Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation

Vanderbilt Public Health Professionals in the News

Syndicate content
Updated: 4 min 15 sec ago

Class of 2014: Roo George-Warren curates his own adventures

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 15:51

Roo George-Warren (Susan Urmy/Vanderbilt)

Being a facilitator is DeLesslin “Roo” George-Warren’s modus operandi.

This senior with the interesting nickname—given to him by an older sister—is a musical arts/voice major at Blair School of Music with a concentration in composition. He has been Blair Student Council president for the past two years, an executive board member of the AmbassaDores tour guides and a two-time Alternative Spring Break site leader, among other activities. Labeling his time management style chaotic, George-Warren navigates his busy schedule by identifying connections between people and ideas.

“Just this year I realized that being a leader is more about facilitating other people’s ideas,” he said.

Last summer, George-Warren received a fellowship to help former Vanderbilt visual arts professor Amelia Winger-Bearskin with research on interactive art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. After he arrived, MOMA nixed the fellowship. With 10 weeks of rent already paid, George-Warren contacted Make Music New York and became an after-dark coordinator for its outdoor concert series. He also created 10 performance art pieces and worked with a Native American activist group.

“Losing the fellowship was scary for a couple of days, but I figured it out,” he said.

His penchant for seeing connections resulted in an exhibit this spring with Vanderbilt’s Center for Medicine, Health and Society. “Health and Art: Master Potters of the Catawba Indian Nation” showcased the work of master potters from George-Warren’s tribe—he grew up on the Catawba reservation in Rock Hill, S.C.—while combining stories from his tribe and Native American health statistics.

George-Warren finds that his music degree creates the perfect base from which to tackle life. “It’s always interesting to hear people talk about how the arts aren’t very practical,” he said. “I feel I’ve learned many skills from practicing, performing, thinking on my feet, dealing with pressure, having a creative idea and thinking of ways to get there or get close to it.

“Regardless of what I do later in life, I want to do art and music forever,” he said.

Class of 2014: Brionne Williams’ next goal is healthier communities

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 15:34

Brionne Williams (Joe Howell/Vanderbilt)

Brionne Williams has a vision of herself as a healer in a community clinic, doing much more than doling out pills and setting broken bones. “I want to get to know people and hear their stories,” she said. “That’s what I’ve always wanted to do—to give back to those in need.”

Based on her track record, it would be unwise to bet against the senior from Hoover, Ala. This is a woman who can vertically leap 6 feet in the air.

As a Medicine, Health and Society major at Vanderbilt, Williams has been pursuing her educational dream, all the while maintaining a challenging schedule as a high jump specialist on the women’s track team. “I am in our athletic facility three hours a day, every day,” she said.

Williams is trying to pass on that sense of discipline to middle schoolers through FOOD (Facing Our Own Decisions), which began as a class project and has blossomed into an ongoing Vanderbilt student organization.

“As a class we came up with the idea of combating childhood obesity and targeting kids who lack steady access to food,” she explained. Using a point system and prizes, FOOD incentivizes fifth- and sixth-graders at J.T. Moore Middle School in Nashville to eat more fruits and vegetables.

“We started grass roots and we’re finding our way,” Williams said. “Hopefully, we’re going to branch out into other schools.”

Travel is another of Williams’ passions. She got started with a “life-changing” seven weeks in South Africa last summer at the University of Cape Town. “We rotated through the clinics and hospitals in the private and public sectors,” she said. “We got to see the disparities in health care based on the areas.”

After she graduates, Williams hopes to attend nursing school at Vanderbilt.

“I want to be a nurse practitioner,” she said. “I want to focus on family care, maybe in areas that are underserved.”

The Kefi Project is taking art to unexpected places

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 15:11

The Kefi Project installation "pairAsouls" creates a colorful canopy near Sarratt Student Center. (photo by Bosley Jarrett)

Can art help define our public spaces? Who gets to make this art, and does it have value beyond its aesthetic appeal?

These are questions senior Kion Sawney wanted to explore when he won a 2013 Creative Campus Innovation Grant to start a public art initiative at Vanderbilt. The result is the student-led Kefi Project, whose mission is to bring together creative individuals and challenge members of the university community to reconsider how they interact with their environment.

