Pharmacy Students Attend State Conference

The Tennessee Society of Student Pharmacists (TSSP) Winter Meeting was recently held in downtown Nashville at the Double Tree Hotel. Eighteen students from Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy attended to learn more about TSSP and advocate for the pharmacy profession. The Winter Meeting brings student pharmacists together from across Tennessee to engage in current legislation, build relationships and advocate for the pharmacy profession.

Belmont student Shelby Blalock took the reigns as the 2016-2017 TSSP president during the meeting. Blalock stated, “Attending the TSSP Winter Meeting was a great experience! During the meeting, we met other student pharmacists from across the state of Tennessee, shared our passion for the field of pharmacy and learned how to advocate for our profession through pharmacist panels and workshops.”

At the meeting this year, APhA Foundation Resident Brian Donahue, PharmD served as the keynote speaker. Donahue spoke on the event’s theme, “The Time is Now,” and described opportunities in the pharmacy profession and how to act on them. There was also a presentation on the past, present and future of TSSP, where Blalock spoke.

Other presentations focused on “Building an Innovative Practice,” “Being the Leader of Tomorrow Today,” and “Making the Most of Your Residency: Transitioning to the Workplace” by utilizing pharmacists and students to lead panels and hands-on activities. The programming also included a workshop, lead by TPA Director of Pharmacy Practice Initiatives Lucy Adkins, PharmD, on how to effectively advocate for the pharmacy profession. The meeting concluded with Blalock delivering her presidential speech and the TSSP Executive Committee transitioned leadership utilizing an Oath of Office led by Blalock.

TSSP continued a tradition of organizing a Legislative Health Fair at the State Capitol where students from every school or college of pharmacy from across Tennessee participated. Five Belmont students attended to check blood pressures and educate legislators on Medication Therapy Management. Three students participated in the TPA House of Delegates where two resolutions were proposed, voted on and passed. The first resolution honored Dr. Larry D. Calhoun (dean of ETSU) for his dedication and for winning the APhA-ASP Outstanding Dean Award. The second allowed pharmacists serving as preceptors to claim five hours of non-ACPE continuing education credit for precepting students per renewal cycle. The next meeting for TSSP is in July.

Mission to Guatemala: Energy, Laughter and Happiness

by Kristina Mertz, Meghan Chen, and Allison Lane
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This week has flown by faster than any of us had expected considering our rocky start. It is crazy to think that today was our last day of clinics here in Guatemala. Thursday's Blog PictureToday we were blessed enough to serve at Escuela Esperanza surrounding ourselves with kids full of energy, laughter, and happiness. The mission of this school was to break the cycle of poverty through education and empowerment, which motivated us to continue on through the heat of the day.

At the end of the day, we had our usual debriefing meeting where we reflected upon 1 Corinthians 1: 12-19. In this passage, it discusses how “God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” This scripture made us realize how God has given each individual on this team special abilities and talents that has allowed us to work together as a team. Similar to the Body of Christ, health care is made up of many different parts and roles. Our team is made up of students from pharmacy, physical therapy, social work, and nursing. Over the past week, we have realized the importance of integrating interdisciplinary roles in order to serve the people of Antigua. We all have our own individual strengths but we also know it is okay to ask for help when we need it.

Thursday's Blog Picture 2It is so rewarding to know that we were able to provide health care for so many people over this short amount of time. None of this would be possible without each of us coming together to form a team, for the sum of our efforts are greater than the parts we each play. Each of us will walk away with a stronger understanding of how we can serve others as the Body of Christ.

