Health Sciences at Belmont University


School of Physical Therapy helps coordinate Susan G. Komen Race and Dierks Bentley’s Miles and Music for Kids


Belmont PT student volunteers help direct runners at the finish line of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

Students and faculty from Belmont University School of Physical Therapy were again instrumental in coordinating two major charitable events that occur annually in Nashville and surrounding communities each fall.    Over 100 student volunteers provided the main logistical support for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Nashville on October 26, and again for Dierks Bentley’s Miles and Music for Kids motorcycle ride and concert in middle Tennessee on November 3.

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
The Komen race attracted 26,000 people to the Maryland Farms YMCA to support the fight against breast cancer.   The PT students assisted with course setup and takedown, served as course marshals at the start and finish lines, and were available throughout the race to hand out water and help with crowd control.  The student participation in race is facilitated annually by Belmont professor Michael Voight who co-chairs the event.  Voight says that he support Komen because 75 percent of every dollar raised in the region stays here in middle

Tennessee and is granted to other local non‐profits. “These non‐profits are working on the front lines to battle breast cancer, educating both women and men on the value of early detection and promoting awareness to low‐income and non‐insured individuals,” said Voight.  To date Komen Greater Nashville has provided more than $3 million in screening, treatment and educational services to the women of Middle Tennessee.

“The manner in which our students conducted themselves overwhelms me,” said Dr. Pat Sells, associate professor of Physical Therapy, who leads the race volunteer program for the School.  “They were kind, energetic, dedicated and willing to do whatever was asked of them,” he added.  “I received so many positive comments on them, I was truly proud to be considered as part of their team.  Managing a race course with 26,000 people and doing so flawlessly was an impressive feat!”

Patty Harman, Executive Director of the local Komen affiliate, had nothing but praise for the Belmont PT students, saying, “they made a huge difference in this year’s race; it would not have been as successful without them.  If there were any glitches, the participants surely did not know.”  “Belmont jumped in to do whatever was needed,” said Lynn Edwards, chairman of the board for the local Komen Affiliate.  “We can’t thank them enough for all they did – through planning efforts, logistical team packing and mailing, and even clean-up of the race village.”

This year’s efforts follow the recognition that Belmont PT students received this past summer when they were honored as volunteer group of the year by the international organization of Susan G. Komen.

Dierks Bentley’s Miles & Music for Kids


Dierks Bentley poses with PT student volunteers as he finishes his motorcycle ride prior to his concert at Riverfront Park in Nashville.  Click picture to enlarge.

Just eight days after the Komen race, the PT students were out again, this time helping orchestrate the eighth annual Dierks Bentley Miles and Music for Kids motorcycle ride and concert to benefit Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital.   The School of Physical Therapy has helped coordinate this event since its inception in 2006.   Bentley led more than 1,000 motorcyclists on a 40-mile afternoon ride from Harley-Davidson of Columbia, TN to Riverfront Park in Nashville where he and other music artists treated thousands of fans to a benefit concert.   Artists joining Bentley this year included Easton Corbin, Jake Owen, and Luke Bryan.  “No one has had the year Luke Bryan has had,” exclaimed Bentley, “and for him to come out and do this, especially after playing two sold out shows at the arena, says a lot about what kind of guy he is.”

"Each year this gets a little bit bigger and a little better,” said Bentley, “ and 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.”  He added, “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 graduate and current adjunct faculty member, Ashley Campbell, has volunteered for the past 6 years, overseeing the Belmont volunteer staff for the last 3 years.  “I am so proud to be associated with such a great group of hard working and dedicated young adults,” she said.   And as they are with the Komen race, Dr. Voight and Dr. Sells are also intricately involved with Miles and Music.  "This is a great learning experience and fun event for our students,” said Voight.  “Not only did they get to meet and work with the stars of country music, but in doing so they also helped the community in a large way.”  Dr. Sells added, “it is a real pleasure to watch our students give and serve unselfishly. This is what service is all about.”

