and Dr. Robin Cobb have a manuscript entitled “Integrative Review of Factors and Interventions that Influence Early Father-Infant Bonding” in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing.

Dr. Angela Lane completed Trust Based Relational Intervention Practitioner Training in Fort Worth, Texas last month.

Dr. Donna Copenhaver (Assistant Professor of Nursing) was re-elected as Tennessee Nurses Association (TNA) Secretary and Dr. Loretta Bond (Assistant Professor of Nursing) was elected as TNA Director, Government Affairs.

Physical Therapy Students, Faculty Volunteer at Music City Skate Jam

Students from the Belmont University School of Physical Therapy recently volunteered at the inaugural Music City Skate Jam. Multi-platinum singer/songwriter Kip Moore combined his love for music and skateboarding when he teamed up with international skateboarding champion Tony Hawk in downtown Nashville for the charity event.

The day began early in the morning as the students, along with faculty members Drs. Pat Sells and Mike Voight from the School of Physical Therapy, turned Nashville’s Hall of Fame Park into a music venue with an enormous half pipe for the celebrity skate board performers. The free concert and skating exposition, held at Music City Walk of Fame Park, served as a fundraiser to aid hurricane relief. It also brought awareness to both both Moore’s and Hawk’s foundations, which aim to build skate parks for kids in inner cities. Fans who donated were treated to a day of fun-filled events including performances by Jordan Davis, Dee Jay Silver and Moore himself, along with a thrilling skate demo by Tony Hawk.

Physical Therapy Faculty Volunteer at Music Row Ladies Golf Tournament

Belmont University School of Physical Therapy Faculty Members Drs. Pat Sells, Danny Smith and Mike Voight recently volunteered for the 2017 Music Row Ladies Golf Tournament. The event was presented by Keith Urban and sponsored by ASCAP, City National Bank and Tim McGraw.

This long-running charity event has raised more than two million dollars for United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee in its three-decade history. Voight said, “It is fun to participate in an event that we can see fruits of the fund raising efforts. The funds raised help to build wheel chair ramps that physical therapy students go out and volunteer to build.” The 30th annual tournament took place on Monday, August 21 at Old Natchez Country Club in Franklin, Tennessee.

Occupational Therapy Students Provide Modified Cars to Local Children to Enhance Mobility

Belmont’s School of Occupational Therapy partnered with Vanderbilt’s Summer Academy for GoBabyGo, an interdisciplinary collaboration and nationwide program with local chapters that work to provide modified toy cars to young children living with physical, intellectual and/or developmental disabilities like Down syndrome, spina bifida or cerebral palsy. Serving as much more than toys, these cars provide an opportunity for children to move and explore their surroundings in news ways. GoBabyGo fills a significant need by providing low-cost, adaptive, ride-on toys for children.

In the Music City chapter of GoBabyGo, occupational therapy (OT) students from Belmont University and high school students attending Vanderbilt’s Summer Academy worked together to modify toy cars for eight children with diagnoses including spina bifida, cerebral palsy and traumatic brain injuries. Each OT student led and worked alongside a small group of high schoolers to assess the specific postural needs of each child and make recommendations for adaptations to the car. Most of the children have physical limitations (unable to sit up without support, limited arm movement/strength, low vision, etc.) that make it difficult to operate the car as it is manufactured. Extra support and modifications like 5-point harnesses, side-railings, bilateral head supports, built up steering wheels and moving the ignition to an accessible location allow for independent use.

Once recommendations were suggested, students made the modifications during their 3-week program alongside engineers at Vanderbilt. At the end of the program, all the parties (the children and their families, OT students, high school students and instructors) presented the modified cars to the children at Belmont University. It was a memorable day filled with smiles, tears and lots of pictures.

River is pictured in his new car, complete with his favorite character–Mickey Mouse!

River, a participant who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, required a 5-point harness across his chest to support him while sitting up, a built-up steering wheel to assist with reach, a constructed backboard and the rewriting of the ignition from a gas pedal to an easily accessible button. In time and with practice, River will be able to drive himself around his house and neighborhood, exploring and learning about his surroundings and making friends independently–all opportunities he’s never had before.

