Health Sciences at Belmont University


Mission to Guatemala: Day 3

Mission to Guatemala
from Katie Hein and Julie Golden

A team of students, faculty and partners from Belmont University's School of Occupational Therapy and School of Physical Therapy are ministering in Guatemala during Belmont's spring break, the seventh year a team has traveled there.

Today was full of adventures! We visited 4 different loactions. In the morning we went to the Children’s Rehab Hospital and the Guatemala Association for People with Down’s Syndrome.  Then in the afternoon we went to Hope for Tomorrow/Nutrition Center and Las Conchas.

The Children’s Rehab Hospital Day 2- We met little Carlos, Kenneth and his wife to have little Carlos casted for AFO’s. Meanwhile, the rest of us participated in the morning therapy sessions (OT/FT- fisotherapy (PT)). The Guatemalan FT’s asked us for help with an exercise program for Christopher, one of the boys who suffered from Meningitis and is extremely weak. The only thing they have done for him in the past month is have him on tilting board to have him in a vertical position for 30 min. Lisa and Jessica (DPTs) evaluated his lower extremity and trunk strength, range of motion, and vestibular-occular system. He was getting bored with laying down, so  we sat him up to work on strengthening and postural control.  He was automatically happier and willingly participated in the activities.


Mission to Guatemala: Day 2

Mission to Guatemala
from Darcy King

A team of students, faculty and partners from Belmont University's School of Occupational Therapy and School of Physical Therapy are ministering in Guatemala during Belmont's spring break, the seventh year a team has traveled there.

In order to beat rush hour traffic our group got an early start with breakfast at 7:00a.m.  Even though we thought we had an early start, we know that the Shalom Foundation staff were hard at work long before we got out of bed.  Today was the first day we experienced the weather we had been anticipating.  The sun was out in full force and many of us got a little more than our fair share.  Our first destination for the day was a children’s rehab hospital.  The hospital staff gave us a tour of the facility and then we broke up into our respective professions to participate in therapy sessions.  We had the unique opportunity to collaborate with the OTs and PTs at this rehab center in order to exchange ideas and share information.  This was a humbling learning experience for clinicians and students alike.  During the OT sessions we observed how they conducted group therapy sessions, learned about how they taught families to make piñatas to be sold as a source of income, and had the opportunity to work one on one with many of the children.


Mission to Guatemala: Day 1

Mission to Guatemala
from Lisa Haack

A team of students, faculty and partners from Belmont University's School of Occupational Therapy and School of Physical Therapy are ministering in Guatemala during Belmont's spring break, the seventh year a team has traveled there.

All three flights came into Guatemala without problems Saturday.  Much to our surprise everyone “passed” immigration and no pat-downs were required.  Guatemala welcomed us with weather that reminded us of home…45 degrees and windy!  Burr!!!  In contrast, the reception was warm and we all settled into our rooms.  We were grateful for the amenities including flushable toilets and a warm shower.  It was a restful sleep with an occasional celebratory fireworks launched from near-by. ;)


Faculty and Students from School of Physical Therapy Present at APTA Conference

Stacey Lindsley, third year doctoral student in the School of Physical Therapy, explains her poster to a Belmont PT alumni Lauren LaCourse.

Faculty and students from Belmont University School of Physical Therapy recently participated in the annual Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) held in San Diego, CA.

Dr. Mike Voight was one of the presenters for a 2-day pre-conference course focusing on injury assessment and management in golf.  Approximately 100 clinicians from around the world were in attendance.  During the conference, Dr. Voight presented the sections research award in his role as Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy and was roasted as a past president of the sports physical therapy section in conjunction with the section’s 40th anniversary celebration.


President of Tennessee Hospital Association Discusses Future of Healthcare

Craig Becker, president of the Tennessee Hospital Association, spoke recently to Belmont faculty and students about the future of the healthcare industry, focusing his remarks on the new changes that will be brought about by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

While he realizes that the healthcare industry is about to undergo radical change, he does not fear those changes. “I really am an optimist,” he stated. “And I’m invigorated by chaos. Chaos brings change.”

In the past, he argued that the existing system was not perfect, that there were quality of care issues. The new legislation will force the industry to address these issues sooner rather than later. “Hospitals will be forced to look outside of their four walls.”


Belmont PT students once again help coordinate Dierks Bentley’s Miles & Music for Kids

Once again this fall, students from Belmont University School of Physical Therapy assisted with the annual Dierks Bentley Miles and Music for Kids motorcycle ride and concert to benefit Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.   Since its inception seven years ago, Belmont PT students have served as the event’s volunteer staff and this year was no different.  Over 70 PT students participated.

“We could not have taken this event to the level it now is without the help of my friend Mike Voight and his students at Belmont University,” said Bentley.  “The Belmont students have been integral to the success of this event from the inaugural ride seven years ago to its current size.  I always look forward to working with them.”


Belmont PT students help coordinate Nashville’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

Once again this year, physical therapy students from Belmont University helped coordinate Nashville's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.  Over 100 student volunteers assisted with course set-up and take-down, served as course marshals throughout the course including the start/finish line, provided water at course stations, and handled crowd management.  The event drew over 26,000 participants and spectators on a cold and rainy Saturday in late October.  The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is a nationwide effort to raise funds to help end breast cancer forever.

