Recent Social Work Graduate Pays It Forward at Kipp Academy in Nashville

Cherish Woodard, a May 2016 Belmont social work graduate and fifth grade English Language Arts Teacher at KIPP Academy Nashville, was recently featured in an article published by KIPP:Nashville, a network of public charter schools in the Nashville area. Entitled “Paying It Forward,” Woodard’s feature details her own story — and how, as a child, she found herself experiencing homelessness due to an electrical fire. Forced to split her family up, Woodard and her relatives were dispersed all throughout Nashville.

“I went from seeing my family every day to every now and then. But the experience did give me a unique perspective on life, and it’s something I draw on while I’m in the classroom,” Woodard is quoting as saying. Relocating to East Nashville, Woodard begin building a community in the same place she now teaches. After graduating high school, Woodard went on to attend Belmont, earning a scholarship that supported her tuition.

At first, Woodard said she was interested in studying business, but when she found social work, she knew she’d discovered her calling. “Social work not only helped me better understand people in general, it helped me understand my family and our dynamics better. I use that knowledge every day with my students,” she said.

The article goes on to describe Woodard’s passion in the classroom, detailing the ways she connects with students, her commitment to their success and her engaging energy. Woodard sees her time as an educator as an opportunity to impact a child’s future. Understanding the challenges that her students are facing, she is able to create an environment where they are safe, loved and secure. “I know what it’s like to make difficult choices and sacrifice for what you want…I always say, ‘You’ve got to learn to live in the world and then change it’!”

As for her philosophy for teaching, Woodard said, “Seed planting is important. As long as the seed continues to get nurtured, it will grow. Although I may not be the one who’s able to continue nurturing the seed, I pray there will be others.”

The story is linked here.

School of Nursing Ranked Among Best Graduate Programs by U.S. News & World Report

Nursing stock image

Belmont University’s graduate nursing programs were lauded today when U.S. News and World Report released its 2018 rankings of Best Graduate Schools, a tool to help prospective graduate students better understand the graduate school landscape and identify potential programs. Both the Master’s in Nursing (No. 157) and the University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (No. 127) were included in this year’s rankings which surveyed 532 accredited nursing schools.

Belmont College of Health Sciences and Nursing Dean Dr. Cathy Taylor said, “We’re pleased with this recognition for our growing graduate and doctoral nursing programs and the extraordinary strengths our faculty bring to teaching and practice every day.”

Both the master’s and DNP rankings are based on a weighted average of 14 indicators. Seven ranking indicators are used in both the master’s and DNP ranking models. The seven common factors are the four research activity indicators, faculty credentials, the percentage of faculty members with important achievements and faculty participation in nursing practice. The other seven indicators in each ranking use measures that are specific to each degree type. Both rankings take into account the ratings of academic experts.

Belmont graduate family nurse practitioners (FNPs) are prepared to practice in a variety of settings. Graduates are particularly skilled in measurement of patient and population outcomes, education of diverse populations, leadership in health policy development and implementation, translation of evidence into clinical practice and advocacy for quality care within complex health care delivery systems. This is directly reflected in Belmont’s consistent 100 percent national certification examination pass rate and robust, post-graduation job placements.

Belmont’s other health science-focused programs were lauded among U.S. News 2017 rankings—the website doesn’t rank those programs on an annual basis. For 2017, Belmont’s pharmacy (No. 98), occupational therapy (No. 88) and physical therapy (No. 79) programs were all included in the national rankings of Best Graduate Schools.

Social Work Club Hosts Nashville Unity Project

Students map their identifiers at the Unity Project event on April 6

Beginning on April 6 and lasting through April 9, Belmont University’s Social Work Club organized and implemented an interactive art project in Nashville as part of the international Unity Project movement. The event was aimed at reducing division in the community by visually showing how all lives are interconnected and related.

Panel discussion at the Unity Project event on April 6The event was held at the Bellevue Branch of the Nashville Public Library and began with an opening ceremony that featured a panel discussion led by local community members on matters of diversity and inclusion. Panelists included Belmont’s Chief of Staff and Vice President Dr. Susan West, Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Vanderbilt Dr. George Hill, Education and Street Chaplaincy Coordinator for Open Table Nashville Lindsey Krinks, Community Relations Manager at Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Leah Hashinger, Belmont student Jasmine Niazi and a representative from Conexión Américas.

After the opening ceremony, the interactive art project was open for public participation during normal library hours and was constantly supervised by Belmont students until the closing ceremony, held on April 9. The art project consisted of 32 poles placed in a circle, with each pole representing a unique identifier (culture, ethnicity, race, religion, etc.). Participants were invited to wrap colorful yarn around the poles they identified with, connecting themselves with the growing piece. Once complete, the yarn formed a cohesive web of interconnectedness to show that community members have more similarities than they do differences. The closing ceremony featured a poetry reading, music by a local artist and a group discussion on diversity, which was led by Associate Professor of Social Work Julie Hunt.

Belmont student Kate Patterson initially came up with the idea to bring the Unity Project to Nashville after being inspired by her participation in a Unity Project in Washington D.C. last June. Patterson was the main student involved in organizing the event and was present throughout the whole event.

“The Social Work club and I have been working out the details for the event for several months. It was rewarding to see the event take place after so mucStudents map their identifiers at the Unity Project event on April 6h planning,” Patterson said. “The panel discussion at the opening event was powerful to hear how organizations across Nashville value working together with various populations for a common goal of promoting the rights of humans. Throughout the weekend, I was blessed to meet many amazing individuals who reflected on their identities and had dreams of carrying the event to other locations around Nashville and to other cities. It was refreshing to meet so many people who worked together to create unity in the collaborative art piece as well as in their lives.”

