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.

Physical Therapy Students Honor the Memory of Alumna Sara Pigg Walker

Students pose for a picture before the Fun Run began.

Belmont University Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) students volunteered at the annual Sara Walker Run on September 24, held in honor of 2003 Belmont DPT alumna Sara Pigg Walker. The Sara Walker Run is a fundraising event to raise money for missions supported through the Sara Walker Foundation that are intended to help spread Sara’s message of hope to others through Jesus Christ.

Sara’s Story

Sara was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer on her 33rd birthday in January 2011. After 16 rounds of chemotherapy and three clinical research trials, Sara’s earthly struggle with cancer ended in August of 2012, at the age of 34.

During her life, Sara had two great loves: writing and bringing souls to Jesus. From her diagnosis until her final breath, she sought to use her writing to provide encouragement to those with their own challenges, always pointing her readers to Jesus. She candidly wrote of her physical, emotional and spiritual battles, praying she could provide encouragement to her more than 700,000 readers worldwide. What resonated most with her audience was the concept of “savoring”–the opportunity to enjoy the little things life has to offer and see each moment as a gift from God.

Because of her great outreach to the lost and hurting, Sara’s family and close friends established the Sara Walker Foundation in 2012 to continue to provide hope to others in her honor. Because of Him, her story continues today.

Sara Walker Foundation and Belmont University

Kids who participated in the event run towards their activities. The first Sara Walker Run was held in April 2011, when Sara’s ‘Belmont DPT family’ sought to help raise funds for Sara’s medical expenses after her diagnosis. Due to its huge success, and in an effort to continue to honor Sara, the annual Sara Walker Run continues today and serves as the Sara Walker Foundation’s main fundraising event.

This year, Belmont University and the Sara Walker Foundation provided two current DPT students with scholarships in Sara’s honor. Scholarship recipients were 3rd year students Drew Dudek and Susan Keim.

Christi Williams, 2005 alumna and assistant professor in the School of Physical Therapy and Jennifer LaRocca, 2003 alumna and close friend and classmate of Sara’s, serve on the Sara Walker Foundation Board with a focus of sharing Sara’s story and keeping Sara’s spirit alive in the hearts of Belmont DPT alumni and current students. Williams shares Sara’s story with all incoming Belmont DPT students.

Williams said, “When I share Sara’s story and the mission of the Sara Walker Foundation, the students quickly begin to understand that there is something uniquely special about our ‘Belmont PT family,’ and they are excited to be a part of Sara’s story by helping with this event and spreading her message to others.”

Kids For Kids Fun Run

Sara’s sister and fellow Belmont DPT alumna (2006) Dinah Hall, with the help of Williams, LaRocca and 3rd year student leaders Susan Keim and Erin St. Pierre, successfully organized the 2nd annual Kids for Kids Fun Run which included fun activities and obstacles designed by the Belmont DPT students. The kids were divided into three age groups – a “Team Green”, “Team Yellow” and “Team Red” – and given matching wristband.  Each team was led by a group of three DPT students who designed a series of warm-up activities, led the kids through the course and provided cool-down activities and games afterwards.

Belmont PT faculty member Suzanne Greenwalt said, “The Belmont students were so interactive, silly and engaging with the young children at the race. What great role models! My children were so won over by them that all they can talk about is how they want to be just like them when they grow up.” Keim said, “What a special experience it was to run along with the kids. There was so much positive energy that flowed from the race all the way into the worship service. “

This year, the Sara Walker Run included nearly 700 participants, and the event raised $70,000 of which 100% will go toward missions supported by the Sara Walker Foundation.

St. Pierre summarized the day and said, “The Sara Walker Run is a perfect example of how everyone who is a part of Belmont PT becomes your family and how that family continues to support you long after graduation. Years after Sara’s passing, the new students still come together on this day to support the cause of one of our own, and that is a such a beautiful thing. “

New This Year:

A Belmont DPT student runs alongside children who are participating in the Fun Run.

An exciting addition to the Sara Walker Run this year was a “Battle of the Boulevard” competition between Belmont and Lipscomb students.  Sara attended Lipscomb as an undergraduate student and Belmont as a graduate student, and she loved the annual Battle of the Boulevard event between the two schools. This year when students registered for the race, they indicated “Team Belmont” or “Team Lipscomb.” The trophy was awarded to Team Lipscomb this year. The competition will continue next year, and the trophy will be passed between the schools, going to whomever has the most registered runners.