In Greek, the word “kefi” roughly translates to passion, spirit or joy. “We simply think it means the joy of life,” according to the group’s website.

“I’ve always been interested in altering space,” said Sawney, an economics and urban planning major from Massapequa, N.Y. “An important part of creating the organization was figuring out what ‘public’ means at Vanderbilt. Who comprises this public? How do we go about creating art that represents this public?”

"Before I Die" on the Rand Terrace. (photo by Bosley Jarrett)

Sawney and a handful of classmates launched the Kefi Project last August with “Before I Die,” a large chalkboard installation on the Rand Terrace. The piece was inspired by a similar work that appeared in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. “Before I Die” invited passersby to write in a task, goal or dream they hoped to accomplish in their lifetimes.

The installation was intended to serve as the group’s calling card. In addition to encouraging students and others to interact with each work, a goal of the project is to foster interdisciplinary and interdepartmental partnerships. “Before I Die” was done in partnership with Vanderbilt’s Interfaith Council and featured a panel discussion during its run called “Living Before Dying,” moderated by University Chaplain Mark Forrester.

Sophomore Katherine Sowa was so intrigued by the first installation that she attended the Kefi Project’s next planning session.

“Each meeting we discuss public art in the country, around the world, and how we can bring aspects of that to campus,” said Sowa, an English major who now serves as the group’s publicity chair. “We also discuss who we need to contact to make things happen—which building coordinators, which faculty. For Kefi members, this is a really cool part of any project: seeing the multidimensional process of creating art, beyond the initial idea.”

The group enlisted the help of Jeremy Jones, a shop tech in the Department of Art, to pull off its eye-catching second installation, “pairAsouls.” The colorful, multilayered roof of umbrellas suspended above the courtyard between Sarratt Gallery and Last Drop Coffee Shop explored the theme of shelter. Each umbrella was offered for sponsorship, with proceeds benefiting Safe Haven, a shelter-to-housing program for homeless families in Middle Tennessee. The 135 umbrellas were later donated to vendors of The Contributor, a local newspaper whose sales benefit Nashville’s homeless community.

Not every Kefi installation is bold and large-scale; some demonstrate that art can happen in smaller, everyday moments. “Trails,” done in partnership with the Vanderbilt English Majors’ Association and the Senior Class Fund, featured signposts that displayed poetry by English professor Mark Jarman or words of advice from seniors to freshmen along well-traveled campus walkways. “Let’s See What Develops” gave cameras to 25 community members at The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons and asked them to document their lives for a week. “Pop-up Poetry” transferred verse appearing in The Vanderbilt Review to unexpected places, such as elevators and restroom walls. And “Dancers Among Us” captured student dancers striking poses in familiar campus locations.

Towers constructed from recycled water bottles light up Olin Lawn at night. (photo by Bosley Jarrett)

For World Water Day, the Kefi Project teamed with Students Promoting Environmental Awareness and Responsibility to install three conscience-raising works. Using more than 2,300 plastic bottles collected by the Campus Recycling Program as the medium, they created a multicolored mural in the chain-link fence surrounding the Vanderbilt power plant, constructed plastic bottle towers on Olin Lawn, and hung a chandelier made of plastic bottles in Sarratt Student Center. Each piece featured information about water conservation and recycling.

The group’s final work of the year had members collaborating with electrical engineering students to construct a large-scale, playable keyboard at Sarratt Student Center. The instrument was featured in a public performance by a student orchestra.

The Kefi Project’s ranks have grown through the academic year, with a core group of about a dozen undergraduates comprising its executive board. These students come from all schools and majors and say it takes the expertise of a diverse community to produce each work. The group regularly consults with adviser David Heustess, director of Sarratt Art Studios; faculty in the Studio Art and History of Art departments; and staff in Campus Planning and Construction, among others.

Sawney, who will pursue a graduate degree in architecture, said there’s infrastructure in place for Kefi to continue after he leaves. He hopes the project has another legacy as well.

“(Deputy Vice Chancellor for Facilities) Judson Newbern once told us, ‘This campus is yours. How you determine it should look is how it will be,’” Sawney said. “We hope the Kefi Project says, ‘This is how we want the campus to look. These are the values of this university. This is what we want to show the world.’”

