Volume 1, Number 8 October/November 2014

Meharry's 139th Convocation is Inaugural Event for The Cal Turner Family Center for Student Education

 churchwellcropped  bishop walker

Left: André L. Churchwell, M.D., keynote speaker and honorary degree recipient and right: Bishop Joseph W. Walker III, D.Min., Senior Pastor, Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

See Convocation details.

Read about the award recipients.

First Of Its Kind Scholarship Awarded at Convocation


Nchelem Ehule's expression is captured when she learns she is one of the four scholarship recipients. Ehule is an MSPH student in the School of Graduate Studies and Research.

For the first time in its history, Meharry Medical College awarded four unsuspecting students with academic scholarships covering 100 percent of tuition costs for their final year of attendance. All were selected based on financial need, merit and academic excellence and aggregate loan indebtedness. 

See the other three scholarship winners!

Donor Appreciation Breakfast Unites Students With Their Benefactors

donor breakfast

Taneisha Gillyard with Mrs. Mattie S. Johnson, wife of the late Charles W. Johnson Sr., M.D., at the Donor Breakfast before convocation. Gillyard, a Ph.D. student in the School of Graduate Studies and Research, is the recipient of The Charles W. Johnson Sr., M.D. Endowed Scholarship.

See complete list of recipients and their scholarships.

The Cal Turner Family Center for Student Education Officially Opens to Enthusiastic Crowd

cal turnerCal Turner Jr. addresses Meharrians and the community at the dedication ceremony.
cal turner buildingThe Cal Turner Family Center for Student Education

On Friday, October 24, 2014, The Cal Turner Family Center for Student Education was officially opened and celebrated with a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony. See story.

Watch virtual tour.

Dominique Dotson Awarded Academic Scholarship from Who's Who Among Students

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dominique dotson

Third-year Ph.D. student, Dominique Dotson, has been awarded a $2,000 scholarship from the 2014 Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

Students are chosen to be a member of Who's Who based on GPA, participation and leadership on and off campus, extracurricular activities, community involvement and any requirements expected from the students' college or university.

Good job, Dominique!

Congratulations to RWJF Health Policy Scholars

rwjf scholars logo

Pomp and circumstance were in full effect at Meharry Medical College's 139th fall Convocation. The time honored tradition marks the official start of the academic year. But, for most students, it's a proud moment to celebrate the plethora of scholarships, awards and merit prizes bestowed upon Meharry's finest. Among the recipients were many Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Scholars.

Congratulations to all of our scholars who received accolades during Convocation.

Click here to see the list of the scholarship winners and their awards.

The American Medical Association Recognizes

Italo Brown As An Outstanding Doctor of Tomorrow

 italo brown three     ama logo

Italo Brown, a fourth-year medical student, was recently selected, among 21 other medical students, to receive a $10,000 academic scholarship from the American Medical Association Foundation Physicians of Tomorrow Award.

Brown serves as a board member and coordinator of open enrollment in a statewide insurance exchange program and is a RWJF Center for Health Policy Scholar. He has been inducted into the Gold Humanism Honors Society which acknowledges senior medical students, residents and role-model physician teachers for demonstrated excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service.

Recipients were nominated by their medical schools and chosen based upon academic achievement and financial need.

Kirk McDonald Named Student Ambassador of



Kirk McDonald, a fourth-year dental student, has been named Student Ambassador by NEXTDDS, an online educational resource for dental professionals.

McDonald was chosen after he submitted an application. He was given certain assignments in order to see if he had the capabilities to fulfill tasks that a dentist would do and he excelled on all of his activities that were required.

He is currently the community chair for the Hispanic Dental Association, the American Student Dental Association Gold Crown Chair, Student Interview Committee and Ewell Neil Dental Society and a Meharry tutor.

In FY2012-2013, McDonald was vice president of the Ewell Neil Dental Research Society and president in FY2013-2014.

He is the recipient of the Fullerton Scholarship, The Meharry General Endowed Scholarship, the Pharmaceutical Science Award, the Colgate-Palmolive Scholarship, the Meharrian Factor Award and earned second place in Meharry's Research Day, 2014.

As a NEXTDDS Student Ambassador, McDonald will be raising awareness of free instructional videos, dental web seminars and various NEXTDDS hosted podcasts, all of which will be made available to dental students. He plans on forming a connection with his colleagues by voicing their concerns through blogs and utilizing NEXTDDS as a vector to reach the concerns of various dental students.

Upon graduation in 2015, McDonald plans to practice general dentistry in Florida.

Read his story.

Women's Week Held at Meharry

women's weekStudents end Women's Week by taking part in the American Heart Association Heart walk.

"Jukebox Jams: Focusing on a Healthy Mind, Body & Soul" was the theme for Women's Week held on September 28 through October 4, 2014. Festivities during the event included Mass at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church; a continental style breakfast catered by Miss Meharry, India Keys, and her court; a discussion on how to deal with everyday stress as health care professionals; a health fair held in the West Basic Auditorium with representatives from Planned Parenthood, The Environmental Health Department, Harmony Family Clinic and Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center; a movie night and a drawing on Friday of the week with the winner receiving an iPad mini.Winner of the iPad mini was second-year medical student, Tamanna Huda.

All proceeds from the drawing went to the American Heart Association Heart Walk which was on October 4th, culminating the week.

Meharrian Wins Miss Tennessee USA Crown

miss tennessee

Did you know the new Miss Tennessee USA 2015 has a connection with Meharry? Her name is Kiara Young and she graduated with her Masters of Science in Public Health degree from the School of Graduate Studies and Research in May 2014.

Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Young received her bachelor's degree, in biology, from Hampton University.

Young won her title on October 4, 2014 in Clarksville, Tennessee. As Miss Tennessee USA, Young will represent the state of Tennessee in the Miss USA pageant next spring, which will air LIVE on NBC.