As Jesus says in Matthew 25:40, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

Mission to Guatemala: God came through. . .

by Shelley Robert, Adjunct Professor and
Nurse Practitioner, Vanderbilt Trauma Center

“Your word, Lord, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.
Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.” -Psalm 119:89-90

Leading the students on this trip has reinforced and renewed my faith in several ways. As a newcomer to Guatemala, as a rookie leader of a student trip, and as a nurse practitioner who practices in a highly organized healthcare system with ample resources, this trip presented many challenges and fears. I was not able to solve these challenges by my own volition or control, therefore I asked God to give me the strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. I breathed this prayer under my breath many times throughout the week, as I walked up to obviously sick women and children. And He responded. Our student team saw many very sick patients who literally had no other option outside of us. We are practicing in a rural area where many families live in great poverty, and they do not have the resources to provide healthcare for their families. Many of our Guatemalan friends, when I questioned their medical history, had never been seen by a doctor. We saw a variety of illnesses, ranging from children with chronic respiratory illness to a woman with dengue fever and impending hypovolemic shock. I prayed so many times during these examinations, for God to help me remember my training and to give me direction for how to best care for these very sick people. Cellular networks were unreliable, and we had no use for all the fancy & informative apps on our phones. But God came through for us. He answered my prayers, in all His goodness and grace. He helped me to recall the knowledge and skills that go unused in my day-to-day profession, which is highly specialized and not at all similar to the primary care/international medicine practice that we needed with these patients. He also gave me a brilliant multidisciplinary team of health science students and other leaders who were passionate and excited to lend their fresh expertise in a new perspective. God is faithful. Our prayers are a reminder of our reliance on God, as we humbly and desperately invite Him to fill us with faith and strength.

Mission to Guatemala: The Journey to Antigua

by Jon Ashton, Pharmacy Student

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From left to right: Shelby Hood (Pharmacy – 4th year), Meghan Chen (Nursing – 2nd year), Jonathan Ashton (Pharmacy – 1st year) in Antigua, Guatemala

Each of us has our own journey, our own path to walk. Some paths are easy, some are hard. Some smooth, some rocky. Some are flat, and some never seem to stop going uphill. Each of us has parts of our journey that are wonderful and some which are not, and some parts that help us find meaning in that journey.

For one week, a group of 22 students and faculty at Belmont University has come together to walk a part of our journey together. We have decided to journey together to Antigua, Guatemala in order to spend that time in service of others.

Our journey got off to a hectic start. We were scheduled to arrive at 4AM Sunday morning at Nashville International Airport in order to be prepared to board our pre-dawn flight to Houston and then on to Guatemala City. We checked in, shuttled through security, and boarded the plane, only to have the captain announce over the intercom that we would be delayed for fog in Houston. We stood up sleepily, trudged off the plane and waited, where but ten minutes later, we were invited back onto the plane after the captain had verified that in fact their equipment was sufficient to land in fog. This time, it was time to go! We taxied out onto the runway and waited for the word that we were cleared to take off. No_go_for_Houston_030616Some 45 minutes later, another passenger not in our party passed out and required medical attention, so we taxied back to the gate, only to find that there was no gate available. By then, the passenger had recovered, more embarrassed than anything else, but by this time, we’d lost enough time that it was impossible for us to make it to Houston in time to catch our connecting flight to Guatemala City. We were asked to deplane again. Strike two. Our faculty leadership sprang into action and spent 20 minutes with the gate attendant trying to find an option to reroute our flight and get us to Guatemala that day. Unfortunately, it was not to be. The next available flight was the following day. Strike three. We were out. Our only option was to return the following morning, once again at 4AM. A rocky start indeed.

Guatemala_City_from_the_air_030616Monday morning came, and by 4AM, each of us had returned to the airport ready to go, a little wearier from lack of sleep and a little warier of bad luck. This time, however, our luck was good. The skies were clear enough to fly on schedule, and we had an uneventful pair of flights to Guatemala City. The city itself is nestled in among verdant mountains with colorful buildings dotting the landscape as we approached. It was clear that the city was a modern city, but with a soul that was unique and different from that which we know in Nashville. The colors were vibrant, the people energetic, and there seemed to be a well-organized chaos directing traffic. It took an hour and a half by van to reach Antigua along a highway which might be described as an unhurried rush. No horns sounded angrily. Motorcycles weaved through traffic. People went about their day.