Free legal advice on estate planning May 2

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 14:44

The Vanderbilt Child and Family Center will have attorneys on hand to answer your specific questions regarding estate planning. They will answer your questions regarding power of attorney, living will, advance directive, last will and testament, trust, probate and conservatorship.

Several attorneys will be available on Friday, May 2, 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. in Light Hall, Room 437.

This service is a first-come, first-served basis, so you may have to wait. Each consultation will be approximately 30 minutes. Plan to arrive no later than 1:30 p.m. so you can be seen.

The Vanderbilt Child and Family Center is part of Faculty and Staff Health and Wellness.

Contact: Stacey Bonner (615) 936-1990

Wellcast: Positive coping strategies for caregivers

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 14:35

Taking care of loved ones as can be stressful and can actually be harmful to the caregiver’s own health.

Winner of top student art prize is named

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 14:19

Screen capture from Krenz's video installation, "World of Sleepers."

The Vanderbilt University Department of Art is pleased to announce the recipient of the prestigious Margaret Stonewall Wooldridge Hamblet Award for 2014. This year’s recipient is David Krenz of Spring Hill, Tenn. As Hamblet winner, he will receive a $25,000 prize that provides the funds for a year of art research and travel, culminating in a solo show at Vanderbilt in one year.

Krenz’s video installation, World of Sleepers, was selected for the award following a juried competition involving exhibition, interviews and written proposals. The piece includes an original musical score by Krenz, who is also majoring in music at Vanderbilt.

The $10,000 Merit Award was presented to Kelsey Creel of Birmingham, Ala.

Krenz’s and Creel’s art can be viewed as part of the 2014 Senior Show now on display in Space 204, the second-floor gallery of the Department of Art. The other graduating art majors exhibiting include Margaret “Elle” Burnett, Lesley Hill, Desiré Hough, Demi Landstedt and Anisha Patel.

Senior Show 2014 is on display Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., and Saturday–Sunday, noon–4 p.m., until May 10. The gallery is located in the E. Bronson Ingram Studio Art Center, 25th and Garland, on the Vanderbilt campus.

Jurors selected to serve for the competition are all distinguished artists and educators, including Sergio Soave, professor of art at Ohio State University: Leticia Bajuyo, professor of art at Hanover College in Hanover, Ind.; and Ken Gonzales-Day, professor of art at Scripps College in Los Angeles.

Vanderbilt’s Department of Art has supervised the awarding of the Margaret Stonewall Wooldridge Hamblet Award since 1984. The award was established by Clement H. Hamblet in honor of his wife, whom he met while she was studying abroad. The Hamblet Award is meant to provide the means for travel and independent art activity for one year, culminating in an exhibition at Vanderbilt.

Contact: Diane Acree, (615) 343-7241

Learn how Vanderbilt works at Plant Operations University

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:33

Assistant Vice Chancellor Mark Petty and the February 2014 graduates of Plant Operations University. (Vanderbilt University)

For nearly a year, the Department of Plant Operations has been offering “Plant Operations University,” a six-week, 12-hour overview of how Vanderbilt works—literally.

The classes are designed for non-experts, and attendees range from building managers to department administrative assistants to university administrators. The course consists of six two-hour lunchtime classes. A box lunch is provided.

Classes begin with an introduction to Plant Ops systems, policies and procedures, including how to request safety training, submit work orders and understand charges.

Then attendees dive deeper into the various services and functions of Plant Operations. They begin with a review of the basics, such as electricity, plumbing and how HVACs and the cogeneration power plant work before moving on to an overview of building systems and energy conservation.

The next class, covering building services and grounds, discusses various maintenance topics, including housekeeping, trash removal, floor care and groundskeeping.

The course then moves into the less well-known ancillary functions of Plant Operations, such as vehicle maintenance, key cards, signage installation and maintenance, moving services and pest control.

Plant Ops U concludes with an overview of renovation and construction projects, as well as an introduction to SustainVU, Vanderbilt’s sustainability office.

Each class is team-taught by Plant Ops managers and directors who are leaders in their areas of expertise.

People interested in attending should contact Gloria Smith at (615) 815-9138 for registration. The next course begins May 12.

