Earlier this summer I had the privilege of co-leading a student immersion trip to several destinations in the US West, including the Lakota reservation in Pine Ridge, SD and the Crow reservation near Hardin, MT. While on the reservations, especially at Pine Ridge, I was confronted with the reality that I had not a clue about the lived experience of people there. What I knew of native history and culture prior to the trip was limited almost exclusively to books and the occasional documentary. As such, I was keenly aware of my lack of cultural knowledge and cultural competence (both of which are important concepts in social work) and so I was initially hesitant about how to connect with community members.
And then I remembered something: more important than cultural competence (which some would say can never be achieved) is the practice of cultural humility. For me, cultural humility means reminding myself that in their community, I am a learner and they are the experts in their own lives. While I have a lot of textbook and research knowledge about systemic barriers and structural causes of poverty, they know, and daily experience, what that looks like in Pine Ridge. I do not. Having cultural humility also means that I have to examine my own presumptions and prejudices about what could make things “better”, and—harder still– examine the ways that I am complicit in systems that are oppressive to others. Needless to say: I engaged in a lot of introspection on this trip, and it still continues, especially in light of the shootings and other violence in Charleston. I want to be a part of reconciling relationships in my own community, in the beautiful diversity that is Nashville, and cultural humility is as important here as it is in Pine Ridge.
I will sign off my inaugural blog post with a quote shared by author Sue Monk Kidd in the end notes of The Invention of Wings. When I read it I thought it was a good encapsulation of the idea of what a commitment to cultural humility can result in. A professor once told her “History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another’s pain in the heart our own.” I believe that, by practicing cultural humility, we can more astutely see and feel the pain, as well as the beauty and strength, of others.
Associate Professor of Social Work Dr. Sabrina Sullenberger has been working with four former colleagues from Indiana University on a five year, ongoing research project to study attitudes of poverty and construction of social class.
Sullenberger and her team’s research was recently featured in an article in The Atlantic entitled, “Teenagers are Losing Confidence in the American Dream.” For more information, click here.
(L to R): Dr. Lorry Liotta-Kleinfeld (Occupational Therapy), Dr. Leslie J. Higgins (Nursing), Dr. Beth Hallmark (Nursing), Dr. Cathy Taylor (Nursing), Dr. Erin Shankel (Nursing), Dr. Renee Brown (Physical Therapy)
Dr. Cathy Taylor, Dean of the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing, was recently honored as one of Nashville Medical News’s 2015 Women to Watch. For the 10th year, Nashville Medical News has profiled a group of women in Middle Tennessee who are making a difference in the health care landscape of Nashville, Tennessee or beyond through their work as clinicians, public health officials, advocates, administrators, association executives or professionals.
Taylor has served as Dean of the College of Health Sciences since 2012. She came to Belmont from the Tennessee Department of Health’s Bureau of Health Service Administration where she was assistant commissioner. Before that, she was an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University Nursing School of Nursing and the director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance Disease Management Program. Continue reading
Inaugural class represents Tennessee’s greatest health and health care pioneers
During a McWhorter Society Luncheon held on Belmont University’s campus this week, the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame announced the eight health care professionals selected as the Hall of Fame’s inaugural inductees. With a mission to honor men and women who have made significant and lasting contributions to the health and health care industry, the Hall of Fame was created by Belmont University and the McWhorter Society and is supported by the Nashville Health Care Council, a Hall of Fame Founding Partner.
Among the highly qualified candidates nominated, the inaugural inductees were reviewed by a Selection Committee made up of health and health care leaders from across the state. Selected inductees represent some of Tennessee’s greatest health and health care pioneers, leaders and innovators. Inducted individuals include:
- 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
- Thomas Frist, Sr.: Cardiologist and Internist, Founder of Park View Hospital, Co-Founder of Hospital Corporation of America
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
Dean of the College of Health Sciences Dr. Cathy Taylor was recently featured “The Mother & Child Project: Raising our Voices for Health and Hope,” a compilation of personal narratives, research and essays from inspirational leaders, politicians, philanthropists, speakers and musicians including Kimberly Williams Paisley, Amy Grant, Melinda Gates, Senator Dr. William H. Frist and Michael W. Smith, among others.
