Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., founder of Hope Through Healing Hands, and Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, led a community conversation Monday in Belmont’s Maddox Grand Atrium on “The Mother & Child Project: Simple Steps to Saving Lives in the Developing World.” This was the first public event held by the Faith-Based Coalition for Healthy Mothers and Children Worldwide, a joint partnership of Hope Through Healing Hands (HTHH), a Nashville-based global health organization, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
More than 250 individuals representing the faith community, global health NGO and higher-education sectors throughout greater Nashville attended the discussion, hosted by Belmont University. In addition to opening the event, Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns and Hope Through Healing Hands (HTHH) Executive Director Dr. Jenny Eaton Dyer also announced that this fall they would award the first Frist Global Health Fellowship to enable a Belmont graduate student to be immersed for a semester in a global health experience.
U.S. Olympic figure skating champion Scott Hamilton, who with his wife Tracie is an active global health advocate, moderated the event, posing questions to Frist and Gates about their experiences.
“As I began to talk with women around the world, it became very clear to me the spacing and timing of pregnancies we take for granted in the U.S. is a matter of life and death for them,” said Gates. “So I got very involved in contraceptives, because it truly starts the cycle of life, where they can feed their children, get their children in school, and honestly, not die themselves.”
Sen. Frist agreed, saying, “Contraception is a pro-life cause.” He went on to explain that, “…if you delay first pregnancy to 18 years old, you can increase survival in countries where one in 39 women die in childbirth, and cut the chance of children dying by 30 percent, enabling them to stay in school and become productive members of families.”
“Second, if you can push out the interval between pregnancies to three year period, the child is twice as likely to survive the newborn stage.”
Students and faculty from Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy recently completed a year-long project to create an inventory system at the Moore Pediatric Surgery Center in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The project started last July and included four separate mission trips from the college with a total of 23 students and faculty contributing. The most recent team finished the expansive project to catalog the contents of the surgery center which includes three operating rooms and 21 beds. The inventory system was built from scratch, tested, launched and turned over to the surgery center’s local management during the last visit.
The team was led by Dr. Eric Hobson, professor of pharmacy, who was joined on this most recent trip by his family, including his son enrolling at Belmont this fall. Hobson has directed all four of the teams that have contributed to this project. The students on the most recent team included Candice Beam, Kyla Cunico, Alex Ernst, Meredith Ervin, Chelsey Manire and Kandice Squires, all third-year PharmD students, and Kristen Conrad, a second-year student.
“I had to go back to Guatemala,” said Squires, who has also been part of previous project teams. “I claimed dibs on bringing order to the hospital’s third-floor black hole storage room. And, we did it.”
Allison Bender, executive director of The Shalom Foundation, the Franklin, Tennessee not-for-profit that built the Moore Pediatric Surgery Center, called the Belmont teams’ service to the organization, “a true blessing.”
“Now the Moore Center staff can be more efficient and be better stewards of donated resources. Most important, the inventory system that our Belmont friends have built helps us provide the hundreds of Guatemalan children entrusted to our medical care each year an even safer, better experience,” Bender said. “God’s work requires many skill sets, and The Shalom Foundation knows that Belmont University community is home to varied talents and a commitment to service.”
First inductees to be announced at McWhorter Society Luncheon May 1
With a mission to honor men and women who have made significant and lasting contributions to the healthcare industry, Belmont University announced today the formation of a new Tennessee Healthcare Hall of Fame. Sponsored by Belmont’s McWhorter Society, the Healthcare Hall of Fame will announce its first inductees at the McWhorter Society Annual Luncheon on May 1 on Belmont’s campus.
Belmont Provost Dr. Thomas Burns, co-chair of the McWhorter Society, said, “Tennessee has become a premier hub for healthcare and healthcare education in the United States. It’s only appropriate that we recognize and honor the countless men and women who have contributed to the growth of the industry, creating ever higher standards for patient care and well-being. With Belmont’s strong interdisciplinary programming in nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, healthcare business and pharmacy, we’re proud to host this new Tennessee Healthcare Hall of Fame as these leaders can inspire our students for generations to come.”
During his recent visit to Thomazeau, Haiti, College of Pharmacy Dean Phil Johnston visited villages with LiveBeyond workers and a Belmont delegation to aid and dispense medications to a woman in postpartum, a father with high blood pressure, a small boy with worms and a man with a hip injury. The most powerful experience of them all was when a man who received medical attention sang a Christian hymn in Creole as his Voodoo-practicing neighbors gathered around and listened.
“It was like watching a Bible story about caring for the least of these,” Johnston said.
He, along with College of Health Sciences & Nursing Dean Cathy Taylor and Nursing Assistant Professor Robin Cobb, visited LiveBeyond’s base in Haiti last week to identify areas of student mission participation and to flush out unique partnerships between the University and the nonprofit organization that would allow Belmont students to provide medical and educational resources as well as business development to the ailing Caribbean country. Founded by retired trauma surgeon David Vanderpool, LiveBeyond moved its headquarters in May into Belmont’s Facilities Management Services building at the corner of 15th and Delmar avenues. The organization’s 64-acre Haitian base encompasses medical care, nutrition, maternal health, orphan care, education development, community development and infrastructure, agriculture and demonstration farms, clean water projects and community outreach visits to those with special needs and disabilities in a region 25 miles northeast of Port Au Prince, Haiti.
“We certainly were able to get a great flavor for the compound and the vision for what is there now and the vision for what is planned,” said Taylor, who co-hosted a convocation-credit forum to share more about the team’s experiences at noon Feb. 19 in McWhorter Hall room 114. (more…)
Belmont and Lipscomb pharmacy students visited Hume Fogg High School last week to educate students on drug abuse through the Generation Rx program, which educates youth to the epidemic of prescription drug abuse and addiction occurring in the United States.
Both universities’ American Pharmacists Association (APhA) chapters presented on the important issue. The event featured a video highlighting the use of prescription drugs by teenagers and responses by their families as well as recent statistics and addictive trends that are occurring among high school students. Students also participated in a game show competition emphasizing key topics presented.
“The event was a tremendous success. The students at Hume Fogg were very engaged, and it was fun to see the two colleges come together and work so well on such an important issue,” College of Pharmacy Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Kelley Kiningham said. “Our goal is to have this outreach effort grow across Nashville and surrounding counties. Raising awareness to this presentation provided by our APhA students will hopefully bring other middle/high schools to the table to allow us to promote awareness and education related to prescription drug abuse among those populations.”