Alumnus receives 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:20

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has awarded filmmaker Mark Kendall, BA’05, MA’08, a Guggenheim Fellowship. According to the foundation, Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of impressive achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. He was awarded the fellowship to develop his next project, which explores the relationship between time, craft and landscape in a small town in Sweden’s Arctic circle.

Two new Vanderbilt Divinity hires will help guide students

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 08:17

Niger Woodruff and Lillian Hallstrand (Lauren Holland/Vanderbilt)

The Rev. Lillian Hallstrand and the Rev. Niger Amin Woodruff have joined Vanderbilt Divinity School’s Office of Admissions, Vocation and Stewardship in new positions to provide increased guidance to current as well as prospective students.

Hallstrand, whose position is funded through Lilly Endowment Inc., is director of stewardship and vocational planning. Woodruff is assistant director of admissions and vocational discernment.

Hallstrand will lead the development of a financial and career coaching network for all new and returning divinity students beginning fall 2014. “I plan to explore creative partnerships with Vanderbilt alumni who work in denominations and other fields of interest to Vanderbilt Divinity students as well as engage mentors with expertise in financial planning for religious leaders,” she said.

Hallstrand, a native of Chicago, most recently served as a chaplain and as the bereavement coordinator at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She earned a master of divinity from Vanderbilt in 2009. She also received a master of science in college student personnel from the University of Tennessee.

Before moving to Nashville, she served as the director of Greek Life and Orientation Program coordinator at Baldwin-Wallace University. She also has been an academic and career services adviser at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. Hallstrand is ordained in the United Church of Christ.

Woodruff earned a master of divinity in 2011 from Vanderbilt, where he was the recipient of the Florence Conwell Prize in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in preaching. Prior to returning to Vanderbilt, Woodruff was a pastor with the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church. He also ministered as an elementary educator in North Alabama.

“I look forward to meeting with prospective students to help them discern a vocational path that will lead them to change the world,” said Woodruff, whose interests revolve around religion, race and culture.

Visit Vanderbilt Divinity School for more information on its mission and programs.

Take advantage of Earth-friendly Move Out to donate, recycle

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 16:25

Spring is here and now is the perfect time for cleaning the clutter out of your office or home. With Earth-friendly Move Out for students occurring April 22–May 10, an increased number of donation and recycling locations will be available on campus.


The Office of Housing and Residential Education will have a donation trailer set up at Highland Quad benefitting Thrift Smart. You can donate many items, including books, at this location or post them on Vandy FreeSwap.


Toner, cartridges, batteries, pens, markers and mechanical pencils (map):

  • Sarratt and Commons Center main desks
  • Peabody Library
  • Baker Building
  • Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Fluorescent light bulbs (map):

  • Peabody Maintenance Building
  • Bryan Building (map)

Plastic, paper (including books), aluminum and flattened cardboard:

  • Use the recycling receptacles in your area. (Recycle FAQs)

Contact: Tiffany Renfro, (615) 322-9022

Show us your Earth Day conservation efforts

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 15:57

Mr. Commodore stopped by Rand Wall to show his support of "No Impact Week." Photo courtesy of SEMO

Vanderbilt’s Sustainability and Environmental Management Office celebrated Earth Day a little early by organizing a “No Impact Week” April 14-18 on campus.

SEMO staffers converged on the Rand Wall to encourage the Vanderbilt community to improve their conservation efforts—including eating locally, conserving water and using only items that can be recycled—and then talk about it online.

Many staff, faculty and students joined in and have been posting pictures of their Earth-friendly activities on social media. See them on the SustainVU Facebook page.

Everyone is encouraged to continue finding ways to reduce their impact on the environment through Earth Day, April 22, and beyond.

Be sure to share your stories, and remember to use the hashtag #VUEarthDay14.

Visit SustainVU to learn more.

Contact: Tiffany Renfro, (615) 322-9022

Alumni Association honors John Geer for educational contributions

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 14:34

John Geer (Vanderbilt)

John Geer, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, has received the 2014 Vanderbilt Alumni Education Award.

The Vanderbilt University Alumni Association Board of Directors selected Geer for his significant contributions to educational programming as a speaker for Vanderbilt Reunion and other alumni events.