Also new this year, was the announcement of the new book that shares Sara’s story, “The Light Shines Through – A Story of Hope in the Midst of Suffering.”  In this book, Sara’s story offers compelling lessons on how to live in the present and see God’s presence and abundant love in every moment – even those that are painful. The book will be released in January 2018. To preorder your copy and take advantage of the early release date of December 15, click here.

Children’s Worship Service

The children’s worship service, led by Sara Walker’s Father Jody Pigg (known as Papa Pigg) was also a success. Belmont DPT students played an integral role in engaging the children with high-fives, big hug, and reciting Papa Pigg’s phrases with enthusiasm. The children patted each other on the back saying, “I love you, I love you, I love you” coming to the front of the group to give the biggest “high-five” to student Drew Dudek and giving the “biggest hug” to student Susan Keim. Dudek stated, “The children’s worship service was awesome! It was incredible seeing how Papa Pigg had the kids so involved and how he made it clear that God loves them. “

Papa Pigg taught the kids about the importance of “doing what’s right.” This was no ordinary worship service–it was filled with excitement as Papa Pigg used short phrases and asked the children to repeat after him in loud voices. He led the children in repeating the phrase, “When God loves me, I want to do what’s right, go to heaven and help other people.” Belmont students were interspersed throughout the crowd, helping energize the children and keep them engaged in the activities.

He continued and explained that by participating in the Fun Run, the children helped provide medicine to sick children in Africa and that their involvement sent helpers to the children. Most importantly, Papa Pigg made sure that the children understood that by helping, “We will  be able to tell those children we love them.” Keim stated, “You could feel how in tune the kids were with Papa Pigg’s worship message, which tied together the purpose of the Kids for Kids Fun Run beautifully.”

To learn more about Sara’s story and the mission of the Sara Walker Foundation, click here.

To view a video of the event, click here.

Physical Therapy Students, Faculty Volunteer at Music City Skate Jam

Students from the Belmont University School of Physical Therapy recently volunteered at the inaugural Music City Skate Jam. Multi-platinum singer/songwriter Kip Moore combined his love for music and skateboarding when he teamed up with international skateboarding champion Tony Hawk in downtown Nashville for the charity event.

The day began early in the morning as the students, along with faculty members Drs. Pat Sells and Mike Voight from the School of Physical Therapy, turned Nashville’s Hall of Fame Park into a music venue with an enormous half pipe for the celebrity skate board performers. The free concert and skating exposition, held at Music City Walk of Fame Park, served as a fundraiser to aid hurricane relief. It also brought awareness to both both Moore’s and Hawk’s foundations, which aim to build skate parks for kids in inner cities. Fans who donated were treated to a day of fun-filled events including performances by Jordan Davis, Dee Jay Silver and Moore himself, along with a thrilling skate demo by Tony Hawk.

Physical Therapy Faculty Volunteer at Music Row Ladies Golf Tournament

Belmont University School of Physical Therapy Faculty Members Drs. Pat Sells, Danny Smith and Mike Voight recently volunteered for the 2017 Music Row Ladies Golf Tournament. The event was presented by Keith Urban and sponsored by ASCAP, City National Bank and Tim McGraw.

This long-running charity event has raised more than two million dollars for United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee in its three-decade history. Voight said, “It is fun to participate in an event that we can see fruits of the fund raising efforts. The funds raised help to build wheel chair ramps that physical therapy students go out and volunteer to build.” The 30th annual tournament took place on Monday, August 21 at Old Natchez Country Club in Franklin, Tennessee.

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.

PT’s Dr. Christi Williams and Her Therapy Dog, Layla, Spend the Summer with Community Children

Children huddle around Layla at Monroe Caroll Jr Children's Hospital

Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Dr. Christi Williams spent the summer spreading joy throughout the community with her certified therapy dog, Layla. A 7-year old yellow Labrador Retriever, Layla has been volunteering for the past two years as a certified therapy dog through Pet Partners, a local nonprofit organization. Williams and Layla visit many locations on a volunteer basis, including Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and Vanderbilt One Hundred Oaks, to spread smiles to patients and health care providers.