Calles_de_Antigua_030616As we reached Antigua, the feel changed. The town was smaller, the architecture took on a less modern and more colonial Spanish aspect. The roads were cobblestone. Amidst the historic charm of the city, there was a rougher edge to be seen. There were bars on windows, heavy steel grates, prominent locks, and walls with broken glass embedded in the tops to prevent burglars from jumping over. It was clear there are parts of the town that are less safe than we are used to. It was also clear that there was a very real need for people like us to come and offer what training, knowledge, and skills that we have.

Having been delayed a full day, our contact, a businessman named Pablo, informed us that a doctor was seeing patients and that many were waiting for us to arrive to help screen her patients. Once again, our leadership sprang into action, directing a few of us to drop off our bags at the residence, and setting up the various stations of the clinic. There were stations for vital signs, for blood glucose screening, an eye exam, and a limited pharmacy set up with the medications we brought from Tennessee. We saw over eighty patients, mostly elderly women, but included a few children and teenagers as well.

One patient in particular, an elderly woman of over eighty years, came to the clinic with leg pain. She told her story of chronic, severely debilitating leg pain that kept her housebound, confined to a wheelchair, unable to walk or work. She felt a burden to her adult daughter who cared for her. When we asked what we could do, she asked if we would pray with her. Sydney didn’t hesitate. She asked for a translator to join her and the patient’s daughter for a prayer. The bowed their heads. Sydney prayed. The translator translated. As the prayer was offered, those around the room took notice. Many bowed their heads and joined the prayer. Many others in the crowded, busy room heard the words and their eyes glistened as they asked God for strength, for guidance, and for love. When she was done, she said ‘Amen’ and offered a hug to the woman, who returned it with tears in her eyes.

There are times along our journey when our path intersects the path of another. On this day, the relatively smooth path of 22 young travelers crossed many paths: a young, inquisitive boy in for a check-up, a young girl with a persistent cough, a young mother with a sick infant, an elderly grandmother with leg pain, and countless others. Each day, we have the chance to make a difference, to reach out and offer comfort in a time of need, to help make the journey of a fellow traveler a little easier.

Mission to Guatemala: Tuesday

DSC_0320by Carolina Cerrato, Nursing Student

DSC_0240Today was a day both challenging and gratifying as my team and I tackled our second day serving those in Antigua, Guatemala. We had the opportunity to visit a clinic for the elderly, as well as a women’s clinic, and continued running general health screenings there. With today being our second day there were definitely more expectations in terms of what we were capable of, however, there was not a single challenge that one of my team members did not rise to meet. I am continually blown away by the energy, passion, and focus that each one of these individuals has for providing healthcare, and even more astounded by the love they have for a people they’ve only just met. As I walked from room to room within the clinic there were several instances when entire groups of people would have their hands over someone in prayer, which was incredible to me, because not only did it serve as a reminder of why we are here (for Jesus!), but it showed just how much of a team we have already become – united under Christ.

As we continue throughout this week I am excited and anxious to see how we grow together and as individuals. With only a few days left to provide care, we are eager to see how the Lord can continue to use us to love and care for His people. Bendiciones,

Pharmacy students participate in Interprofessional Team Case Training

Nineteen of Belmont’s fourth-year pharmacy students recently participated in the annual “Interprofessional Team Geriatric Case Training,” an event that ensures health professional students develop skills for working in interprofessional teams, at Meharry Medical College. This is the fifth year Belmont’s College of Pharmacy has been involved in the event.

This experience allows students to develop interprofessional collaborative skills by working as a team on a geriatric case and developing a patient assessment and treatment plan. Faculty experts are available to consult with teams, and students are assigned to observe and rate team dynamics. The program concludes with an interactive general assembly where an interdisciplinary expert panel provides feedback and answers questions. Students receive a certificate for participating in the event.

“This event opened my eyes to not only how significant a pharmacist’s role is in caring for patients, but also how valuable it is to be able to collaborate with other health care professionals.” said fourth year pharmacy student Shelby Starks. “It was very rewarding to come together as a team and know we were all working with a goal of providing the best care for our patient.”