Board member Thomas Conner, BA’88, presented the award to Geer during a surprise visit to his Topics in American Government class April 16. Carolyn Dever, dean of the College of Arts and Science, Susie Stalcup, vice chancellor for development and alumni relations, Heather Marabeti, associate vice chancellor, advancement services and interim associate vice chancellor, communications, and Carroll Kimball, BA’84, president, Vanderbilt University Alumni Association were also in attendance.

“In his Reunion/Homecoming educational program Professor Geer challenged our notions that negative political advertising was harmful to democracy,” said Conner, of Nashville, Tenn. “He also shared his valuable political insight during numerous other alumni gatherings.”

Geer has taught political science at Vanderbilt since 1996. He has published five books and more than 20 articles on presidential politics and elections, and recently served as editor of The Journal of Politics. He has provided extensive commentary in the news media on politics, including live nationwide interviews for FOX, CNN, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, ABC and NPR. Geer has also written op-ed pieces for PoliticoThe Washington Post, The Los Angeles TimesUSA Today, and The Chicago Tribune.

The Vanderbilt Alumni Association Board of Directors has chosen a faculty member for this honor each year since 1982. Geer was given a cash prize of $2,500 and a silver tray.

Wall Street Journal: A better way to finance that college degree

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 14:10

Income-share agreements are a better way to finance college than student loans, writes Owen Graduate School of Management professor Miguel Palacios in the Wall Street Journal.

Sporting latest tech toy can make you seem more like a leader

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 13:35


Are you wondering whether to invest in the Google Glass or another technology breakthrough? If you’re in business and want to be perceived as a leader, new research from Vanderbilt University suggests you might as well go for it.

“Familiarity with and usage of new high-tech products appears to be a common manifestation of innovative behavior,” write Steve Hoeffler of Vanderbilt and Stacy Wood of North Carolina State University. “Those who are tech savvy are also perceived as authoritative on other subjects and as leaders.”

Hoeffler is associate professor of marketing at Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. Wood is Langdon Distinguished Professor of Marketing at Poole College of Management at North Carolina State College. Together they authored the paper “Looking Innovative: Exploring the Role of Impression Management in High-Tech Product Adoption and Use,” published by The Journal of Product Innovation Management.

For one part of the study, interviews were taped using actors who were categorized by their appearance and other factors.

“We taped them once where they took down a note using an old-fashioned calendar, then did another one where they whipped out an electronic calendar and did it that way,” he said.

Steve Hoeffler (Vanderbilt University)

When test subjects viewed the interviews, they overwhelmingly viewed the actors using the electronic calendars as being more authoritative.

Another part of the study used resumes which were all similar except for hobbies, which were varied to signal whether the subjects were high tech or not. Again, the high-tech candidates came out ahead.

In the trials, women who used technological gadgets benefited more than their male counterparts.

“This finding runs counter to the backlash effect typically found in impression management research in business settings,” Hoeffler and Wood write. “Female job evaluations typically suffer after engaging in the same self-promoting impression management strategies that benefit their male counterparts.”

Actually being able to operate the devices really isn’t all that important, provided you know enough to look reasonably competent, Hoeffler said.

“Just possession is 90 percent of the game,” he said. “And there are maybe 10 percent of situations where you have to display the ability to use it.”

Wellcast: What is a healthy diet?

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 09:49

Jamie Pope, registered dietitian, talks about what a healthy diet should look like.


Pen pal project unites graduate, middle school students

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 09:32

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools has joined with the Vanderbilt Center for Nashville Studies and Peabody College to create a platform to provide detailed, reliable and recurring information about the commitment of major employers to the public school system. This is the latest installment in a series that tells the story of collaborative involvement between members of the Vanderbilt community and local public schools.

Graduate School students and their pen pals from Wright Middle School convened on campus April 16 for a day of interaction and mentoring. (Steve Green/Vanderbilt)

More than 100 sixth graders from Wright Middle School, one of the most economically and geographically diverse schools in Metro Nashville, met the Vanderbilt Graduate School student pen pals with whom they have corresponded for the entire school year and were treated to a tour of Vanderbilt University Medical Center facilities on April 16.

