Dr. Christian Williams Named Director of Belmont University’s New Public Health Program

Christian Williams Head ShotBelmont University recently named Christian L. Williams, DrPH, MPH as Assistant Professor and Director of its new Bachelors of Science in Public Health, a program recently created that seeks to address the critical topic of community well-being. Prior to coming to Belmont, Dr. Williams served as the Public Health Competency Coordinator for the Tennessee Department of Health where she was responsible for workforce development and training, served as the program director for the Commissioner’s Fellowship in Public Health and coordinated all student internships.

In her new role, Dr. Williams will oversee Belmont’s new public health program, educating the University’s first cohort of public health majors. 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.

Williams said she has always been interested in the partnership between academia and public health practice, so the opportunity to lead Belmont’s new program was an exciting one. “This role allows me to prepare the future public health workforce and still engage public health practice through research, collaborative projects and opportunities for students.”

Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Nursing Dr. Cathy Taylor said, “We’re fortunate to have Dr. Williams join us in this leadership role with such an exciting new program. The BSPH is a perfect choice for students with a broad interest in population health, health policy or other health-related fields. Graduates will be able to enter the workforce directly or choose to pursue graduate study in a variety of disciplines, and we’re delighted to welcome our first cohort of students this fall.”

Dr. Williams received her DrPH in community and behavioral health from the College of Public Health at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. Her research interests include workforce development, quality improvement, linkages between academia and practice and public health systems and services.

Physical Therapy and Biology Faculty Collaborate to Publish Study in Teaching Journal

Over the past three years, Belmont’s Department of Biology and School of Physical Therapy have worked together to allow undergraduate anatomy students the opportunity to experience a cadaver-based learning environment. Through this collaborative effort, hundreds of undergraduate students have had the opportunity to participate in this interactive experience.

Additionally, undergraduate anatomy faculty have embraced the opportunity to engage with graduate faculty to improve their teaching skills in a gross anatomy laboratory. This collaborative initiative began to generate learning opportunities for undergraduate anatomy students in the cadaver-based gross anatomy lab. By the end, however, this interdisciplinary work ended with meaningful experiences for all participants.

Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Chris Barton and Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Dr. Christi Williams documented the interdisciplinary nature of their collaboration, as well as the increased learning outcomes reported by the undergraduate anatomy students, so other institutions can replicate the process.

Their article, “Graduate and Undergraduate Faculty Collaboration Utilizing Peer Observation to Enhance Educational Opportunities for Students and Faculty: A Case Example,” was recently accepted for publication in The Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, where Barton and Williams are co-first authors on the study. Dr. John Halle, professor of physical therapy and Dr. Lori McGrew, professor of biology, are additional authors on the accepted manuscript.

Belmont Adds ACE Resource Guide

The Gordon E. Inman Health Sciences building on a spring day with tulips in front of the building.

As part of a grant recently provided by Tennessee and administered through the Department of Children’s Services Building Strong Brains Initiative, Belmont’s College of Health Sciences and Nursing has developed a resource library to promote the understanding of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for health care professionals. The library is part of Belmont’s Educating Trauma Information Professionals project.

Principal investigators Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Nursing Dr. Cathy Taylor and Associate Professor of Social Work Dr. Sabrina Sullenberger collaborated with Bunch Library faculty to develop the ACE Resource Guide. The guide provides access to the valuable library of materials collected to support professions that work alongside children and families during sensitive periods of development and beyond. The ACE Resource Guide is available to all Belmont students and faculty and can be accessed here.

Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Students Lead Aquifit for the Nashville Dolphins

OT and PT students work on Aquafit program.

Eight years ago Dr. Natalie Michaels, associate professor of occupational therapy (OT), started the Aquifit program to provide aquatic exercises for wellness, socialization and enjoyment to members of the community. Originally designed to target older adults, Aquifit exercises are performed to music pool-side by physical therapists, occupational therapists, aquatic specialists, OT students and physical therapy (PT) students while community members exercise in the water.

The program has proven successful in aiding members of the older adult community with weight loss and pain reduction,

OT and PT students train with the DolphinsRecently, Aquifit expanded its impact when on Aug. 9, the program was provided to the Nashville Dolphins, a local aquatics program for children and adults with special needs. The Aquifit team was joined by Belmont OT and PT students who helped lead the exercises and assisted participants in the pool. Michaels said that once again the community was “thoroughly impressed by the professionalism and intellect of the Belmont students.”

