Volume 1, Number 9 December 2014

Students at Brick Church Middle School Receive

An Unexpected Christmas Surprise


Third-year medical student, Aubrey J. Grant (left) and first-year medical student, Jamilah Perkins (right) presented special gifts to three students of Brick Church Middle School.

On Thursday, December 18, 2014, Aubrey J. Grant and Jamilah Perkins, both from the School of Medicine, presented personalized gifts to three selected students at Brick Church Middle School in Nashville, Tennessee. "The families of these students have fallen on hard times," said Grant. "The principal and teachers decided who the recipients would be. We tailored the gifts to match the personality of each student."

The student standing next to Grant loves "anything to do with hair" so she received headbands, pony tail scrunchies and a hat and scarf. The student in the middle is fascinated with technology and was given an electric car. And, the student on the right, next to Perkins, is a major fan of basketball. He received a Spalding basketball and Nike gym socks and headband.

Giving to needy students at Brick Church Middle School has been an ongoing project for the past three years and is sponsored by Meharry students who are members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Dental Student Wins Hinman Research Award


Stewart stands with faculty from The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, College of Dentistry. From left to right: Franklin Garcia-Godoy, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., senior executive associate dean, dental research; Patrick H. Yancey III, D.M.D., president of the Thomas P. Hinman Dental Society; Cassandra R. Stewart and Timothy L. Hottel, D.D.S., M.S., MBA, dean.

Third-year dental student, Cassandra Stewart, was the recipient of a clinical research award at the 20th Hinman Student Research Symposium held October 31 through November 2, 2014 at the historic Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Stewart's project examined the effect of diabetes on synthesis of proteins in the salivary glands that produce factors that may be essential for normal salivary secretion. Her project was funded by ADEA/Therabreath and directed by Leslie Halpern, M.D., D.D.S., Ph.D., MPH, associate professor and director of the Department of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery Residency Program, School of Dentistry; Janet Southerland, D.D.S., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery, School of Dentistry and Pandu Gangula, Ph.D., associate professor of physiology, School of Medicine and chair of oral biology research, School of Dentistry.

Click here to learn about the Hinman Student Research Symposium.

RWJF Fellow Featured During Public Health Meeting


rwjf health policy scholars revised

Minoo Sarkarati, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Scholar and third-year medical student, published an article on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The article titled, “What Determines Your Health?” was featured as part of blog series that ran during the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, November 15-19, 2014 in New Orleans. Sarkarati’s article focuses on how unconscious bias of physicians can have an effect on one’s health. Read article here.

Medical Student Motivates Youth Through

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America


big brothers big sisters


 La'Nyia Odoms with her father, Larry Odoms, and her little sister, Odalis.

On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, third-year medical student, La'Nyia Odoms, was one of the guest speakers at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee's annual fundraising "Better Beginnings Breakfast."

The event was held at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Nashville and among the 1,000 guests were Mayor Karl Dean, donors, community sponsors, supporters of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, family and friends. In her testimonial to the audience, Odoms spoke about "the importance of mentoring, giving back and caring about the community around you."

Before coming to Nashville, she was a high school math teacher at Franklin Township High School in Somerset, New Jersey and middle school track coach in at Franklin Middle School also in Somerset.

A native of Edison, New Jersey, Odoms became a Big Sister in January 2011. "When I started school here, it was important for me to become involved with an organization whose mission benefited young people and their educational growth and development," said Odoms. "It also helped me get acclimated to Nashville and become familiar with various communities and their needs."

One of the most important guests in the audience was Odoms' father who flew in from New Orleans for her special day.

To find out information about Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, click here.

Want to be a volunteer in Middle Tennessee? Visit their website.

 Eat Healthy . . . Doctor's Orders!


In case you're wondering who the chefs are in this caricature, it's none other than Joseph Claiborne and Aubrey Grant, both third-year medical students and co-founders of the blog, "Doctor's Orders." Claiborne and Grant are well aware that in order to be efficient and caring physicians, they will need to educate their patients about the benefits of healthy eating habits. Their blog provides Meharrians with a variety of recipes (all cooked and tasted by them) offering great tasting, and unique meal choices. Their motto: "Good Food is Good Medicine." Read their blog!

Employees Recognized for their Service

joan campbell lpn  drsalilkdas

Left: Joan E. Campbell, LPN receives her certificate for 50 years of devoted service to the ob/gyn and pediatrics departments. Right: Salil K. Das, Sc.D., D.Sc. has worked in the biochemistry and cancer biology department for 45 years.

See stories and photos here.

Meharry Professors Selected as Carnegie African Diaspora Fellows


agoboto minja

Congratulations to Vincent A. Agboto, Ph.D. (left), assistant professor and director, biostatistics, family and community medicine, School of Medicine and Christine Minja-Trupin, Ph.D. (right), assistant professor, School of Graduate Studies and Research, for being chosen in the first round as Carnegie African Diaspora Fellows. Both were selected, among 31other fellows, in the first cycle by the advisory council of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program.

Dr. Agboto will be working at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana on the project: Building Capacity Through Curriculum Co-development, Teaching and Research in Statistics and Bio-statistics.

Dr. Minja-Trupin will be at the host university, Tumaini University, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College, Tanzania. Her project will be: Curriculum Co-development for a Community Based Education Program With Situation Analysis to Identify Strengths, Gaps and Opportunities and for Developing Partnerships With Key Stakeholders for Sustainable Decentralized Learning Centers.

Read more.

Reflections of the National Library of Medicine's Georgia Biomedical Informatics Course



Fatima Barnes, Ed.D., M.P.H., MSIS, library director and assistant professor in the School of Graduate Studies and Research, was one of the few librarians selected to participate in the fall Biomedical Informatics course sponsored by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia.

The workshop covered numerous introductory and complex topics ranging from genetics, Big Data and the Cloud, telehealth and imaging informatics. Familiar topics with librarians included NLM resources, genomics and consumer health/social media databases.

One unique topic which Dr. Barnes particularly enjoyed was testing the technologies associated with disaster informatics. "The diverse nature of librarians, nurses, researchers and scientists made discussions and group collaboration fascinating," said Dr. Barnes.

An important criteria in selection of applicants is the willingness of participants to apply acquired knowledge with their institutions. Since her return from the workshop, Dr. Barnes and her staff are developing the "best practices" for supporting clinical and translational research at Meharry.

Course and contact information can be found here.

Remembering Steven Neil Wolff, M.D.

November 5, 1948 - October 31, 2014


Steven Wolff, M.D. joined Meharry's faculty in 2003. At Meharry, he was the chief of hematology and oncology, director of the Sickle Cell Program and chairman of internal medicine from 2005-2008. He not only worked in the hospital and clinic every week, he also successfully competed for government grants to champion the cause of underserved populations.

Dr. Wolff was a key force with the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance and a revered educator of students and residents.

Read more about Dr. Wolff.

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

Remember, your newsletter is designed to Recognize, Inform and Motivate. If you have an item you would like to include in MeharryLIFE, please email the details to: newsletterstories@mmc.edu.

 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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