Jami Graham, a third year PT doctoral student class leader, responded, “the Dierks fundraiser is an event we look forward to each year.  It’s fun to see my fellow classmates come together to make it happen and contribute to the overall success of this event.  It is a real privilege to have this opportunity to give back to the community."

This year’s Miles & Music event raised a record $307,000 for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.



Health Sciences students and faculty lend expertise at Williamson County Fall Awareness and Prevention event


Daniel Teague, a second year doctoral student in the School of Occupational Therapy, provides information at the Fall Awareness and Prevention event.

Every 15 seconds, an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury.  Nationally, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for those aged 65 and over, and the chances of falling and being seriously injured in a fall increase with age. 

In light of these findings by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), faculty and students from the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences & Nursing lent their expertise to the public last week at a Fall Awareness and Prevention event hosted by Williamson County Parks and Recreation.   Health professionals from each discipline in the College were on hand to assist seniors with strategies to keep active and falls free:  ideas about effective home modifications and the use of assistive devices from the School of Occupational Therapy, counsel on the proper use of medications from the School of Nursing, information on community resources from the Social Work Department, and suggestions on shoe wear and exercises to increase flexibility, mobility and strength from the School of Physical Therapy.

“This was a great opportunity for our college’s faculty and students to work together in serving the seniors in our local community with ideas for preventing falls”, said Dr. Debra Gibbs, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, who coordinated Belmont’s participation in the event.


OT and PT students serve community’s wheelchair users

WashRoll2013Occupational and physical therapy students took their classroom learning outside during a community service project on Tuesday. During Wash and Roll, dozens of wheelchair users had their power chairs cleaned and serviced free-of-charge by students and faculty from Belmont’s Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy programs and local equipment dealers.

“This collaboration of physical therapy and occupational therapy was to get students involved in community service with an underserved population. Because once they get a wheelchair from insurance, they can get serviced once a year, but it is difficult to find place to get it done,” said Occupational Therapy Assistant Professor Teresa Plummer. “No one just cleans and services chairs, so families of people with medical disability have to do it on their own.”

The service is so rare that Barbara Pierce drove her husband, Marion, 90 miles from Winchester, Tenn. to Belmont’s campus to have his five-year-old wheelchair evaluated and cleaned.


OT and PT to host Wash & Roll for Wheelchair Users

Wash&RollBelmont University will host a “Wash & Roll” event for wheelchair users on Tuesday, October 22, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.   Attendees can bring their wheelchairs to be cleaned and serviced free-of-charge by students and faculty from Belmont’s doctoral programs in physical therapy and occupational therapy, and local equipment dealers.  In addition, there will be opportunity to use a power wheelchair test track, listen to live music, and enjoy offerings from local food trucks.  The event will occur on the courtyard between Belmont’s McWhorter Hall and the Curb Events Center.

Wash & Roll is sponsored by two leading providers of wheelchairs and mobility devices, Permobil and Numotion, as well as the Tennessee Chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association and the Schools of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy at Belmont University.


PT students assess babies and infants

Twenty six babies, toddlers and preschoolers came to Belmont University on Tuesday, September 17 to participate in a pediatric physical therapy class.    The students performed developmental assessments on the infants and young  children, which fostered student learning about typical development and challenges of testing young children.  "Our young guests were excellent instructors, and everyone had a great time playing together," said Dr. Nancy Darr.
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PT Alum featured in PBS documentary about preventing concussions in student athletes

KeithCroninBelmont PT alumnus, Keith Cronin, is part of a team of health professionals featured in a new PBS documentary about reducing concussions in high school football.  The documentary, entitled “The Smartest Team”, shows how football programs and athletes can reduce concussions and their effects by playing smarter.   The program premiered on Oklahoma Public Television last month and will roll out to all other PBS stations this fall.  Cronin was recently interviewed about his participation in the documentary by Fox 2 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Cronin earned his Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) from Belmont University in 2008 and is currently a physical therapist in St. Louis, working on sports injury prevention and coaching education community outreach programs.  He is a member of the Team of Experts at, the premier online information gateway for parents of children who play youth sports. was founded by parenting expert Brooke de Lench, the author of Home Team Advantage: The Critical Role of Mothers in Youth Sports (HarperCollins 2006).