The Unity Project was created in June of 2016 as a response to the divisiveness and negative rhetoric in American politics. Since its conception, the Unity Project has been completed in more than 20 countries.

Students and Faculty Attend Nashville Health Care Council’s DC Delegation

Pharmacy studentsFive students and one associate professor from the Belmont University recently attended the Nashville Health Care Council’s Leadership Health Care (LHC) initiative, along with a group of more than 100 health care leaders, on its annual two-day delegation to Washington, D.C. This year’s event provided delegates with an inside look at the state of health care policy under the new administration and predictions about what developments may unfold to impact Nashville’s $78 billion health care industry.

The delegation featured discussions with members of Congress such as U.S. Representative Diane Black (R-TN) and U.S. Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN). The other key health care leaders who participated in discussion panels were Jay Perron the Vice President of America’s Health Insurance Plans, Chip Kahn the President and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, and Michael Ramlet, the Founder and CEO of the Morning Consult.

Pictured above:  L to r: Brittani Montgomery, PharmD Student, Bruce Alter, DPT Student, Drew Dudek, DPT Student, Sabrina Salvant, OTD Faculty Member, Kerry Ternes, BSN-DNP Student, and Julie Wofford, OTD Student

Hallmark Elected to INACSL Nominations and Elections Committee

Hallmark's headshotAssistant Professor in Belmont’s School of Nursing and Director of College and Health Sciences Simulation Dr. Beth Hallmark was recently elected to the Nominations and Elections Committee for the International Association of Clinical Simulation Learning (INACSL). The INACSL is a portal for nurses and educators dedicated to advancing the science of health care simulation by developing standards for its practice. Hallmark will join four other committee members for a two-year term of service, beginning in 2017 and continuing through 2019.

In addition to her recent achievement, Hallmark has been serving as an invited contributor for the National League of Nursing’s (NLN) TEQ blog. Sponsored by the NLN Center for Innovation in Simulation and Technology, the blog works to keep nurse educators up-to-date with the latest innovations in simulation, e-learning, telehealth and informatics. Hallmark is on the blog’s editorial advisory board, which oversees content and contributes articles while also interacting with followers. The team is comprised of nurse educators who have been actively involved with the NLN’s technology-related professional development programs and are experts in the field.

Pharmacy Students Install National Electronic Health Record on Campus

Students images with EMRBelmont University College of Pharmacy students Aziz Afzali, Emily Locke and Jae Yi recently installed the Veterans Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) nationwide information system and Electronic Health Record (EHR) in the Christy Houston Drug Information Center in Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy. VistA was developed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and currently operates in over 1200 healthcare sites of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

Afzali, Locke and Yi completed the install as part of a class assignment in the Healthcare Informatics concentration of the Belmont University College of Pharmacy Doctoral program. Dr. Anthony Blash, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical, Social and Administrative Sciences, has created a four-course sequence of classes to prepare Belmont student pharmacists for healthcare informatics and sit for the CAHIMS certification. The college saw its first student certify at the CAHIMS level 18 months ago and expects 20-30 students to certify each year moving forward. Both Afzali and Yi have already certified at the CAHIMS level, and Locke expects to complete her certification within the year.

When asked about the innovative project, Locke stated, “We got the assignment at the beginning of the semester. When I first heard about the assignment, I was excited to get some hands on experience.” Yi said, “When I got the assignment from Dr. Blash, I was scared first because I never had any EHR system experience at all. But at the same time, I thought it would be a great chance to learn how EHR systems work and how to install it.” As with any project, obstacles were encountered. Afzali identified these as “lack of computer programming knowledge and unfamiliarity with the EHR being installed.”

“I had every confidence in the team,” said Blash. “I predict that students in the Healthcare Informatics concentration will soon be able to work with an actual EHR, building clinical decision support modules which make healthcare safer and more cost effective for all. Nashville is considered by many to be home to the U.S. healthcare industry, with nearly 300 companies providing healthcare synergies found in few other places. As a HIMSS Approved Education Partner, Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy becomes the only pharmacy school in the world with a healthcare informatics concentration leading to an internationally recognized certification in healthcare informatics which may be obtained before experiential rotations, residency inquiries and job searches begin.”

Blash Presents at Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Annual Meeting

Blash with his colleagues.Dr. Anthony Blash, College of Pharmacy, and colleagues presented a session titled “Differentiate Your Skill Sets From Others: Earn a Professional Certification” at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. The conference and session were attended by Belmont Pharmacy students Jae YI, CAHIMS, Corey O’Nan, Michael Nixon, CAHIMS, and Dominic Paolella.

DNP Students Attend Student Policy Summit in Washington, D.C.

Smith and Porter in front of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.Belmont University Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students Carleigh Smith and Jordan Porter recently attended the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Student Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. During the three-day conference, Smith and Porter were immersed in didactic program sessions focused on the federal policy process and nursing’s role in professional advocacy. Additionally, they were able to visit the office of Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander and representatives from the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee. The experience gave Smith and Porter the opportunity to learn more about the influences that policy advocacy has on the country’s health care system.

“As a graduate student in Belmont’s BSN-DNP program, I fiercely believe it is my ethical duty to advocate for the advancement of health in Tennessee and nationwide,” Porter said. “As reforms take place in our healthcare system, nurses at all levels of education must be seated at the table and understand the health policy process to ensure the delivery of safe, high-quality care for all Americans. This opportunity is a testament to Belmont’s commitment to investing in its graduate nursing students as leaders and advocates in our present and future healthcare system.”

“The wonderful opportunity to participate in the AACN Student Policy Summit enabled me to look outside the clinical focus of FNP training and experience the broader, policy-focused influences that shape healthcare in our community,” Smith added. “As a future DNP, I hope to continue to work towards advocating for my community on a policy level. This summit gave me the building blocks to get started.”