Student Candace Beam said, “My educational experience at Belmont has prepared me to successfully practice in an interdisciplinary environment. This event confirmed my belief that an interdisciplinary approach to treatment is the best way to provide optimal patient care.”

Nearly 400 students studying health disciplines from several local institutions served as members of the interprofessional teams. In addition to pharmacy students from Belmont and Lipscomb Universities, medical students from Meharry, dietetic interns from National HealthCare Corporation and Vanderbilt University, physical therapy students from Tennessee State University (TSU), social work students from TSU and University of Tennessee and family nurse practitioner students from TSU also participated in this event.

“The Meharry event was an overwhelmingly positive experience,” said student Ryan Catlin. “The importance of interdisciplinary care was both exemplified and emphasized. Not only did I gain a great amount of respect for other disciplines, but I acquired even more understanding of our profession’s role in the interdisciplinary team.”

Ashton Beggs, assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy, serves on the interdisciplinary faculty planning committee and expert panel for this event. “This is one of the largest interdisciplinary health care-related student events in the country,” Beggs said. “It is exciting to see students engaged in this manner and learning the value of team-based care.”

Pharmacy faculty member featured on HIMSS website

BlashSmall2Belmont University College of Pharmacy Assistant Professor Dr. Anthony Blash was quoted and featured on the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) website. Blash spoke about the need for Doctor of Pharmacy students to have a pathway to Healthcare Information Technology careers through quality education as well as the benefits of being a HIMSS Approved Education Partner.

HIMSS is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving healthcare quality, safety, cost-effectiveness and access through the best use of information technology and management systems with 52,000 individual members, 570 corporate members and 225 not-for-profit association members.

As a result of Dr. Blash’s Healthcare Informatics classes meeting the HIMSS rigorous standards for quality health informational technology or healthcare education, Belmont’s College of Pharmacy was named as a HIMSS Approved Education Partner (AEP) in August of 2015.

Colleges of Health Sciences and Pharmacy to host Health Academy in June for 5th-8th graders

HealthAcademyThe College of Health Sciences and the College of Pharmacy will host a week-long day camp from June 6 through June 10 that will allow students in grades 5 through 8 to explore the different careers available in the health sciences fields and expose them to issues healthcare professionals deal with on a daily basis. Students will explore a real-world example of how different health professionals (pharmacy, physical therapy, nursing, occupational therapy, social work) collaborate and work inter-professionally to take care of a patient.  Click here to register.

Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame Announces Call for Nominations

The Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame, an initiative to honor Tennessee’s finest health care leaders, is accepting nominations for its 2016 class via the organization’s website, Submissions will be accepted until March 18.

With a mission to honor men and women who have made significant and lasting contributions to the health care industry, the Hall of Fame seeks to recognize the pioneers who have formed Tennessee’s health care community and encourage future generations of innovators and leaders.

Co-founded by Belmont University, the McWhorter Society and the Nashville Health Care Council, the Hall of Fame inducted its eight inaugural members at a luncheon last year. Inaugural inductees include:

  • Dr. 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
  • Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr.: Cardiologist and Internist, Founder of Park View Hospital, Co-Founder of Hospital Corporation of America
  • Dr. 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
  • R. 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
  • Dr. 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
  • Dr. 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

Submitted nominees will be evaluated by the Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee, comprised of healthcare leaders across the state.

Potential inductees must have:

  • Been born, lived or have worked in Tennessee
  • Made a significant impact and lasting contribution to health care at the local, state, national or international level
  • Exhibit the highest ethical and professional character
  • Serve as an outstanding role model in their community.

Pharmacy Professor Garners National Attention for Antibiotic Stewardship Program

WilliamsSmallAssistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice Dr. Montgomery Williams has garnered national attention for The Antibiotic Stewardship Program at Williamson Medical Center where Williams serves as co-chair.

The program, which has been active since 2009, will be highlighted in a case series that will be published on the Pew Charitable Trusts Website in the coming months. The case series discusses the formation and successes of ten antibiotic stewardship programs around the country.

For more information, click here.