Occupational Therapy Alumnus and Husband Help Soldiers, Veterans Through ‘REBOOT Combat Recovery’

REBOOT-groupAlumni Jenny and Evan Owens may not have ever gone through basic training, much less served in combat, but the couple has still developed a passion for ministering to soldiers and their families. In fact, helping soldiers overcome the spiritual wounds of war has become this couple’s mission and led to them founding REBOOT Combat Recovery in 2011.

Jenny received her B.A. from Belmont in 2005 followed by a doctorate in occupational therapy, also from Belmont, in 2007. After graduating, she worked in neuro-rehabilitation at Vanderbilt and then with patients suffering traumatic brain injuries at the Warrior Resiliency and Recovery Center at Fort Campbell’s Blanchfield Army Community Hospital.

Jenny said, “I will never forget my first soldier patient. He was young, strong, handsome and totally intimidating. He seemed absolutely out of place among the wheelchairs and walkers that scattered the clinic. But, upon getting to know him, I came to recognize the invisible wounds that no less affected his mind and spirit. He was involved in a rocket attack at a gym in Iraq. It was a mass casualty situation. He dragged his workout buddy to safety before he even recognized that he was also injured. His greatest desire was to be returned to full duty and deploy, once again, with his unit to Afghanistan. But he had memory problems, trouble finding his way around, problems getting his words out, headaches and visual disturbances. Anxiety, a thing that had been completely foreign to him, bubbled under the surface… This is why REBOOT exists. This soldier is who we exist for. Because this soldier patient is one of a million like him.”

Evan added, “When Jenny accepted the position at Ft. Campbell as an OT, we moved into a community of military families. As we became friends with these families, we recognized that there were issues not being addressed through the traditional treatment models. During a road trip, my wife began reading a book about PTSD aloud. By the end of the chapter, we both had felt a calling, loud and clear that this was where we were to focus our efforts.”

In 2010, Jenny and Evan met with a combat-injured staff sergeant and his wife who had reached a crisis point and were desperate for hope. The two couples discussed difficult topics and talked about coping strategies, and before long, the support group of four had grown to 10. By the next year, Jenny and Evan knew this was their new calling, and REBOOT was born. “We had no plans of building a non-profit,” Evan said. “Our goal was to simply help a few friends by listening to them and supporting them in any way we could. It only took a couple meetings for us to be hooked! From there, doors began to open. We were invited on post to form our first REBOOT Combat Recovery group. Our group sizes quickly grew from 7 families, to nearly 20 in under a year. It was clear we had hit a nerve and people were responding. Other military bases began to call and ask how they could start holding REBOOT in their communities and the momentum continued. Today, REBOOT Combat Recovery has over eight locations and is on pace to serve over 750 families! We are proud of our 88 percent graduation rate, and nearly 25 percent of our graduates go on to become leaders within the organization.”

REBOOT Combat Recovery exists to support the healing of combat veterans and their families from the spiritual wounds of war. The nonprofit organization offers a 12-week flagship program that focuses on topics including “Where was God?” and “What Happened to Me?” as well as exploring subjects like guilt, forgiveness, grief and identity. Reboot also offers six-week continuation courses focusing on spiritual foundations and growth as well as specific issues faced by  military families.

collageEvan, a 2005 music performance graduate who now serves on the University’s Alumni Board, began his career in sales and marketing before moving into technology. Until last summer, Evan served as the chief executive officer for CentreSource, a Nashville-based technology consulting and digital marketing company. Though he still consults with CentreSource, Evan decided to dedicate himself full-time to REBOOT, where he oversees service offerings, expansion strategy and fundraising as executive director.

REBOOT has now achieved a dozen rotations of its flagship 12-week trauma healing course at Fort Campbell and has served more than 180 individuals in that area with their free services. Seventy percent of REBOOT graduates to date have stayed involved with the program and continued with further courses, and REBOOT is now expanding to other areas with groups currently meeting in Nashville, Oklahoma City and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

“Our mission is to help combat vets and their families heal from the spiritual wounds of war,” Evan said.  We plant missional communities that help change a military community from the inside out. Our reproducible model is powerful and scalable. Our goals for the next few years are to expand operations to over 20 locations around the country and to launch an online membership portal for churches or other non-profits who would like to use our model in their own contexts. There are other organizations around the country who would like to offer help to combat vets but lack the resources or expertise to do so. This online platform will not only produce a revenue stream to help make our non-profit more sustainable, but it will enable people (just like Jenny and I)  to start making a lasting change in their own communities.”