She will be engaged in many community service initiatives during her tenure such as Best Buddies, Gilda's Club and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. Young also plans on promoting heart disease awareness and breast cancer awareness while she is Miss Tennessee USA.

After her year as Miss Tennessee USA, Young plans on returning to Meharry, in the fall of 2015, to begin matriculating at the School of Medicine. He ultimate career goal is to become a pediatrician and open an office in an underserved community.

Research of Fernando Villalta, Ph.D. and Qiana Matthews, Ph.D., Recognized in Scientific Journal

fernando     qinnamatthews

The Chagas disease vaccine research work performed by Fernando Villalta, Ph.D., chair and professor of microbiology and immunology in the School of Medicine and Qiana Matthews, a Meharry Ph.D. graduate, who is now an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, was selected as the Biomedical Picture of the Day.

This contribution was recently highlighted on the cover page of the journal, PLoS Neglected Tropical Disease, a peer-reviewed, open access scientific journal devoted to the study of neglected tropical diseases, including helminth, bacterial, viral, protozoan and fungus infections endemic to tropical regions.

The selected Biomedical Picture of the Day was taken in Dr. Villalta's lab at Meharry.

Click here to see Chagas disease photo.

Congratulations, doctors!

Dr. Henry Foster Jr. Still Championing for Civil Rights

 henry foster  arkansascivilrights

On Friday, October 24, 2014, Henry Foster Jr. M.D., professor emeritus and former dean of the School of Medicine, was recently honored as a 2014 Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail honoree. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock Institute on Race and Ethnicity in conjunction with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Office of Diversity and Inclusion, chose Dr. Foster for his "generosity in ways that have championed racial and social equity in Arkansas and beyond." Dr. Foster has dedicated his career fighting for health care equality for disadvantaged populations and to improving the quality of life for women and children.

During his career, Dr. Foster has authored more than 250 publications, including his autobiography, Make a Difference: the Founder of the 'I Have a Future Program' Shares His Vision for Young America. His professional leadership, guidance and expertise is sought after globally.

Dr. Foster is past chair of the U.S. Committee for the United Nations Population Fund, past chair of the board of directors for Pathfinder International and served two terms as chair of the board of regents of the United States National Library of Medicine. He has received more than five honorary degrees and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

MAOP's 37th Annual Retreat A Success


The Meharry Association of Office Personnel (MAOP) held its 37th Annual Fall Retreat from October 16 through October 18, 2014 at Paris Landing State Park in Buchanan, Tennessee.

The annual retreat kicks off MAOP's business and planning sessions for events that are scheduled throughout the year. It also provides members with access to professional, personal, health and spiritual empowerment training and tools they can utilize all year, both in their personal lives and professional careers.

This year's facilitator was Veronica J. Oates, Ph.D., RDN, LDN, a licensed registered dietician and associate professor in foods and nutrition in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Tennessee State University.

Read details.


The Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance is pleased to announce the launch of the Interprofessional Education (IPE) Pilot Project, the inaugural iteration of an interinstitutional and interprofessional collaborative program between the academic community and community partners and to congratulate the following students who will represent their respective institutions and areas of study:

Belmont University:
Ali Alcott, Nursing; Elizabeth LoChiatto, Nursing; Joshua Mitchell, Nursing; Jane Owen Robbins, Occupational Therapy; Nicole Wright, Occupational Therapy

Lipscomb University:
Jessica Lampley, Pharmacy; Sahar Torabi, Pharmacy

Meharry Medical College:
Ryan Ber, Medicine; Rian Cho, Dentistry; LeShaun Clayton, Medicine; Damien Cuffee, Dentistry; Steffie-Ann Dujon, Medicine; Christina Eskew, Public Health; Chris Hardy, Dentistry; Yvonne Lee, Medicine; Vincent Owens, Public Health; Cassandra Stewart, Dentistry

Tennessee State University:
Victoria Harris, Social Work; Monica Lawrence, Social Work; Michael Triplett, Social Work

Vanderbilt University/Medical Center:
Leonard Curry, Divinity; Sara Green, Divinity; Kristal Patel, Nursing (advanced practice); Lorelei Phillip, Hearing & Speech Sciences; Raymond Romano, Nursing (advanced practice); Veronica Rubio, Nutrition; Kiara Savage, Hearing & Speech Sciences; Veronica Thaanum, Nutrition; Melissa Tucker, Hearing & Speech Sciences; Merissa Wertheimer, Nutrition

These selected students will work in professionally diverse teams that will work collaboratively to address a predetermined issue defined by their assigned community organizations.  This year’s community partners are St. Luke’s Community House, Urban Housing Solutions and Street Works.  Congratulations to these exceptional students!

For more information, contact IPE Program Coordinator Chanté Stubbs, MPH CPH, at or cal 615.963.2860.

Ebola Protocol for Meharry

With the recent occurrence of Ebola incidents in the United States, representatives of Meharry have met to discuss the protocol that must be enforced for all students, faculty and staff.


See student questionnaire.

See faculty and staff questionnaire.

 Flu Shots Are Here!


The Meharry 12 South Community Clinic is once again offering FREE flu shots this year, on a first-come, first-serve basis. The clinic is located at 1501 12th Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee. Patients can be seen Thursdays from 6 until 9 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

Flu shots are also available to students and employees on the third floor of the Comprehensive Building in room 331 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Call 615.327.5857 for more information.

Meharry students, we want to showcase your achievements and events. Please send us your scoops! Email: The marketing and communications department of Meharry Medical College reserves the right to edit all copy/photographs before publishing.

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MeharryLIFE is a campus news service of the Department of Marketing and Communications in the Office of the President at Meharry Medical College.
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