Health Sciences faculty receive promotions

Congratulations to the following faculty members in the College of Health Sciences who received promotions this summer.

School of Nursing
Martha Buckner from Associate Professor to Professor
Angela Lane from Full-time Adjunct to Assistant Professor
Erin Shankel from Full-time Adjunct to Assistant Professor

School of Occupational Therapy
Shelley Hix from Instructor to Assistant Professor
Tamara Garvey from Full-time Adjunct to Assistant Professor
Camille Turner from Full-time Adjunct to Instructor
Emmy Dagnan from Full-time Adjunct to Instructor

School of Physical Therapy
Renee Brown from Professor to Professor & Chairman

Social Work Department
Jennifer Crowell from Full-time Adjunct to Assistant Professor

Martha Buckner

Martha Buckner


Erin Shankel

Shelley Hix

Shelley Hix


Tamara Garvey


Camille Turner


Renee Brown


Jennifer Crowell



School of Physical Therapy presents Distinguished Alumni Award and graduates 35


Dr. Terry Grindstaff

Belmont University School of Physical Therapy honored Dr. Terry Grindstaff (04) with its Distinguished Alumni Award at August graduation ceremonies for the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Class of 2013.  Dr. Grindstaff addressed the graduates at the School’s annual hooding ceremony prior to commencement.

In his address, Dr. Grindstaff reminded the graduates that their accomplishments were not achieved alone, but through contributions of many others including family, friends, faculty and fellow students.  He encouraged them to continue to surround themselves with people that will provide guidance, boundaries, motivation and support in future endeavors.  He challenged the graduates to pursue their passion and approach each task with an optimism that reflects that passion, and to embrace the opportunity to make an impact on the world through the patients they treat.


Belmont’s Joint PT Residency with Vanderbilt Medical Center receives Accreditation

Lisa Haack, PT, DPT, NCS, works with a patient for balance retraining. The Neurological Physical Therapy Clinical Residency instituted last year is a partnership between Belmont University’s School of Physical Therapy and Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson’s Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute.
Photo by Amy Woosley

Belmont University’s School of Physical Therapy and Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson’s Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute (PBPRI) have received accreditation from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) for their collaborative Neurological Physical Therapy Clinical Residency instituted last year.

The one-year residency is one of 23 programs of its kind in the United States to have achieved this status, and is the only such program in Tennessee.

PBPRI is an outpatient interdisciplinary neurological rehabilitation program 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.

“Being the first neurological physical therapy residency program in Tennessee, we have the responsibility and the privilege to train the next generation of outstanding neurological clinical specialists,” said Lisa Haack, DPT, NCS, Neurological Clinical Residency director, a PBPRI clinical staff member in physical therapy and a neurologic specialist.

Academic Residency Director Renee Brown, PT, Ph.D, professor of Physical Therapy at Belmont University, said completion of the credentialing process is an affirmation of the program’s commitment to its patients.


Recent Publications of Faculty in the College of Health Sciences

BucknerSmall3Dr. Martha Buckner
Professor of Nursin
Buckner, M. M., Dietrich, M. S., Merriman, C., & Keeley, J. P. (2013). Identifying at-risk nursing students using a midcurricular examina-tion. CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 31(4). Retrieved from 10,1097/NXN.0b013e31828a0dda.


DunlapSmall2Dr. Ruby Dunlap
Professor of Nursing
Dunlap, R. K. (2013). Nursing theory and the clinical gaze: Discovery in teaching theory across a cultural divide. Nursing Science Quarterly, 26(2), 176-180.

Dr. John Halle
Professor of Physical Therapy

Halle JS. The Neuromuscular Scan Exam (Chapter Four), in Voight, Hoogenboom, and Prentice (ed), Musculoskletal Interventions: Techniques for Therapeutic Exercise, McGraw-Hill Medical, New York (Scheduled for 2013 publication).