REBOOT welcomes individuals and companies who want to contribute to their cause and encourage participation in their “22 Fund,” which named with respect for the 22 veterans that commit suicide every day. For $22 per month, donations can help a family of four find the help, hope and healing they need to recover from the wounds of war through REBOOT.

Dr. Cathy Taylor Named 2015 Nashville Medical News Woman to Watch

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(L to R): Dr. Lorry Liotta-Kleinfeld (Occupational Therapy), Dr. Leslie J. Higgins (Nursing), Dr. Beth Hallmark (Nursing), Dr. Cathy Taylor (Nursing), Dr. Erin Shankel (Nursing), Dr. Renee Brown (Physical Therapy)

Dr. Cathy Taylor, Dean of the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing, was recently honored as one of Nashville Medical News’s 2015 Women to Watch. For the 10th year, Nashville Medical News has profiled a group of women in Middle Tennessee who are making a difference in the health care landscape of Nashville, Tennessee or beyond through their work as clinicians, public health officials, advocates, administrators, association executives or professionals.

Taylor has served as Dean of the College of Health Sciences since 2012.  She came to Belmont from the Tennessee Department of Health’s Bureau of Health Service Administration where she was assistant commissioner.  Before that, she was an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University Nursing School of Nursing and the director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance Disease Management Program. Continue reading

Occupational Therapy Students and Faculty are Published

AssistiveTechnologyA 2014 thesis project by three graduate students in Belmont University’s doctoral program in occupational therapy was recently published in the journal Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology. Co-authored by Dr. Teresa Plummer, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, the project studied the impact of mobility assistive technology devices on participation for individuals with disabilities.

The research team included Jordan Carver, who earned her OTD from Belmont last week, along with Ashley Ganus and Jon Mark Ivey, both who both earned the OTD in 2014. Ann Eubank, a Nashville area occupational therapist and social worker associated with the School of Occupational Therapy, was an additional co-author.

Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame Announces Eight Inaugural Inductees

Inaugural class represents Tennessee’s greatest health and health care pioneers

Healthcare Hall of Fame-117During a McWhorter Society Luncheon held on Belmont University’s campus this week, the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame announced the eight health care professionals selected as the Hall of Fame’s inaugural inductees. With a mission to honor men and women who have made significant and lasting contributions to the health and health care industry, the Hall of Fame was created by Belmont University and the McWhorter Society and is supported by the Nashville Health Care Council, a Hall of Fame Founding Partner.

Among the highly qualified candidates nominated, the inaugural inductees were reviewed by a Selection Committee made up of health and health care leaders from across the state. Selected inductees represent some of Tennessee’s greatest health and health care pioneers, leaders and innovators. Inducted individuals include:

  • Thomas F. Frist, Jr.: Physician and Flight Surgeon in U.S. Air Force, Co-Founder, Past Chairman and CEO of Hospital Corporation of America, Co-Founder of China Healthcare, Corporation, Member of National Healthcare Hall of Fame
  • Thomas Frist, Sr.: Cardiologist and Internist, Founder of Park View Hospital, Co-Founder of Hospital Corporation of America
  • Ernest William Goodpasture: Pathologist and Physician, Past Dean of Vanderbilt School of Medicine, Past Director of Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
  • Jack C. Massey: Co-Founder of Hospital Corporation of America, Founder and Past Board Member of Baptist Hospital
  • Clayton McWhorter: Pharmacist and Co-Founder of HealthTrust and Clayton Associates, Past President and CEO of Hospital Corporation of America, Lifetime Achievement Award from Federation of American Health Systems Recipient
  • David Satcher: 16th U.S. Surgeon General, Past Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Past President of Meharry Medical College and Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Mildred T. Stahlman: Pediatrician and Pathologist, Founder of the country’s first modern neonatology intensive care unit, Pioneered the use of respiratory therapy on infants with damaged lungs, Past President of the American Pediatric Society, Distinguished Alumna of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
  • Danny Thomas: Founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and ALSAC

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OTD Residency Projects Provide Wheelchairs and Support to Mexican Families

ClaireGreccoTaraHarperTwo doctoral students in the Occupational Therapy program at Belmont recently completed their residency projects, which together provided wheelchairs and professional support to children and their families in San Carlos, Mexico.  Claire Grecco and Tara Harper completed complimentary projects under the academic advisement of Dr. Teresa Plummer, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, and with assistance from the faith-based charitable organization, Reach Out and Care Wheels (ROC Wheels), based in Bozeman, Montana.