Michaels was joined by Dr. Timothy Jones (Tennessee State University), Dr. Derek Charles (also from TSU) and Dr Joshua Maloney (Amedisys Home Health). Belmont students who participated in the event included Autumn Powell, Haley Hingtgen and Rachel Morgan from the occupational therapy program as well as Jonathan Lee, Sarah Williams, Kandiss Anderson, Lacie Nugent and Beau Kovach from the physical therapy program.

Approximately 15 members of the Dolphins participated. They reported that they had a “wonderful” and “fun” time, and they really seemed to enjoy their interactions with the Belmont students.

Nursing Students Earn Top Honors at Internship Experience

Credo Winners with Dr. Leslie Folds

For the past seven weeks, 16 Belmont nursing students have participated in the Vanderbilt Experience: Student Nurse Internship Program (VESNIP), a summer internship program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), with students from four other regional nursing programs. Three Belmont nursing students were awarded the highest honors at the culminating awards ceremony held on Wednesday, June 29. Of the seven total awards given, three went to Belmont students.

VUMC credo behaviors identify those individuals that aspire to excellence and expert performance by making those they serve their highest priority, conducting themselves professionally, respecting confidentiality, communicating effectively, having a sense of ownership and exhibiting a commitment to colleagues. Carly Rabideau received the Credo Award for the Perioperative/PACU Track, Alexa Yatauro received the Credo Award in the Psychiatric Track and Sarah (Sally) Rogan received the Credo Award for the Critical Care Track.

The entire Belmont VESNIP group with Dr. Folds

All VESNIP participants with Dr. Leslie Folds (left).

This is the 12th year of the VESNIP program. The program began as a partnership between Belmont School of Nursing and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. It has now expanded to a total of 60+ students from four area nursing schools. VESNIP positions are very competitive and are considered elite opportunities for students from around the region. Associate Professor of Nursing Dr. Leslie Folds said, “Our students are exceptional and represent Belmont’s values throughout this program.  I was extremely impressed by not only the students’ professionalism, but their ability to engage in critical thinking, reflection and incorporation of evidence-based research to the clinical setting.”

All Credo Winners are pictured above with Dr. Folds.

Belmont Wins Inaugural Siloam Health’s Bridge Builder Award

Photo by Brad Moore / B.MOORE VISUALS. retired Belmont employees John and Nancy Le with University President Dr. Bob Fisher and Mrs. Judy Fisher.

Award given to recognize community partner committed to assisting Nashville’s New Americans

In honor of the University’s commitment to helping New Americans throughout the Nashville community, Belmont was recently honored with Siloam Health’s inaugural Bridge Builders Award. Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher accepted the award at Siloam’s Amplify Nashville Awards Ceremony held on June 22 at Oz Arts. Belmont’s award by presented by Milton Johnson, CEO of HCA and Belmont trustee.

Siloam hosted the event to celebrate the immigrants and refugees who contribute to Nashville’s status as a growing, great city. The event celebrated four honorees for their tireless commitment to Nashville’s cultural diversity including:

  • Community Catalyst Award: Kasar Abdulla (Valor Collegiate Academies)
  • Good Neighbor Award: Fabian Bedne (Hispanic Family Foundation and Metro Council)
  • Culture Shaper Award: Cano and Esen Ozgener (OZ Arts Nashville)
  • Bridge Builder Award: Belmont University and Dr. Bob Fisher

Under Fisher’s leadership, Belmont consistently strives to align its vision with the ever-changing needs of its community and works to help New Americans get ahead with their education and in life. The University makes intentional efforts to hire documented, sponsored refugees, encouraging them to take advantage of the University’s educational offerings and covering the cost of ESL courses. Additionally, Belmont considers students living in the United States for admission without regard to immigration standing and offers support to assist foreign-born students with enrollment and the transition to college life.