Dr. Michael Voight, professor of physical therapy at Belmont, was co-chairman of this year's Nashville Komen Race.  Dr. Voight is a longtime supporter of the organization and for years has brought PT students to help coordinate the annual race.  Voight says, "I chose to support Komen because 75 percent of every dollar raised in the region stays in Middle Tennessee and provides grants to other area non‐profits.  These local organizations are working on the front lines to battle breast cancer, educating all of us on the value of early detection and promoting awareness to low‐income and non‐insured individuals.  To date Komen Greater Nashville has provided more than $3 million in screening, treatment and educational services to the women of Middle Tennessee.”


PT clinical partner in London recognizes Belmont students

For ten years, Belmont University School of Physical Therapy has been sending students for clinical rotation to the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in London, England.   The School recently sent a plaque to the Hospital to recognize the longstanding partnership, and in turn, was recognized by the Hospital in an article in their staff and volunteer newsletter.  The article also featured the two most recent clinical students to the Hospital, Allie Sosebee and Alex Young.


John DeWitt Earns Physical Therapy’s Outstanding Alumnus Award

The School of Physical Therapy recently honored alumnus John DeWitt (’01) with its Outstanding Alumnus Award.  (DeWitt is on the left of the photo receiving award from Associate Dean, Dr. John Halle.)

“I am thrilled and humbled by this honor and to be the inaugural recipient,” he said, upon receiving the award at the School's hooding ceremony. “It is always nice to be appreciated not only by your peers but also your mentors.”

DeWitt, who earned his Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Belmont, serves as team leader for clinical development, clinical assistant professor and director of physical therapy residencies at The Ohio State University.

Speaking to the summer 2012 class, DeWitt urged them to live out of their comfort zones by continually challenging themselves to drive growth in their personal lives and careers.

“Find fire in your gut that makes you do more for yourself, more for your family, more for your profession and more for your patients. See people as people and not as a person with disabilities,” he said. “Tell people that you want help, you want to learn and do more. Amateurs train until they can get it right, but professionals train until they cannot get it wrong.”

Prior to enrolling at Belmont University, DeWitt was an athletic training with the New England Patriots.

“I knew someone in the first class, and when I came to visit, I was impressed with vision, facilities and exceptional quality of the instructors,” he said.  DeWitt went on to become the 2008 Ohio Physical Therapist of the Year and earn a 2009 New Horizon Award from the American Association of Physical Therapy.


Belmont University School of Physical Therapy joins with Vanderbilt University Medical Center to offer residency program

The School of Physical Therapy at Belmont University has joined with the Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute (PBPRI) in the Vanderbilt Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences to initiate a Neurological Physical Therapy Clinical Residency. PBPRI is the outpatient interdisciplinary neurological rehabilitation program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center where physical therapists work in teams with colleagues in occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and social work to promote community re-entry, and vocational and/or academic transitioning. The one-year residency is offered through the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and is the first of its kind in Tennessee. The program is designed to prepare the resident to treat patients with neurological conditions using contemporary, evidenced-based treatment approaches and provide the skills and experience needed to sit for the Neurological Clinical Specialist (NCS) certification exam with APTA.

“We are very excited about this new partnership,” said Mike de Riesthal, Ph.D., director of the PBPRI. “Education of new clinicians is one of our primary missions. Partnering with Belmont’s excellent program allows us to expand that mission into the field of physical therapy.”

Christina Durrough, DPT, has been selected as the inaugural resident in the joint venture and will begin her work this August. The residency requires direct clinical care each week at PBPRI where Dr. Durrough will receive mentoring and instruction to evaluate and treat patients with acquired brain injury and other neurological conditions including stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, brain tumors and balance disorders. The Clinical Residency Director for the program is Lisa Haack, PT, DPT, NCS, who is a clinical staff member in physical therapy at PBPRI and is a neurologic specialist. Dr. Renee Brown, professor of Physical Therapy at Belmont University, will serve as the Academic Residency Director.

At Belmont, Dr. Durrough will extend her clinical work to the classroom by teaching and providing lab instruction to doctoral students in the School of Physical Therapy under the guidance of Dr. Brown. Belmont will also sponsor and coordinate Dr. Durrough’s participation with the Neurologic Physical Therapy Professional Education Consortium.

Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute was conceived when the Nashville Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club, along with Nissan Corporation, USA and Ford Motor Company, Inc., made a financial commitment to the development of a traumatic brain injury program. The need for such a program was proposed by the members of the Nashville Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club when they identified the limited availability of comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation services for neurologically impaired adolescents and adults in the Nashville area. PBPRI opened its doors in 1988 to fill this critical role.

Belmont University School of Physical Therapy, part of the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Science and Nursing, has been preparing physical therapy practitioners since 1997 and was among the first schools in the southeastern United States to grant the Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2000. Today, over 300 Belmont graduates are in physical therapy practice in middle Tennessee and other regions of the United States, with some graduates serving populations in need internationally. The PT residency is one option for post-professional training for graduates, allowing them to develop a specialty and become board certified.