College of Pharmacy Hosts Second Annual Tennessee Oncology Pharmacists Association Meeting

On Saturday, September 9, the College of Pharmacy hosted the annual Tennessee Oncology Pharmacists Association Meeting annual event in Frist Lecture Hall in partnership with the Tennessee Oncology Pharmacists Association (TOPA). TOPA is a local organization created by a group of local pharmacists.Their purpose is to “promote collaborative learning and foster networking opportunities with pharmacists across Tennessee and surrounding states” and “provide educational and networking resources that promote the optimization and delivery of pharmaceutical services for patients living with cancer in the Volunteer State and across the southeast region.“

Nearly 50 pharmacists attended the event, as well as 10 corporate sponsors. Attendees came from across Middle Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi and Kentucky. Eleven presentations were given by oncology pharmacists on topics including new oncology drugs, transitioning patients from inpatient to outpatient care and new legislation related to oncology, among others.

Belmont University College of Pharmacy is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. For more information on upcoming Continuing Education opportunities, click here.

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.

College of Pharmacy Celebrates Inaugural Fellow Completion

Fellow, Dr. Kate Claussen, poses with members of the Belmont College of PharmacyBelmont’s College of Pharmacy, in partnership with Aegis Sciences Corporation, recently celebrated the completion of its first Clinical Scientist Fellow in Drug Information, a two-year program that provides an intensive postgraduate training program focused on drug information, evidence-based practice, teaching and research. Dr. Kate Claussen, of Hendersonville, Tennessee, was the program’s first fellow.

The program is one of approximately 60 postgraduate pharmacy fellowships in the country and offers a unique training experience in areas not widely available in pharmacy training. Two new fellows, Jeneva Garland and Stephanie Manley, began their training on June 1. This program is the first drug information fellowship in Nashville and the only drug information fellowship with a healthcare laboratory component.

Pharmacy Students part of Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Group that Wins Simulated Experience Competition

Students participating in SAP-simulated group project represent four disciplines from across campus

Students from Belmont’s Jack C. Massey College of Business Graduate School of Business (MBA and Professional MBA), College of Pharmacy (joint PharmD/MBA) and College of Law (joint MBA/JD) that are enrolled in an accounting course and a management course recently participated in a SAP-simulated group project and won among their classmates. This is the first time that a student group has included participants from all four disciplines.

The SAP-based simulation provides an opportunity for graduate students, in groups of 4-5, to run a simulated company. Each team is responsible for making strategic decisions including product mix, pricing and marketing levels, investment in additional capacity and cash flow management, among other things. They then operate their companies over six simulated ‘months’ of productions. This opportunity is unique as students are able to use SAP, an enterprise software system that is used by many leading manufacturing companies including Nissan, Bridgestone, Tractor Supply Company and Mapco.

Associate Dean & Senior Professor of Performance Excellence Dr. Joe Alexander said the opportunity to work alongside students from other disciplines is incredibly valuable for participants. “In contemporary business settings, that’s the name of the game,” Alexander said. “Cross-functional teams where individuals from different departments and functions must learn to work together, utilizing the skills and information from their areas to help make teams more successful in solving business problems are apparent in today’s organizations.”

Pharmacy Students Serve at Camp for Children with Diabetes

Camp Sugar Falls

For several years, students from Belmont’s College of Pharmacy have served as counselors for children’s overnight diabetes camps in Alabama and Florida, gaining fourth-year advanced practice experience and clinical course credit. This year, the College extended the opportunity for students who completed their first or second professional year of classes to serve as a counselor for a day camp, Camp Sugar Falls, located in Antioch, Tennessee. Professor of Pharmacy Dr. Condit Steil has fostered these effort for many years, both at Belmont and on a national scale.

The opportunity for student pharmacists to become more aware of children’s needs and support them as they deal with diabetes is valuable. Many patients with diabetes rely on pharmacists for supplies, medications and advice. Student pharmacist David Luong said, “Having been a counselor this week has been fun and very educational. We learned about treating diabetes, the intricacies of monitoring and insulin dosing and carbohydrate counting.”

In the camp, Belmont’s student pharmacists worked with and learned from other health care providers including physicians, nurses, nutritionists and counselors. The American Diabetes Association’s Camp Sugar Falls is a day-camp experience for children ages 6 to 17 that have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.  Children and counselors engage in a week of recreational and educational activities that focus on nutrition, lifestyle habits, self-esteem and team building. Camp Sugar Falls takes place at the YMCA’s Camp Widjiwagan.

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.”

Pharmacy Faculty, Students Attend Summer Institute on Health Policy


A session during the Summer Institute of Health PolicyA group of eight Belmont Pharmacy faculty and students, the largest to-date, is participating this week in the Summer Institute on Health Policy, a yearly interdisciplinary educational event held at Meharry Medical College. The focus of the course is social epidemiology, and attendees are discussing underlying reasons and potential solutions to disparities in health care access and outcomes.

This year’s course is being taught by Dr. Amani Nuru-Jeter from the University of California Berkeley with assistance from Dr. Derek Griffith from Vanderbilt University.

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.

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.