Additionally, Belmont’s Colleges of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Nursing have been in partnership with Siloam for many years. Dr. Elissa Greene, assistant professor of pharmacy, practices at Siloam when she isn’t teaching at Belmont and hosts student pharmacists daily for clinical rotations. Students serve as resources for medical personnel, make recommendations on medication, provide patient and family counseling and make home visits, among other things. Nursing students also visit Siloam for clinical experiences, faculty members serve as regular volunteers and the College will be partnering with the organization’s faith-based, community health outreach program in the future.

John and Nancy Le, pictured above with Dr. and Mrs. Fisher, were also present at the ceremony. The Les, both retired Belmont employees, came to Nashville from Vietnam 25 years ago under Catholic Charities. They both worked at the University for more than 20 years, and four of their children and grandchildren have attended Belmont. Their story was shared at the event as an example of Belmont’s commitment to Nashville’s new Americans.

“It is so important for Belmont to serve the Nashville community,” Fisher said. “We are honored to call Nashville home, and it’s our privilege to serve our city’s newest residents through educational opportunities, employment and more. Siloam Health continues to do incredible work throughout our city, and we are so grateful to have been recognized with this award.”

Mission to Cambodia: Empowering Pharmacists at Hope Hospital

by Jade Readus Williams, Pharmacy Team

Illiteracy, especially health illiteracy, is a significant problem for many of the people in Cambodia. A few days ago, the Pharmacy team got the opportunity to teach the pharmacists at Hope Hospital how to communicate with patients with low health illiteracy. Throughout the presentation, we discussed how to use pictograms, body language, and verbal communication to educate patients about their medications. Afterwards, we asked the pharmacists to give examples of how they would explain certain medications to illiterate patients. The Hope Hospital pharmacists were eager to present their examples.  It was inspiring to see the pharmacists apply what we had taught them. It emphasized the fact that we can really make a change through teaching and empowering the people of Cambodia. I am so grateful to be a part of the awesome work that is happening here.

Simulation Lab Named in Honor of Memorial Foundation’s Founding President, J.D. Elliott

D. J. Elliott Simulation Lab presentation to the family at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. February 15, 2017.

In a ceremony held last semester, Belmont’s College of Health Sciences and Nursing named its pediatric/obstetric simulation lab in honor of one of the college’s benefactors, the late J.D. Elliott. Elliott served as the founding president of the Memorial Foundation, which has donated more than $2 million to Belmont University over the past 20 years, almost all of which has gone to support health science and nursing education. In 2013, the Foundation granted Belmont $217,000 to renovate the lab space, purchase a new simulation Sim Mom manikin and update the lab’s simulation equipment.

Dr. Perry Moulds, Belmont’s vice president for development and external relations, said, “J.D. Elliott was a legend in this town not simply due to his role leading the Memorial Foundation nor for the countless boards and nonprofits where he donated his time and energy. Rather, his reputation centered on how he did everything he did—with compassion, humility and heart. We are proud to name this lab in his honor and hope that generations of health science practitioners to come will be inspired be his legacy.”

Mr. Elliott’s wife Anita, along with his daughter and son-in-law, Juanita and Jeff Stewart, attended the naming ceremony which included a reception and brief demonstration of the lab. Several guests from The Memorial Foundation also attended the event, including Foundation President Scott Perry and Foundation Board Member Drew Maddux, who also serves on the Belmont University Board of Trustees.

Perry said, “Throughout his long, successful career in healthcare, Mr. Elliott was always a strong proponent of quality education for the next generation of health care providers. He believed it was critically important in helping to promote increased access to quality health care services for all people. He was particularly impressed with the advanced technology for instruction such as this simulation lab that provides the opportunity for hands-on, experiential learning and that bridges the gap between theory and practice in a safe environment. Although Mr. Elliott was a humble man, I believe he would be happy to see this new Simulation Lab and would be humbled to have it named in his honor.”

At the time of his death in 2015, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean noted, “J.D. was a great member of our community. He gave back in countless ways and touched many lives throughout Nashville and Middle Tennessee through his leadership of The Memorial Foundation and its charitable efforts.”

The Memorial Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life for people through support to nonprofit organizations. The Memorial Foundation responds to diverse community needs, assisting agencies that focus on: Access to Quality Health Care Services, Human & Social Services, Education, Senior Citizen Enrichment Services, Youth and Childhood Development, Substance Abuse Programs, and Community Services.

