Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Students Lead Aquifit for the Nashville Dolphins

OT and PT students work on Aquafit program.

Eight years ago Dr. Natalie Michaels, associate professor of occupational therapy (OT), started the Aquifit program to provide aquatic exercises for wellness, socialization and enjoyment to members of the community. Originally designed to target older adults, Aquifit exercises are performed to music pool-side by physical therapists, occupational therapists, aquatic specialists, OT students and physical therapy (PT) students while community members exercise in the water.

The program has proven successful in aiding members of the older adult community with weight loss and pain reduction,

OT and PT students train with the DolphinsRecently, Aquifit expanded its impact when on Aug. 9, the program was provided to the Nashville Dolphins, a local aquatics program for children and adults with special needs. The Aquifit team was joined by Belmont OT and PT students who helped lead the exercises and assisted participants in the pool. Michaels said that once again the community was “thoroughly impressed by the professionalism and intellect of the Belmont students.”

Michaels was joined by Dr. Timothy Jones (Tennessee State University), Dr. Derek Charles (also from TSU) and Dr Joshua Maloney (Amedisys Home Health). Belmont students who participated in the event included Autumn Powell, Haley Hingtgen and Rachel Morgan from the occupational therapy program as well as Jonathan Lee, Sarah Williams, Kandiss Anderson, Lacie Nugent and Beau Kovach from the physical therapy program.

Approximately 15 members of the Dolphins participated. They reported that they had a “wonderful” and “fun” time, and they really seemed to enjoy their interactions with the Belmont students.

College of Pharmacy Celebrates Inaugural Fellow Completion

Fellow, Dr. Kate Claussen, poses with members of the Belmont College of PharmacyBelmont’s College of Pharmacy, in partnership with Aegis Sciences Corporation, recently celebrated the completion of its first Clinical Scientist Fellow in Drug Information, a two-year program that provides an intensive postgraduate training program focused on drug information, evidence-based practice, teaching and research. Dr. Kate Claussen, of Hendersonville, Tennessee, was the program’s first fellow.

The program is one of approximately 60 postgraduate pharmacy fellowships in the country and offers a unique training experience in areas not widely available in pharmacy training. Two new fellows, Jeneva Garland and Stephanie Manley, began their training on June 1. This program is the first drug information fellowship in Nashville and the only drug information fellowship with a healthcare laboratory component.

Nursing Students Earn Top Honors at Internship Experience

Credo Winners with Dr. Leslie Folds

For the past seven weeks, 16 Belmont nursing students have participated in the Vanderbilt Experience: Student Nurse Internship Program (VESNIP), a summer internship program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), with students from four other regional nursing programs. Three Belmont nursing students were awarded the highest honors at the culminating awards ceremony held on Wednesday, June 29. Of the seven total awards given, three went to Belmont students.

VUMC credo behaviors identify those individuals that aspire to excellence and expert performance by making those they serve their highest priority, conducting themselves professionally, respecting confidentiality, communicating effectively, having a sense of ownership and exhibiting a commitment to colleagues. Carly Rabideau received the Credo Award for the Perioperative/PACU Track, Alexa Yatauro received the Credo Award in the Psychiatric Track and Sarah (Sally) Rogan received the Credo Award for the Critical Care Track.

The entire Belmont VESNIP group with Dr. Folds

All VESNIP participants with Dr. Leslie Folds (left).

This is the 12th year of the VESNIP program. The program began as a partnership between Belmont School of Nursing and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. It has now expanded to a total of 60+ students from four area nursing schools. VESNIP positions are very competitive and are considered elite opportunities for students from around the region. Associate Professor of Nursing Dr. Leslie Folds said, “Our students are exceptional and represent Belmont’s values throughout this program.  I was extremely impressed by not only the students’ professionalism, but their ability to engage in critical thinking, reflection and incorporation of evidence-based research to the clinical setting.”

All Credo Winners are pictured above with Dr. Folds.

Pharmacy Students part of Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Group that Wins Simulated Experience Competition

Students participating in SAP-simulated group project represent four disciplines from across campus

Students from Belmont’s Jack C. Massey College of Business Graduate School of Business (MBA and Professional MBA), College of Pharmacy (joint PharmD/MBA) and College of Law (joint MBA/JD) that are enrolled in an accounting course and a management course recently participated in a SAP-simulated group project and won among their classmates. This is the first time that a student group has included participants from all four disciplines.

The SAP-based simulation provides an opportunity for graduate students, in groups of 4-5, to run a simulated company. Each team is responsible for making strategic decisions including product mix, pricing and marketing levels, investment in additional capacity and cash flow management, among other things. They then operate their companies over six simulated ‘months’ of productions. This opportunity is unique as students are able to use SAP, an enterprise software system that is used by many leading manufacturing companies including Nissan, Bridgestone, Tractor Supply Company and Mapco.

