Top 5! Belmont University Lands Near Top of Annual U.S. News Rankings of Southern Colleges

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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.

Dr. Christian Williams Named Director of Belmont University’s New Public Health Program

Christian Williams Head ShotBelmont University recently named Christian L. Williams, DrPH, MPH as Assistant Professor and Director of its new Bachelors of Science in Public Health, a program recently created that seeks to address the critical topic of community well-being. Prior to coming to Belmont, Dr. Williams served as the Public Health Competency Coordinator for the Tennessee Department of Health where she was responsible for workforce development and training, served as the program director for the Commissioner’s Fellowship in Public Health and coordinated all student internships.

In her new role, Dr. Williams will oversee Belmont’s new public health program, educating the University’s first cohort of public health majors. A dynamic field of study and practice credited with saving millions of lives, public health focuses on improving the health of communities and populations by working to develop the conditions and behaviors that contribute to better health for all.

Williams said she has always been interested in the partnership between academia and public health practice, so the opportunity to lead Belmont’s new program was an exciting one. “This role allows me to prepare the future public health workforce and still engage public health practice through research, collaborative projects and opportunities for students.”

Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Nursing Dr. Cathy Taylor said, “We’re fortunate to have Dr. Williams join us in this leadership role with such an exciting new program. The BSPH is a perfect choice for students with a broad interest in population health, health policy or other health-related fields. Graduates will be able to enter the workforce directly or choose to pursue graduate study in a variety of disciplines, and we’re delighted to welcome our first cohort of students this fall.”

Dr. Williams received her DrPH in community and behavioral health from the College of Public Health at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. Her research interests include workforce development, quality improvement, linkages between academia and practice and public health systems and services.

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.

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.”

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.

Mission to Cambodia: First Day Back in Phnom Penh!

Today was a much needed recuperation day for us undergrads! We’re all so thankful to be back in Phnom Penh, because it’s really started to feel like home.

We began the morning with our familiar breakfast here at the Golden Gate Hotel (lots of mangoes for me!) and then had our daily devotional. We then broke into our individual pairs and prepped some for our teaching day later this week. We have the opportunity to teach some students at the hospitals, so we whipped our power points into shape and went over what we would say and do with our students. We had some free time this afternoon (a rare and beautiful thing) so a couple of us went to a local coffee shop to catch up on neglected school work. The shop we went to felt very much like home: modern, air-conditioned, and with good wifi. It’s cool to think about those shared experiences we have with the students here of going to trendy coffee shops to desperately try to study or write an assignment. It was also a huge relief to feel like I’m caught up with school and not let it distract me from all the amazing things we’re doing here. 

For lunch we ate at one of our favorite restaurants! It’s a favorite mostly because they serve amazing western food, including milkshakes. I know I left happy, and it looked like the rest of the table was pleased with their meals too. It’s hard to dine with so many people sometimes because Cambodians just bring out the food whenever it’s done, so by the time the last person gets their food half the table is usually finished. This bothered me a little when we first arrived because it felt rude to not wait for everyone but I think we’ve all learned that if we waited everything would get cold. It’s a small difference between here and the US, but it’s really noticeable with a group of 20 dining at a small establishment. 

The afternoon was free for us as well, so a group of us went to the central market! We’ve been to several markets before but I think this one was by far the largest. It was open air, though, and partially indoors in a spacious building, so it didn’t feel as suffocating as the Russian market feels. I proudly walked out without spending a penny, but several of us left with multiple sey, a small toy that you use to play a game similar to hacky sack. It’s our favorite game to play down in the lobby during the evenings, so I expect quite a few of you family members and friends will be introduced to it when we all get home. After the market, a large group decided to make their way back to a coffee shop to work. I, feeling that I had accomplished enough that morning, made the executive decision to take a nap instead. It was very much needed after our long days of travel and temples and clinics. 

Dinner was another lovely meal at our most frequent stop, Anise. They have such a good variety, so everyone leaves with something they liked. I know a few of us were feeling a little ill, but the group stayed positive and we had a great dinner regardless. There was plenty of lime soda all around!

To top off a very good day, a few of us played sey before heading off for a massage. This was my first massage experience here in Cambodia, and while it was fun I don’t think I’ll be joining the ranks of the massage enthusiasts. I am far too ticklish to have a stranger touch my feet, but I’m glad I finally experienced what all the hype was about! It was a peaceful way to wind down and de-stress a little on an absolute whirlwind of a trip.

Mission to Cambodia: Third Clinic in Poipet and Traveling to Siem Reap

My roommate and I woke up this morning convinced that the world was ending. Music and yelling from the streets outside our hotel was so loud that we could feel the entire building shaking. Turns out it was just a parade because of the upcoming election that was casually going on at 6:20 AM. Cambodians are early risers, that’s for sure. Once we were assured that the world would in fact go on, we got up and got ready for the day. After a breakfast of noodle soup and iced coffee with sweet milk, we were off to our third clinic around Poipet.