Mission to Cambodia: What I’ve Learned

by: Candida Damian

As our trip in Cambodia is coming to the final week, I have been looking back to everything that I have learned on this trip. Wow. What an amazing time I have had abroad in Cambodia. The experiences I have had here are unforgettable, and I can’t wait to bring stories back home to my family and friends.

Today, I had the opportunity of shadowing in the emergency department at CMH in Phnom Penh. The staff and nursing students were so open and nice to me while I was there. It is such an amazing privilege to be able to do what I love in another country. It makes me extremely proud to be a nurse in the near future. Nursing is needed everywhere in the world, and it is reassuring when nurses do things here similar to how we do things in the States. Nursing is so universal and it is vital in every place in the world.

Emergency departments have always interested me, so I was excited when I was able to shadow in the ED. It is very busy, but it can also be calm. The staff took great care of each and every patient, and it was nice to see when a patient could get up from the bed and walk away from the ED feeling better. I enjoyed comparing and contrasting the ED here in Phnom Penh to ED’s in the U.S. Even though certain things are different, at the end, they still both perform the same exact tasks. A nurse asked me if I wanted to perform an EKG on a patient. When I went up to the EKG machine, I noticed that it looked different from the EKG machines used in the States. The nurse then taught me how to use this machine. It is cool to see that even though they looked completely different exteriorly, it functioned the same way.

At the end of the day, we went to one of my favorite places for dinner. It is called ‘Friends’, and we all got tapas. The reason why I love this place so much is because we all share our food. I love sharing and I love food, so putting it together is great. The food is so good, and I left with a satisfied belly. Some of us ended the night with a massage. I really enjoy getting massages here because it is cheap, and the masseuse was extremely nice. In all, today was great and I’m looking forward to our final days here in this beautiful country.

Mission to Cambodia: Our Last Clinic

By Courtney Bell, Undergrad Nursing Student
Today our entire team traveled to our last clinic at a school called the Light of Future School. As we pulled into the large field outside of the village where the school was, we could see tiny specks of the school children in their uniforms coming together to greet us. The moment we stepped out of our vans, the kids were saying “Hello” simultaneously, and waving at us with excited smiles. I instantly received a hug that lasted a couple minutes from a young girl who I had never met before. Her sweet embrace and the bright eyes of the other school children was enough to wake us up from our sleepiness.
After stepping over a large pile of trash into the entrance of the village area, we walked down a narrow passageway leading to the living room sized area where we would be setting up the clinic. We passed an assortment of rooms on our left with a brick wall on our right separating us from the field outside. Every once in a while, a moto would pass through the narrow passageway, and the children would move their friends out of the way.
After having had several clinics beforehand, we felt like pro’s setting up the stations. Per usual, the stations included “gatekeeper” (who got everyone’s height and weight and monitored who was seen next), triage and vitals, eye exams and musculoskeletal tests, assessments and prescriptions from the nurse practitioner students, finishing with the pharmacy/ prayer station.
Although the majority of the patients were children in today’s clinic, there were a handful of adults who came through. The children waited patiently outside the fence with their backpacks and chairs, and we called in patients one by one. We had the chance to play games with the kids, teach them songs, learn Khmer from them, and get a bunch of hugs and giggles.
One of my favorite moments in the clinic was watching Candida, a nursing student, do a chicken walk with the children to test their musculoskeletal systems while balking like a chicken. The kids laughed and giggled with big smiles, as it was a fun innovation to our clinic.
We also had some interesting encounters with the squatty-potty today, as it was pitch black and flooded on the floor. Some individuals faced the unfortunate consequences of stepping in the puddle and soaking their feet, but this was not a trial too much worse from some of our other situations on this trip. As Dr. Taplin always quotes, “T.I.C.B.- This is Cambodia, Baby.”
We had a full clinic day with lots of sweat, some dehydration, laughter,  and a lovely applause after our very last patient. This was a bittersweet moment for us knowing that we were finished with clinics, but also recognizing our efforts and accomplishments through all the clinics we had on this trip.
Tonight we enjoyed dinner at Khmer Surin Restaurant, or as we know it, the place with the really pretty elephant plates and yummy mango sticky rice, and said farewell to our beloved nurse practitioner students, Kim and Paige, as they headed to the airport to make it home in time for classes.