President of Belmont’s Occupational Therapy Student Association and OT student Cara Miller said the opportunity to work with River and his family was an incredible experience. “As an occupational therapy student, I’m very interested in working with individuals needing adaptive equipment like wheelchairs, prosthetics or other mobility devices to promote their ability to do the things that are important to them,” she said. “I was so impressed with how quickly the high school students were able to notice things like River leaning to one side and make suggestions that would enhance his ability to sit upright. They were so intuitive and sensitive to all the children and their families that were a part of this program. This opportunity only reinforced my desire to work within this field of occupational therapy, and I can’t wait for the next GoBabyGo build in October.”

Top 5! Belmont University Lands Near Top of Annual U.S. News Rankings of Southern Colleges

US News Top 5 Banner

University scores accolades for innovation, teaching, veteran support and more

For the ninth consecutive year, Belmont University has again achieved a Top 10 regional ranking with today’s release of U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 edition of America’s Best Colleges, this year ranking at an impressive No. 5 and remaining the highest ranked university in Tennessee in this category. Moreover, Belmont won the praise of its peers as it was included on a number of additional U.S. News lists that rate institutions on areas critical to student opportunities and success.

Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “These rankings provide benchmarks that are helpful to us as we work to provide programs that equip our students to go out and make a positive impact in the world. While it is rewarding to see Belmont reach a higher ranking overall, it is especially gratifying to be recognized by our peers for excelling in areas that promote strong outcomes for our students. As a student-centered university, this is at the heart of what we aim to achieve.”

In the publication released today, Belmont is lauded for the tenth year in a row for its commitment to “making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities,” landing second on the “Most Innovative Schools” in the South list. Belmont earned acclaim in the following categories as well:

    • Strong Commitment to Undergraduate Teaching (No. 4 in the South): The strong commitment to undergraduate teaching ranking is determined via a survey of peer institutions, who cite their fellow institutions who best reflect that quality.
    • Best Colleges for Veterans (No. 3 in the South): To be included, institutions must be ranked in the top half of their overall category, be certified for the GI Bill and participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program with 20 or more veterans/active service members enrolled.
    • Best Value (one of only 64 institutions recognized in the South): The listing takes into account a school’s academic quality and net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid. The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the deal.
    • Internships (one of only 20 institutions recognized in the nation): Schools in this category encourage students to apply what they’re learning in the classroom to work in the real world through closely supervised internships or practicums.
    • Learning Communities (one of only 18 institutions recognized in the nation): In these communities, students typically take two or more linked courses as a group and get to know one another and their professors well.
    • Service-Learning (one of only 23 institutions recognized in the nation): Required volunteer work in the community is an instructional strategy in these programs—what’s learned in the field bolsters what happens in class and vice versa.
    • Study Abroad (one of only 44 institutions recognized in the nation): Programs must involve substantial academic work abroad and considerable interaction with local culture

Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns said, “This has been an extraordinary fall for Belmont. We started the fall semester Belmont by announcing a record-breaking enrollment number for the 17th consecutive year – reaching a total of 8,080 students on campus. These students remind us every day that they are drawn to Belmont by the diversity and academic strength of our programs as well as by the intentional commitment to student success, as highlighted in the U.S. News rankings. I’m particularly proud of this incoming undergraduate class which brings, on average, the highest entering scores on the ACT (average 26.4) in the past four years. As an institution, we are committed to continue to do our best to fulfill the Belmont mission of providing an academically challenging education that will enable our students to engage and transform the world with disciplined intelligence, compassion, courage and faith.”

The U.S. News analysis places Belmont in a premier position among the 135 public and private institutions included in the South region, an area that covers Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Lumos Scholar Shares Her Experiences in Africa

Karah Waters standing with two Tanzanians

Lumos Scholar and recent Belmont  graduate Karah Waters is currently using her Nursing degree from the College of Health Sciences and Nursing to study healthcare in Tanzania.

Waters is currently interning and working as a nurse at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, a program that will last nine weeks. Her tenth and final week in Tanzania will be spent at the Kidodi Village Rural Healthcare Clinic.

