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.

Both Grecco and Harper travelled to Mexico to distribute five custom-fitted wheelchairs provided by ROC Wheels, capturing in photos and videos the children receiving the wheelchairs so they could share the experience with the students who helped raise the necessary funds.

Harper’s project was to create a caregiver education manual to support those who provide care to the children who were the recipients of the wheelchairs.  The manual includes important health information regarding seating and mobility as well as how to maintain and adjust the pediatric wheelchair for growth.

While in San Carlos, Grecco and Harper also assisted local Mexican therapists in fitting over 60 adult and pediatric wheelchairs and provided education regarding their use to caregivers.

Doctoral candidates in occupational therapy each design a culminating project which requires 640 hours to advance their skills in the areas of clinical practice, research, administration, leadership, program and policy development, advocacy, education and/or theory development.

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.

Published with the intent to raise awareness on maternal and child health issues in developing countries, the book also includes personal stories from women in other countries who have been positively affected by family planning, prenatal care access and post-natal medical assistance. The book outlines the critical role family planning plays in preventing mortality, combating extreme poverty, keeping girls in school, promoting gender equality and preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Dr. Taylor said she was immediately interested in supporting the project through the writing of a chapter because with the advancements in science for maternal and child health, the ways to ensure health among young children is clear. “We know how to nurture those babies to grow into healthy, productive adults, but in developing countries, many of the ingredients are missing. We can do something about that,” Dr. Taylor said. “Raising awareness of the tragic plight of millions of young women and children in developing countries can make a difference.  As Christians, we are called to carry each other’s burdens, and this is a burden we should share.”

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.

The team worked on the project for several years, and after development and testing, the Navigator is housed and maintained at Georgetown University with permanent support by a grant from the MCH Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Click here to learn more about the project.

The team’s paper, “The MCH Navigator: Tools for MCH Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning,” describes the Navigator and the development process and was published last month in the MCH Journal. Click here for the abstract and full text.

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.

The group was led by Belmont Professor of Occupational Therapy Dr. Hachtel and John Williams, TNOTA’s state lobbyist who provided an orientation regarding pertinent bills potentially affecting the profession on the state legislature’s docket this session.

2015DayontheHill2After the orientation, the students met with Health Committee members to discuss the role of occupational therapy and how specific bills affect services provided to the legislator’s constituents. Additionally, Belmont OTD students helped staff TNOTA’s booth at Legislative Plaza to promote the profession to all state government officials.

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

2015 Mission to Guatemala: Day 3

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.

AllisonRichardsonAlliGroot2Team OT/PT
from Ali Groot & Allison Richardson

“God has created us to do small things with great love.”    Mother Theresa

March 10, team Guasome traveled to Elim, a church in Guatemala City. We were able to visit with four families in order evaluate and give suggestions of activities based on the children’s needs. The families were actively engaged with the sessions and eager to learn how they could encourage and improve the quality of care they give their child. Although every member of the team had their own experience with a different family, both of us worked with one special boy named Jimmy.

Jimmy is a 7-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. We collaborated with his eager to learn family on positioning to increase his strength and participation in exploring his environment. It was very inspiring to see the amount of love and support surrounding this child. After two hours Jimmy was out cold in his gracious Mothers arms. His parents explained that Jimmy is a precious gift from God and that they feel blessed that our team was able to come in and share more ideas with them. His father spoke with so much love and hope about Jimmy’s future and it was a true blessing for us to hear his kind words spoken over us. Hearing him speak so freely about God touched our hearts so deeply.

2Guatemala07After stuffing our faces with Gautemalan fried pollo, we decided to get a little exercise and headed to the Guatemala National Olympic training center where one of our amazing translator’s brothers plays adaptive tennis. Jose and Isa showed us how it’s done, making it look much easier than many of us were soon to find out. We were both able to test our skills (or lack there of) on the tennis court. Turns out maneuvering a wheelchair with one-hand results in going nowhere but circles while watching tennis balls fly past you. After we got schooled, Julio (number 46 in the world-NBD) had us all in awe as he and the coach played a match. We broke into groups again and gave the kids and Julio suggestions for stretching, strengthening, and adaptations to help them succeed and minimize discomfort. Continue reading

2015 Mission to Guatemala: Day 2

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.

OliviaKennedyGabbyLaGaceTeam OT/PT
from Gabby LaGace & Olivia Kennedy

Today was full of adventure!! Our first stop was an orphanage named Rosa de Amor in Guatemala City. We were greeted with hugs, warm smiles and words of thanks from the staff.   Here we spent the morning playing with and assessing the needs of the children. We were broken into 4 teams mixed of OT and PT students and we were able to see children ages 12 months to 16 years old all with contagious smiles and enthusiasm. 2Guatemala01Together with the staff of Rosa del Amor, we collaborated to determine appropriate exercises and activities to enhance development of the children.

Next stop was Hope for Tomorrow. This is a home for children founded by two American women who were both adoptive mothers of Guatemalan children. The team split into two groups. The first group brought many children to the local playground while the second group worked with the staff to develop a plan for a future sensory room. They also completed thorough assessments of the children with disabilities.

2Guatemala02The PT’s worked with the staff to fit a child for orthotics to correct an abnormal gait. The OT’s also worked along side the staff to determine appropriate treatment approaches to further the children’s fine motor development and participation.

The staff of Hope for Tomorrow couldn’t have been more eager to work with us and problem solve together. Their passion for caring for the children was inspiring. What a great start to our trip and we look forward to our next stop on this journey.

Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame Opens Nominations for Inaugural Class

fountain-2014-105-300x199With a mission to honor men and women who have made significant and lasting contributions to the health and health care industry, The Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame seeks to recognize and honor the pioneers and current leaders who have formed Tennessee’s health and health care community and encourage future generations of health care professionals.

The nominations process began on February 20 and will continue until April 10 at www.tnhealthcarehall.com. Created by Belmont University and the McWhorter Society, The Hall of Fame is supported by the Nashville Health Care Council, a Hall of Fame Founding Partner. The inaugural class will be announced at the McWhorter Society’s May 5 luncheon.

In addition to recognizing Tennessee’s most influential health and health care leaders, The Hall of Fame will serve as an on-going educational resource to document the rich history that has contributed to Tennessee’s position as a leader for national health care initiatives.

Continue reading

Interprofessional Workshop offered for graduate health science programs

interprofessional-orientation-139-300x185At the beginning of the spring semester, first year graduate students in the College of Health Sciences & Nursing had their first experience working and learning together under the guidance of more than 25 volunteer faculty.  Using a case study approach, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy graduate students worked together to design the best treatment plan for an elderly patient with complex health problems. The new students then tackled the “Marshmallow Challenge,” a fun and creative exercise designed to encourage teams to experience simple but profound lessons in collaboration, innovation and creativity.

College of Health Sciences & Nursing Dean Dr. Cathy Taylor said, “According to the World Health Organization (2010), ‘interprofessional education (IPE) occurs when two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes.’ Emerging evidence links interprofessional (IP) teams to better patient outcomes. As we move into the next phase of healthcare reform, licensed professionals must be able to work effectively in teams and communicate vital patient information clearly.”