The project was the brainchild of Omozusi “Zusi” Andrews, a Ph.D. candidate in biological sciences, and E. Margarita Prieto-Ballengee, who received her Ph.D. in engineering last May. As the pair walked together in 2012 during the Graduate School Council’s Hike for the Homeless, they hatched the idea of bringing GSC members together with young local students to encourage them to pursue higher education goals while honing the skills needed to get there.

The sixth graders were accompanied to campus by their science teacher, Rachel King, who in 2012 received her M.Ed. from the Teaching and Learning in Urban Schools program, a partnership between Metro Nashville Public Schools and Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development.

While at Peabody, King got to know Jeannie Tuschl, program coordinator for the Scientist in the Classroom Partnership Program in the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach. It was Tuschl who connected King with Andrews, Prieto and other GSC members. Tuschl worked with GSC members to help establish guidelines for the letter-writing project.

A pilot was launched last year with a smaller group of 45 middle school students. This academic year, the pen pal project more than doubled in size to 110 students, culminating in the campus tour, along with lunch and activities between pen pals.

The pen pal partnership gives Wright Middle School sixth graders the opportunity to build a relationship with someone who is older and in college. (Steve Green/Vanderbilt)

“Some of these students never have the opportunity to physically write and read letters to hone their communication skills,” Tuschl said. Even more important is the opportunity to build a relationship with someone who is older and in college. The Graduate School student mentors “are able to encourage these sixth graders to find their dreams, hopes and wishes.”

Andrews, who plans to defend her dissertation in June, was overwhelmed by the responsiveness of her fellow Graduate School students. “Some would make handwritten cards with drawings. They would sometimes include little trinkets like Pokemon cards. The pen pals developed nicknames for each other. It touches my heart. As a grad student, you’re so overburdened with work, and to have an outlet like this …” she trailed off while watching students unite with their pen pals for the first time. “It uplifts me to know something’s bigger than yourself.”

Also accompanying the students was Meredith Toth, a consulting teacher for Wright Middle School who focuses on content literacy in the science and social studies classrooms as well as project-based learning. “It’s been excellent for these kids to have a real writing audience. They write differently when they’re writing for real people.”

The diverse membership of GSC was an important factor for a school with children representing 26 countries, Toth said. Wright has a large immigrant population, with Mexican and Kurdish immigrants among the most represented. “It’s important for them to see that people like them are working at high levels at Vanderbilt and they, too, can do that. Coming here is a big treat and something they don’t get to do often,” she said.

During the tour, the Wright students had the opportunity to hear presentations about numerous educational opportunities on campus, to learn about Vanderbilt LifeFlight, tour the Eskind Biomedical Library and visit a lab for a demonstration by Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science, a service organization committed to bringing hands-on science lessons to middle school students.

An upcoming project has about 50 Graduate School students engaged in helping Wright students improve and finalize quality science fair entries, with them returning to judge the science fair in May.

On the day of the tours, Andrews was hard at work on her dissertation and just one week away from attending a scientific conference in Switzerland. “So many things are happening,” she said, “but this is so important to me.”

NBC’s Brian Williams to anchor Hillwood commencement

Hillwood High School’s Class of 2014 launched a months-long campaign to make NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams their graduation speaker after hearing his charge in a previous commencement speech to discard excuses and work hard. Their persistence was rewarded. He accepted the invitation and will address the graduating class on May 22.

“Mr. Williams, we heard you. Now hear us making a change. A change in attitude about our community and the entitlement mentality,” they wrote. Students at the West Nashville high school also created, taped and edited a video invitation using skills acquired in Hillwood’s Academy of Art, Design and Communications, one of the school’s three career academies and part of Metro Nashville Schools’ Academies of Nashville program. Offered in all of Nashville’s zoned high schools and in the district’s Virtual School, the academies differ from traditional academic and vocational education because they prepare high school students for both college and career.

Community partners, including Vanderbilt, support the academies to ensure the curriculum remains relevant and to give teachers and students access to professionals in their fields as well as job shadowing and internship opportunities. Research shows students in career academies perform better in high school and are more likely to continue into higher education than similar students in the same schools. All of Hillwood’s academies are certified at the highest level by the National Career Academy Coalition.