On the bus in the morning, Dr. Massie led a devotional and prayer. She spoke about how we are all broken in our own ways, but that God uses our brokenness and our differences for the good of his Kingdom if we come to Him as we are and allow Him to work through us. If you are interested in the story that she shared with us this morning, google “Indian cracked pot story”. Unfortunately, the parades for the election caused a lot of traffic buildup and we were a bit late showing up to the Vision of Hope Center, a small Christian school that opened its doors for us to set up our clinic. Our lovely translators and other friends from Freedom’s Promise met us there. The building was small but we made it work as usual. Today was a short day due to both showing up later than planned and also because we had a three-hour bus ride from Poipet to Siem Reap, where we will be staying until Sunday morning. Despite only lasting a little over three hours, we were able to see a good number of patients. The nursing students switched roles a little bit so that we were all able to have multiple experiences over the three days. Kim and Paige soldiered on assessing and diagnosing, and the pharmacy team did an amazing job working together and working with what they had to provide the best care that we could for these people.

Last clinic in Poipet with all of the wonderful missionaries and translators who partnered with us to make these clinics possible!

I had the opportunity to be at the education and prayer station, which was the last table that the patients would go to before leaving. This was a difficult but really great experience for me both as a nursing students and as a Christian. A huge part of nursing is patient education, but I have not had many opportunities in nursing school so far to put that into practice. I found myself drawing from things I have learned in nursing school so far and being so thankful to Belmont and the wonderful education that I am so blessed to receive there. I spoke to patients about things like how and why to take the medications that they were given, different diet and lifestyle changes for things like diabetes or hypertension, living with asthma, relaxation techniques for anxiety, proper hydration and nutrition, and more. My heart went out to each individual that I spoke with, especially when it was clear that they were in need of the kind of medical care or

Getting fruit off the trees outside the school

education that we simply could not provide them with. After asking if they had any more questions, I would ask if it was okay if I prayed for them. Almost all of them said yes, and this was a special time to call on the Lord and ask for healing and safety for these people who we have grown to love so dearly in our short time here. Many of the people who I prayed over today were most likely Buddhists, but I was amazed at their reverence while praying and the kindness that they showed to me during our brief but hopefully meaningful interactions.

Around 1 PM, we packed everything up and ate a lunch of peanut butter sandwiches and some delicious fresh mango from right off the trees outside the school. The translators and everyone from Freedom’s Promise showed us so much love and kindness during our three days here, and they gave each of us a gift of a beautiful Cambodian scarf. After a prayer, lots of photos and hugs goodbye, our group of 20 piled into our bus and headed to SIem Reap.

Views from our hotel in Siem Reap

The bus ride was about three hours long and the other undergraduate nursing students and I we passed the time telling gross and funny stories from our experiences in nursing school. We were stuck in traffic once again in Siem Reap because of the election. Once we arrived to the hotel we were greeted with cool towels and tea. We ate dinner at a rooftop restaurant on the top floor of our hotel. The hotel here in Siem Reap is very nice and we are all so excited to have a break from working hard in the clinics and for the opportunity to tour the temples around Siem Reap tomorrow! Everyone is going to bed early because tomorrow we leave at 4 AM to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat!

 

 

 

 

 

Mission to Cambodia: Second Poipet Clinic Day

One of our translators Sarah!

Today, we held our second day of clinics in Poipet. We started off the day with leftover, cold pizza for breakfast because we needed a pick me up from yesterday’s breakfast. Our group had ventured out and we were served Khmer porridge with chicken liver and some were adventurous than others. A woman from the community opened up her home so we could use it as the clinic. It was a smaller space with an open patio and curtains to block out the sun (we greatly appericiated this). It was amazing this woman who didn’t know us would offer up her home so we could run the clinic in her village. We didn’t know where we were going to set up clinic, but we trusted God would provide and He did. We saw around 70 people that day of varying ages. We saw several babies and children and it was sad to see what they were going through, especially the malnourished children and scabies wounds.

One of our practitioners, Kim, assessing this sweet baby!

This is such a huge problem in all third world countries, but it never gets easier to see children suffering from it. The children are still so joyful and want you to play with them despite them not feeling their best, which is very inspiring. Our translators from Freedom’s Promise were outstanding. There was no way we could do our job without them! We all worked with the same translator for the 3 days of clinics so we got to know them really well and enjoyed spending time with them.

From the outside looking into the clinic, it looked like mass, unorganized, chaos, but on the inside everyone had a place and job. We had nurse practitioners, undergrad nursing, and pharmacy all working together to make the clinic run smoothly. We functioned extremely

Some of the sweet children we were able to take care of

well together, especially since it was our second day understanding how the flow of the clinic should be. The most incredible part of the day was watching our entire team work together and really see all of the nursing & pharmacy skills we have learned put into practice. It was like it finally clicked with us how much we truly knew and have learned. This was a neat experience because we all had different moments when we realized this. Several of us shared stories that night during our highs and lows about those moments. Highs and lows are something we do (attempt) every night where we can share moments or stories from the day with the whole group. Even though we were together all day, we all had different experiences and enjoy hearing our different views. IMG_7055.MOV (click on link to see video)

Later tonight, we went to dinner and then came back for praise and worship with Freedom’s Promise. We sang and worshiped together and it was truly amazing to see just how powerful God’s love is. His love is not just in our Bible belt of the South, but across the entire world. It is very powerful to watch Him work in everyone’s lives and see how much impact God has had in Cambodia and in our lives the short time we’ve been in Cambodia. After we worshiped, Freedom’s Promise brought out handmade bags, wallets, and other little items for purchasing. Our group swarmed at them because apparently we can’t pass up a good Cambodian deal. Dr. Massie was the first one there and just about everyone in our group bought something! We had a great day and tomorrow we are doing another clinic in Poipet before we head to Siem Rep for temples and being tourists!