Belmont’s Health Sciences Simulation Program Earns Full Accreditation

A nursing student works along a simulator on Belmont's' campus.

The University’s program is the first in the state to earn the designation

Belmont University’s Simulation Program recently received full accreditation in the Teaching/Education Area from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSIH) and the Council for Accreditation of Healthcare Simulation Programs. The status was granted for a five year period and is valid through December 2022.

The University’s robust Simulation Program exists to improve patient safety and health outcomes by providing high quality, evidence-based, experiential education in a safe innovative environment. With many labs offering a variety of experiences, students in many programs throughout the College of Health Sciences and Nursing (CSHN) have the opportunity to participate in a simulation during their time on campus.

In its report, the SSHC noted many program strengths including:

  • Strong integration of student support in paid positions
  • Tremendous faculty support of the program
  • Continued expansion of faculty and staff skills
  • A recognition of simulation value from learners
  • Significant support from upper administration regarding the Simulation Program and its merits

Additionally, the Simulation Program’s material recycling program was acknowledged as one of Belmont’s best practices, and a recommendation that other programs adopt the initiative was mentioned. This innovative program saves the University more than $40,000 per year.

Director of the Simulation Program and Assistant Professor Dr. Beth Hallmark said students in the College will have many meaningful opportunities to participate in simulation, beginning as soon as their first semester. “Simulation is a safe place to participate in patient care,” Hallmark said. “It enhances patient safety and improves patient outcomes by increasing confidence and improving clinical reasoning. We also are able to expose our student to interprofessional training.”

Belmont’s Simulation Program is the first in the state to receive accreditation.

Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Nursing Dr. Cathy Taylor said, “Reflecting years of dedicated work, this achievement is truly a shining achievement for nursing and health sciences at Belmont.  I’m so proud of our Simulation team and excited for the benefits it will offer future students and faculty.”

OT Students, Faculty Sing to Benefit Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee

students singing next to a poster for the benefit concertOccupational therapy graduate students Roya Rezadoost and Madeleine Ruff sang a Spice Girls song at a recent benefit concert for the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee. The concert was hosted by Dr. Natalie Michaels, associate professor of occupational therapy. She also partook in the festivities by performing original songs as well as hits from Whitney Houston and Pat Benatar.

Other musicians present included Jim Martin who sang some soft country, including Glen Campbell and songs he’d written, and Rick Michaels, who sang a song by Billy Currington.

Belmont Occupational Therapy Doctorate Students Volunteer for Nashville Buddy Walk

Participants at the Buddy WalkBelmont’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate students recently attended the Nashville Buddy Walk at the Hermitage. While there, the group helped with activities, passed out t-shirts and made Thanksgiving Day thank-you cards with the kids for their parents and caregivers. This event is sponsored by the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee.

Participants enjoyed themselves throughout the day as they participated in activities with their siblings, parents and the Belmont student volunteers.

Tennessee’s Deputy Commissioner for Population Health to Speak at Belmont

Dr. Michael Warren, Deputy Commissioner for Population Health with the Tennessee Department of Health, will speak at Belmont this Friday, October 27, at 10:00 a.m. during the convocation hour.  His presentation will provide an introduction to public health/population health, discuss their importance, and take a look at public health in Tennessee.  The event will be held in McWhorter Hall, Room 102.  Students and the public are invited.

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.

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.

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.