Join the Small Starts movement today

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 09:26

Drastic changes in your diet and physical activity level can be overwhelming and difficult to maintain.
 But major changes in your life can begin with one small start.

The Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, through its Healthier Tennessee initiative, is offering free online Small Starts tools to help you make small changes that can add up to big improvements in your health.

Small Starts at Work offers a selection of more than 60 personal health challenges that encourage physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco cessation. Each small change makes a powerful difference and is designed to lead to even bigger changes.

Small Starts is simple to use and readily accessible on desktops, tablets or smartphones. Users can track their completed challenges and stats and are encouraged to share their participation and achievements through social media.

Make a small start today. What will yours be?

Health Plus is part of Faculty/Staff Health & Wellness.

Contact: (615) 343-8945,

VICC’s Arteaga assumes presidency of AACR

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 09:24

Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D., professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology and Donna S. Hall Professor of Breast Cancer Research at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), assumed the presidency of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) for 2014-2015 during the group’s annual meeting last week in San Diego.

Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D.

The AACR, founded in 1907, is the world’s largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and the prevention and cure of cancer. AACR membership includes more than 34,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers, along with population scientists, other health care professionals and cancer advocates in 97 countries.

Arteaga, who joined the Vanderbilt University faculty in 1989, is director of the Center for Cancer Targeted Therapies (CCTT) at VICC, the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Research Network (VICCRN) and the Breast Cancer Program, and serves as associate director for clinical research at VICC.

Since 2001, he has been the leader of the Vanderbilt Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in breast cancer, which recently received a third round of funding from the National Cancer Institute.

“I am extremely honored to be able to serve as president of the AACR,” said Arteaga. “This is a time when the pace of discovery and progress in cancer research has never been better. Thus, I commit to work tirelessly with the AACR so the organization continues to be a main force and custodian of progress and discovery for the benefit of many patients afflicted with cancer.”

Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., Benjamin F. Byrd Jr. Professor of Oncology and director of VICC, said Arteaga is one of the most respected breast cancer investigators in the world.

“He has made some of the seminal discoveries in breast cancer research and translated them to the clinic.

“We are fortunate to have him on our VICC leadership team and are proud that he has been selected by his peers for this crucial leadership role in such a prestigious cancer organization,” Pietenpol said.

Arteaga is internationally recognized for his cancer research, including oncogene signaling and molecular therapeutics in breast cancer with an emphasis on targeted therapies, mechanisms of drug resistance and investigator-initiated clinical trials.

Early in his career, he was the first to identify the roles of IGF-I receptors and TGF beta in breast cancer progression and their use as therapeutic targets.

More recently, Arteaga and his team have focused on presurgical and neoadjuvant therapies to discover molecular biomarkers that are useful for patient selection in clinical trials.
Arteaga has been active as a leader with AACR for more than a decade.

He has served as a member of the Board of Directors, chair of the AACR Special Conferences Committee, member and chair for several special meetings and an editorial board member of the AACR journals, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics and Clinical Cancer Research.

He has served as co-chair of the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium since 2009 and is a principal investigator with the Stand Up To Cancer Dream Team, Targeting the PI3K Pathways in Women’s Cancers.

During his career, Arteaga has received numerous awards, including the AACR-Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award; the American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor Award; the Gianni Bonadonna Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology; the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction from Susan G. Komen; and the Clinical Investigator Award from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

In 2013, he was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences.
Additionally, he is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians and member of the Susan G. Komen Scientific Advisory Board.

Redesign of nursing workflow seeing success

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 09:19

In 2008, Vanderbilt nurses participated in a nationwide survey to determine how they spent their time, and it revealed that only 16 percent was spent on direct patient care, while 28 percent was spent on documentation.

When Workflow Redesign efforts got underway in the fall, nursing documentation was a clear area for improvement.

“Through our focus groups, observations and feedback, we heard the need to optimize nursing documentation, including the time spent doing documentation, the duplication within documentation and the number of entry fields,” said Vickie Thompson, MSN, R.N., manager of Nursing Special Projects at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, who is leading the Vanderbilt-wide nursing documentation project.

They also saw the success of changes around Braden, a pressure ulcer assessment tool, and the falls tool at Children’s Hospital. These changes made the documentation more simple and convenient to complete.