She wrote, “I’ve also observed how different the lifestyles of the people are here and how that affects their health either positively or negatively and how it correlates with what I’ve seen in the hospital… I am in love with all of the people here and the various cultures are SO rich in Tanzania. I’ve learned so much!”

Waters is a recipient of the Lumos Award, coordinated through the Interdisciplinary Studies and Global Education department (ISGE).  The purpose of the award is to  transform the lives of young adults by enabling them to embark on a self-designed international working adventure. Recipients explore, engage and immerse themselves in local communities for a minimum of eight weeks in order to deepen their understanding of an issue, project or idea that impassions them.” Lumos Award recipients are expected to “travel with purpose.”

PT’s Dr. Christi Williams and Her Therapy Dog, Layla, Spend the Summer with Community Children

Children huddle around Layla at Monroe Caroll Jr Children's Hospital

Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Dr. Christi Williams spent the summer spreading joy throughout the community with her certified therapy dog, Layla. A 7-year old yellow Labrador Retriever, Layla has been volunteering for the past two years as a certified therapy dog through Pet Partners, a local nonprofit organization. Williams and Layla visit many locations on a volunteer basis, including Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and Vanderbilt One Hundred Oaks, to spread smiles to patients and health care providers.

This summer Layla volunteered with Vanderbilt’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Clinic’s Constraint Camp, a camp that focuses on promoting use of the involved upper extremities by casting the uninvolved side. While there, Layla eased the children’s fears and encouraged them to try new and often challenging tasks. They worked on their gross motor skills alongside Layla by petting and brushing her and finding special stickers inside the zippered pocket of her vest. Gathering stickers from her pocket allowed the children to work on these motor skills, while also proudly displaying proof of the day’s therapist — their favorite yellow lab.

Though Layla loves all her time at camp, Williams said one of her highlights is playing fetch with the children and her favorite pink tennis ball. A very challenging task for the kids as it requires skill to grasp, hold and release the ball, they are determined to play alongside Layla. “She is always patiently waiting for them to throw it her way!” Williams said.

One of Layla's many walks throughout the facility.

One of Layla’s many walks throughout the facility.

Children also enjoy taking Layla for a ‘walk’ throughout the facility where a small leash is attached to Layla’s harness for the kids to hold. Despite the physical challenge this can present, they are eager to participate. A physical therapist herself, Williams loves to work with Layla in the rehabilitation setting. “There’s nothing like watching self-doubt immediately turn into pure confidence when Layla’s ‘leash’ is placed in these children’s hands. Their faces change and they no longer think about it as a challenge. They just do it–and with such confidence!”

Layla and Williams also spent time this summer at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital’s Dog Days of Summer “Paw-ty” where Layla, and other certified therapy dogs, joined children in games, activities and more. Children watched the dogs do tricks on stage and received some takeaways, too —  a dog stuffed animal and a paw print stamp of the therapy dogs who participated.

Layla then traveled to Camp TALK, a camp for children with speech deficits, where she taught children about therapy animals. The kids practiced talking to and giving commands to Layla including “sit,” “lay down,” “shake hands” and “high five.” Layla also showed off her catch skills and played hide-and-seek with the kids.

Layla and some children from Monroe Carrell Jr Children's Hospital“For these children, Layla’s presence creates an environment where they are no longer anxious to try new things or speak in front of their peers,” Williams said. “Having Layla in the room shifts the children’s focus from their disability to simply having fun with the dog!”

Visiting with patients and helping children during their rehabilitation is a big part of what Layla does as a certified therapy dog, but she often has the greatest impact on the health care providers who are working alongside their patients. At the Center for Women’s Health, Layla’s “job” is to visit with the nurses and physicians, providing a necessary break during the day.

“This visit tends to be one of Layla’s favorite stops because these nurses spoil her rotten,” Williams said. “She knows exactly who has treats for her and which drawer or cabinet they are stashed in. Being a health-care provider can be very stressful at times, and Layla provides that much-needed mental break!”

Photos courtesy of Vanderbilt Pediatric Rehabilitation at One Hundred Oaks and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.