For her project, Grecco piloted the creation of a local chapter of Youths Empowered with the Helper Spirit to Reach Out and Care at Ezell Harding Christian School in Nashville.  Through the program, students learned about the international need for wheelchairs and helped raise money to provide wheelchairs for children in need. Continue reading

Dean Taylor Published in ‘The Mother & Child Project,’ Sheds Light on Global Maternal and Child Health

IMG_09521 (2)Dean of the College of Health Sciences Dr. Cathy Taylor was recently featured “The Mother & Child Project: Raising our Voices for Health and Hope,” a compilation of personal narratives, research and essays from inspirational leaders, politicians, philanthropists, speakers and musicians including Kimberly Williams Paisley, Amy Grant, Melinda Gates, Senator Dr. William H. Frist and Michael W. Smith, among others.

The project was compiled by Sen. Frist’s Hope Through Healing Hands, a nonprofit whose mission is to promote improved quality of life for all people around the world. Using health to lead the charge, Hope Through Healing Hands seeks to educate all people on ways to have access to a fuller, healthier lifestyle. Continue reading

Dean Taylor Contributes to Maternal and Child Health Navigator

TaylorSmallDean of the College of Health Sciences Cathy Taylor was part of the original design team of national experts, supported by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), who worked to develop and launch the MCH Navigator beginning in 2010.

The MCH Navigator is an online portal and clearinghouse for maternal and child health professionals, students and others working to improve the health of women, children, adolescents and families for training on key MCH and leadership topics. The project contains in-depth training portals on specific issues of importance to public health professionals and highlights learning opportunities focused on MCH topics.
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Occupational Therapy Students Participate in Day on the Hill

2015DayontheHill1More than 50 Belmont Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) students recently attended the Tennessee Occupational Therapy Association’s (TNOTA) Day on the Hill.

The students joined a group of 120 other students and practitioners from across the state, forming the largest organized representation to date for TNOTA Day on the Hill. Continue reading

OT and PT students, faculty and alumni present at International Seating Symposium

ISS 2015 Go Baby Go 2

Belmont OT student, Jayme Mills and BU PT alumnus, Marna Jane Bevill watch as a child test drives her new “ride.”

Six doctoral students from the School of Occupational Therapy recently joined with Dr. Teresa Plummer, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, Dr. Nancy Darr, Professor of Physical Therapy, and several graduates of both programs to teach a Go Baby Go preconference workshop at the annual International Seating Symposium (ISS) held in Nashville this year.  The ISS is the lead educational and scientific conference in the field of wheelchair seating & mobility and related technologies.

The student presenters included Elizabeth Davis, Gabrielle LaGrace, Emily McClearran, Jayme Mills, Kelly Phipps and Betsy Philo, all second year OTD students.  OTD alumnus Cassie Swinehart and DPT alumnus Marna Jane Bevill assisted in the presentation which was coordinated with Go Baby Go Music City and the Center for Independent Living.

Workshop participants were instructed in how to modify commercially available ride on toys for young children with disabilities.  Several children with physical disabilities participated in the workshop and received ride on cars modified by participants with assistance from the instructors and Go Baby Go Music City volunteers.   Modified ride on cars enable children with physical disabilities to interact and play with peers thus improving communication, vision, cognition and motivation to move.

2015 Mission to Guatemala: Day 4

Two separate teams of health science students are in Guatemala over Spring Break this year.  One team consists of nursing and pharmacy students.  The other includes OT and PT students.  Both  team are writing about their experiences.

TaliaFayedGraceCroninTeam OT/PT
from Grace Cronin & Talia Fayed

“God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called”

Today on March 11th, we spent the morning traveling to the community of Las Conchas on the outskirts of Guatemala City. The houses in this community are a single room with concrete floors, tin roofs and walls, and even blankets serving as dividers. Access to clean water is limited and food is sparse. Upon arrival we split up into 3 teams who each visited with a local family in each sector of the community. 2Guatemala04My group went to visit Nicole’s family. Nicole is a 3 year old little girl who has problems with her spinal alignment and is poorly nourished due to problems with feeding. As we came to learn more about her family we found out that Nicole has had a very hard life so far, but now is in the care of her aunt and grandmother. She is being raised by her aunt and grandmother because her mother abandoned her. These two women stepped up to the plate to do God’s work and take care of this sweet soul that Nicole is. These women were certainly not equipped to take on caring for a toddler with special needs, but God has certainly picked the right women! We loved getting to spend time with these women and Nicole. We enjoyed playing with Nicole, loving on her and her family, and teaching her stretches for her back and strategies to help her eat and communicate more. We can’t wait to hear of Nicole’s progress and the joy that she will bring to her family and her community. Continue reading