“The work with Braden in the fall showed us this was a good opportunity to improve nursing workflow and something the nurses really wanted,” Thompson said.

The nursing documentation project team includes staff nurses from Vanderbilt University Hospital and Children’s Hospital inpatient and perioperative areas who are vetting ideas and giving feedback.

“I definitely feel like the workflow redesign leaders are listening to the nurses,” said Taylor Armstead, R.N., BSN, an 8 South nurse on the focus group. “Being involved with the documentation focus group allows me to understand the extensive process of making changes in our documentation system. I then can gladly report back to my co-workers that our suggestions are not just ‘lost in space.’”

Armstead said the small changes already made to documentation have improved nursing workflow, and she anticipates more successful changes in the future.

“Charting is a necessary task that is very tedious and time consuming. With these documentation changes, I believe this will allow us to be more efficient in our time, ultimately resulting in meeting the needs of our patients.”

The team is looking at implementing changes to documentation of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), using a “bundles” approach to decrease the number of entry fields.

“VAP is a great example of the Credo value, ‘We continuously evaluate and improve our performance.’ The initial intervention got us the clinical results we wanted and during this rapid cycle wave there was an evaluation of the documentation to make it more efficient, further improving overall performance,” said Bill Fulkerson, associate hospital director, Professional Services.

Other documentation changes in the evaluation stage include:

• Handover forms.

• Admission forms.

• Documentation across the care continuum.

“We’re making all these changes while taking quality and safety requirements into account,” Thompson said. “The focus groups have been great at vetting our ideas and giving us additional ideas for quick wins or long-term projects. The nurses have been great to work with.”

Competition showcases commercial viability of ideas

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 09:16

The winning team of this year’s TechVenture Challenge included, from left, Anita Mahadevan-Jansen, Ph.D., Barbara Natalizio, Ph.D., Mary Dockery, Miroslav Remec, Diksyha Bastakoty, Meghan McGill and Ryan Ceddia.

A strategy for commercializing an optical 3-D scanner that can ensure all cancerous breast tissue is removed during surgery, thereby avoiding the need for a second operation, has won top honors at this year’s TechVenture Challenge.

Now in its fourth year, the Vanderbilt University initiative teaches students how to turn patented ideas developed by Vanderbilt faculty members into marketable products.

This year five teams of graduate, business and law students developed over the course of eight weeks strategies for commercializing different Vanderbilt inventions, and presented them to a panel of judges with expertise in technology entrepreneurship.

The competition, held April 10 at the Nashville law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, was co-sponsored by the Vanderbilt Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization (CTTC) and the Life Science Tennessee Academic Alliance, part of Life Science Tennessee.

The winning presentation pitched OMEDS, a three-dimensional scanner that uses light to analyze cancerous tissue removed during breast-conserving therapy and the surgical “margins” in the breast to ensure all cancer cells have been removed before the patient leaves the operating room.

Currently, this analysis is done after surgery in the clinical pathology lab and as a result, about a fifth of patients must return for a second operation, said Meghan McGill, an MBA student in the Owen Graduate School of Management who presented the case.

The judges noted that while hospitals make more money from higher surgical volumes, fewer operations are “clearly better for the patients.” OMEDS can succeed in the marketplace if it can bring what makes “medical sense” in line with what makes “economic sense,” they said.

The technology was developed by Anita Mahadevan-Jansen, Ph.D., Orrin H. Ingram Professor of Biomedical Engineering and professor of Neurological Surgery; Quyen Nguyen, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in Biomedical Engineering; Mark Kelley, MD, associate professor of Surgery; and Mary Dockery, a graduate student in Biomedical Photonics.

Other team members were Diksyha Bastakoty, a graduate student in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology; Ryan Ceddia, a graduate student in the Department of Medicine; Barbara Natalizio, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology; and Miroslav Remec, an undergraduate in Physics.

Dan Bailey, MBA, of Insight Genetics in Nashville, served as business mentor.

Each team member received a $250 prize.

For questions or problems concerning this page, please submit a help ticket.

twitter facebook flickr youtube

Vanderbilt School of Medicine | 215 Light Hall | Nashville, TN 37232
Vanderbilt University is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action.
Copyright © 2014, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.