The project was compiled by Sen. Frist’s Hope Through Healing Hands, a nonprofit whose mission is to promote improved quality of life for all people around the world. Using health to lead the charge, Hope Through Healing Hands seeks to educate all people on ways to have access to a fuller, healthier lifestyle. Continue reading
Dean of the College of Health Sciences Cathy Taylor was part of the original design team of national experts, supported by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), who worked to develop and launch the MCH Navigator beginning in 2010.
The MCH Navigator is an online portal and clearinghouse for maternal and child health professionals, students and others working to improve the health of women, children, adolescents and families for training on key MCH and leadership topics. The project contains in-depth training portals on specific issues of importance to public health professionals and highlights learning opportunities focused on MCH topics.
With a mission to honor men and women who have made significant and lasting contributions to the health and health care industry, The Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame seeks to recognize and honor the pioneers and current leaders who have formed Tennessee’s health and health care community and encourage future generations of health care professionals.
The nominations process began on February 20 and will continue until April 10 at www.tnhealthcarehall.com. Created by Belmont University and the McWhorter Society, The Hall of Fame is supported by the Nashville Health Care Council, a Hall of Fame Founding Partner. The inaugural class will be announced at the McWhorter Society’s May 5 luncheon.
In addition to recognizing Tennessee’s most influential health and health care leaders, The Hall of Fame will serve as an on-going educational resource to document the rich history that has contributed to Tennessee’s position as a leader for national health care initiatives.
At the beginning of the spring semester, first year graduate students in the College of Health Sciences & Nursing had their first experience working and learning together under the guidance of more than 25 volunteer faculty. Using a case study approach, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy graduate students worked together to design the best treatment plan for an elderly patient with complex health problems. The new students then tackled the “Marshmallow Challenge,” a fun and creative exercise designed to encourage teams to experience simple but profound lessons in collaboration, innovation and creativity.
College of Health Sciences & Nursing Dean Dr. Cathy Taylor said, “According to the World Health Organization (2010), ‘interprofessional education (IPE) occurs when two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes.’ Emerging evidence links interprofessional (IP) teams to better patient outcomes. As we move into the next phase of healthcare reform, licensed professionals must be able to work effectively in teams and communicate vital patient information clearly.”
Social Work Program Chair and Associate Professor Dr. Sabrina Sullenberger was recently honored as one of The Social Work Degree Guide’s 30 most influential social workers alive today. Sullenberger has been a faculty member at Belmont since the summer of 2013, after spending 10 years at Indiana University. She holds a PhD in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with research interests in poverty and child welfare. Her work has been internationally published with areas of exploration in the scholarship of teaching and learning. She teaches social work by infusing service learning and hands-on assessment. Sullenberger believes in passing the torch of change in social service to her students.
Selection was based on merit, scholastic study, and political activism. From celebrities to university professors, the list includes individuals who plan, engage, and support social work. Many belong to professional associations that provide ethical guidance and support to various communities. Most have authored books or published journal articles on policy, reform, crisis intervention, and civil liberties.
Information about all 30 social workers can be found at socialworkdegreeguide.com.
In a ceremony marked by numerous standing ovations, students and faculty were honored this week during the University’s annual Scholarship and Awards Day convocation. All of the awards given reflected Belmont’s mission and commitment to scholarship, service and leadership.
In one of the most moving presentations, graduating senior and social work major Matthew Thompson was awarded the John Williams Heart of Belmont Award, which is given to a student committed to Belmont’s values including innovation, persistence, advocacy for change, community development and service. Before coming to Belmont, Thompson served in the Navy on the USS George Washington for five years. In 2005, he enlisted in the Army where he served an additional four years and afterwards completed one year of service in the Tennessee National Guard. After 10 years of service and three deployments, he was honorably discharged and began pursuing a degree at Belmont. Continue reading