This summer Layla volunteered with Vanderbilt’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Clinic’s Constraint Camp, a camp that focuses on promoting use of the involved upper extremities by casting the uninvolved side. While there, Layla eased the children’s fears and encouraged them to try new and often challenging tasks. They worked on their gross motor skills alongside Layla by petting and brushing her and finding special stickers inside the zippered pocket of her vest. Gathering stickers from her pocket allowed the children to work on these motor skills, while also proudly displaying proof of the day’s therapist — their favorite yellow lab.

Though Layla loves all her time at camp, Williams said one of her highlights is playing fetch with the children and her favorite pink tennis ball. A very challenging task for the kids as it requires skill to grasp, hold and release the ball, they are determined to play alongside Layla. “She is always patiently waiting for them to throw it her way!” Williams said.

One of Layla's many walks throughout the facility.

One of Layla’s many walks throughout the facility.

Children also enjoy taking Layla for a ‘walk’ throughout the facility where a small leash is attached to Layla’s harness for the kids to hold. Despite the physical challenge this can present, they are eager to participate. A physical therapist herself, Williams loves to work with Layla in the rehabilitation setting. “There’s nothing like watching self-doubt immediately turn into pure confidence when Layla’s ‘leash’ is placed in these children’s hands. Their faces change and they no longer think about it as a challenge. They just do it–and with such confidence!”

Layla and Williams also spent time this summer at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital’s Dog Days of Summer “Paw-ty” where Layla, and other certified therapy dogs, joined children in games, activities and more. Children watched the dogs do tricks on stage and received some takeaways, too —  a dog stuffed animal and a paw print stamp of the therapy dogs who participated.

Layla then traveled to Camp TALK, a camp for children with speech deficits, where she taught children about therapy animals. The kids practiced talking to and giving commands to Layla including “sit,” “lay down,” “shake hands” and “high five.” Layla also showed off her catch skills and played hide-and-seek with the kids.

Layla and some children from Monroe Carrell Jr Children's Hospital“For these children, Layla’s presence creates an environment where they are no longer anxious to try new things or speak in front of their peers,” Williams said. “Having Layla in the room shifts the children’s focus from their disability to simply having fun with the dog!”

Visiting with patients and helping children during their rehabilitation is a big part of what Layla does as a certified therapy dog, but she often has the greatest impact on the health care providers who are working alongside their patients. At the Center for Women’s Health, Layla’s “job” is to visit with the nurses and physicians, providing a necessary break during the day.

“This visit tends to be one of Layla’s favorite stops because these nurses spoil her rotten,” Williams said. “She knows exactly who has treats for her and which drawer or cabinet they are stashed in. Being a health-care provider can be very stressful at times, and Layla provides that much-needed mental break!”

Photos courtesy of Vanderbilt Pediatric Rehabilitation at One Hundred Oaks and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. 

Physical Therapy and Biology Faculty Collaborate to Publish Study in Teaching Journal

Over the past three years, Belmont’s Department of Biology and School of Physical Therapy have worked together to allow undergraduate anatomy students the opportunity to experience a cadaver-based learning environment. Through this collaborative effort, hundreds of undergraduate students have had the opportunity to participate in this interactive experience.

Additionally, undergraduate anatomy faculty have embraced the opportunity to engage with graduate faculty to improve their teaching skills in a gross anatomy laboratory. This collaborative initiative began to generate learning opportunities for undergraduate anatomy students in the cadaver-based gross anatomy lab. By the end, however, this interdisciplinary work ended with meaningful experiences for all participants.

Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Chris Barton and Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Dr. Christi Williams documented the interdisciplinary nature of their collaboration, as well as the increased learning outcomes reported by the undergraduate anatomy students, so other institutions can replicate the process.

Their article, “Graduate and Undergraduate Faculty Collaboration Utilizing Peer Observation to Enhance Educational Opportunities for Students and Faculty: A Case Example,” was recently accepted for publication in The Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, where Barton and Williams are co-first authors on the study. Dr. John Halle, professor of physical therapy and Dr. Lori McGrew, professor of biology, are additional authors on the accepted manuscript.

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.