Associate Dean & Senior Professor of Performance Excellence Dr. Joe Alexander said the opportunity to work alongside students from other disciplines is incredibly valuable for participants. “In contemporary business settings, that’s the name of the game,” Alexander said. “Cross-functional teams where individuals from different departments and functions must learn to work together, utilizing the skills and information from their areas to help make teams more successful in solving business problems are apparent in today’s organizations.”

Pharmacy Students Serve at Camp for Children with Diabetes

Camp Sugar Falls

For several years, students from Belmont’s College of Pharmacy have served as counselors for children’s overnight diabetes camps in Alabama and Florida, gaining fourth-year advanced practice experience and clinical course credit. This year, the College extended the opportunity for students who completed their first or second professional year of classes to serve as a counselor for a day camp, Camp Sugar Falls, located in Antioch, Tennessee. Professor of Pharmacy Dr. Condit Steil has fostered these effort for many years, both at Belmont and on a national scale.

The opportunity for student pharmacists to become more aware of children’s needs and support them as they deal with diabetes is valuable. Many patients with diabetes rely on pharmacists for supplies, medications and advice. Student pharmacist David Luong said, “Having been a counselor this week has been fun and very educational. We learned about treating diabetes, the intricacies of monitoring and insulin dosing and carbohydrate counting.”

In the camp, Belmont’s student pharmacists worked with and learned from other health care providers including physicians, nurses, nutritionists and counselors. The American Diabetes Association’s Camp Sugar Falls is a day-camp experience for children ages 6 to 17 that have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.  Children and counselors engage in a week of recreational and educational activities that focus on nutrition, lifestyle habits, self-esteem and team building. Camp Sugar Falls takes place at the YMCA’s Camp Widjiwagan.

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.”

Pharmacy Faculty, Students Attend Summer Institute on Health Policy


A session during the Summer Institute of Health PolicyA group of eight Belmont Pharmacy faculty and students, the largest to-date, is participating this week in the Summer Institute on Health Policy, a yearly interdisciplinary educational event held at Meharry Medical College. The focus of the course is social epidemiology, and attendees are discussing underlying reasons and potential solutions to disparities in health care access and outcomes.

This year’s course is being taught by Dr. Amani Nuru-Jeter from the University of California Berkeley with assistance from Dr. Derek Griffith from Vanderbilt University.

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.

Simulation Lab Named in Honor of Memorial Foundation’s Founding President, J.D. Elliott

D. J. Elliott Simulation Lab presentation to the family at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. February 15, 2017.

In a ceremony held last semester, Belmont’s College of Health Sciences and Nursing named its pediatric/obstetric simulation lab in honor of one of the college’s benefactors, the late J.D. Elliott. Elliott served as the founding president of the Memorial Foundation, which has donated more than $2 million to Belmont University over the past 20 years, almost all of which has gone to support health science and nursing education. In 2013, the Foundation granted Belmont $217,000 to renovate the lab space, purchase a new simulation Sim Mom manikin and update the lab’s simulation equipment.

Dr. Perry Moulds, Belmont’s vice president for development and external relations, said, “J.D. Elliott was a legend in this town not simply due to his role leading the Memorial Foundation nor for the countless boards and nonprofits where he donated his time and energy. Rather, his reputation centered on how he did everything he did—with compassion, humility and heart. We are proud to name this lab in his honor and hope that generations of health science practitioners to come will be inspired be his legacy.”

Mr. Elliott’s wife Anita, along with his daughter and son-in-law, Juanita and Jeff Stewart, attended the naming ceremony which included a reception and brief demonstration of the lab. Several guests from The Memorial Foundation also attended the event, including Foundation President Scott Perry and Foundation Board Member Drew Maddux, who also serves on the Belmont University Board of Trustees.

Perry said, “Throughout his long, successful career in healthcare, Mr. Elliott was always a strong proponent of quality education for the next generation of health care providers. He believed it was critically important in helping to promote increased access to quality health care services for all people. He was particularly impressed with the advanced technology for instruction such as this simulation lab that provides the opportunity for hands-on, experiential learning and that bridges the gap between theory and practice in a safe environment. Although Mr. Elliott was a humble man, I believe he would be happy to see this new Simulation Lab and would be humbled to have it named in his honor.”

At the time of his death in 2015, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean noted, “J.D. was a great member of our community. He gave back in countless ways and touched many lives throughout Nashville and Middle Tennessee through his leadership of The Memorial Foundation and its charitable efforts.”

The Memorial Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life for people through support to nonprofit organizations. The Memorial Foundation responds to diverse community needs, assisting agencies that focus on: Access to Quality Health Care Services, Human & Social Services, Education, Senior Citizen Enrichment Services, Youth and Childhood Development, Substance Abuse Programs, and Community Services.

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.