Archive | Division of Health Sciences RSS feed for this section

Here we GROW again!

9 Jul

LMU_WordmarkWhen I started work at Lincoln Memorial University on September 15, 2005, the University was a small, liberal arts institution with a main campus in Harrogate, Tenn., and a small handful of extended learning sites where primarily graduate education was delivered. Our student population was under 2,000. At the time that I interviewed for my position there was no mention of possible growth or impending plans to add professional programs. Shortly after I started Vice President for University Advancement Cynthia Whitt, my boss, handed me a brochure on osteopathic medicine and said “oh, learn more about this… we are looking at the possibility of adding a school of osteopathic medicine here.”

The LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.

That was almost eight years ago. Today our enrollment is over 4,000 students, LMU operates 10 extended learning sites, and not only do we have the LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, it is now one of the largest medical school programs in the state. In addition to osteopathic medicine, LMU-DCOM is home to a top-notch Physician Assistant Program. And the University hasn’t limited its growth to the medical field. In 2009 the LMU-Duncan School of Law opened in Knoxville. As an institution, LMU-DSOL’s Inaugural Class graduation was a highlight of spring. Over my tenure there has also been tremendous physical growth on the main campus as five new residence halls and two new classroom facilities have been built.

One might think that with all that growth, the University would take a breather. However, today is another momentous day for LMU as we announce that the University has been granted a Letter of Reasonable Assurance by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education (COE) and can now recruit students to the emerging LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine (LMU-CVM).
As LMU Board of Trustees Chairman Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk said in the press release, “The approval from the COE to open a new school of veterinary medicine in Harrogate, Tenn., will propel this University to even greater heights and establish LMU as a leader in professional studies for the region.”

The University first announced its plans to pursue a college of veterinary medicine in 2011. Since then a dedicated pocket of LMU administrators and newly hired program directors have been working diligently toward the accreditation process. This group has worked tirelessly toward this day. However, there is no time to sit back and bask in the glow of today. It’s time to push forward and work harder than ever on program development. As the admissions team kicks into high-gear, recruiting the LMU-CVM inaugural class, faculty has to be hired and community partnerships lined up.

LMU is now recruiting for the emerging LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine in Harrogate, Tenn.

LMU is now recruiting for the emerging LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine in Harrogate, Tenn.

There is no time to rest because here we grow again!


Where in the world is the world?

8 Jul

Checking out the nearly completed Math and Science building earlier this week, I couldn’t help but notice that there was something missing. Actually, there are a lot of things missing at this point, but amid the dust and debris of building crews putting the finishing touches on the main lobby, my eye was drawn to what’s not there. At the center of the lobby area, across from where crews have taken great care to install stately marble, stands an area that is clearly waiting for something. The marble, which was reclaimed from the walls of the former Baptist Hospital in downtown Knoxville, adds opulence to the building even in its unfinished state yet there is still a gaping hole.


The Math and Science Building lobby.

The tiled floor lays the ground work for what is to come. If you were to walk in the main entrance of the Math and Science Center today, you would see a large square with three poles waiting for something. What in the world are we waiting for? Well actually, it’s the world.

Months ago, LMU Chairman Pete DeBusk commissioned Top Stone to create a four-foot rolling sphere fountain and it’s to be installed in the lobby as soon as it arrives. The globe etched sphere can be turned, spun and stopped by hand. However, if left alone the North Pole goes back to the north position. The 5,500 pound sphere floats on a thin layer of water. Top Stones uses unique technology in their fountain. It’s surely a lesson in physics, which is only fitting for the Math and Science Center.

A globe etched stone fountain similar to this on is on its way to LMU.

Top Stone announced the shipment of the LMU fountain in a press release on May 29, 2012. The completed work has been en route every since. The extreme spring and early summer weather and storms have slowed its journey. Approximately two weeks ago, University officials were notified that it had arrived in the New York Harbor and was sitting on a shipping vessel.

We can only assume that it is now on its way to Harrogate, Tenn., by truck. With just over three weeks until LMU-DCOM Class of 2016 orientation is slated to take place in the large auditorium on the first floor of the Math and Science Building, let’s hope the world is here to greet them.





Moving Day!

7 Jul

Well not exactly moving day, more like moving days, weeks and months. That is because it is going to take days, weeks and months to totally move in all the people, departments and programs that will live in the new Math and Science center. The good news is that some moving has commenced.

The exterior of the building has looked complete for weeks now and indeed all but the landscaping and external signage is complete. The 140,000-square foot building, which is roughly 25% larger than the LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, is slated to be complete later this month. It is still a work in progress with interior work continuing daily.


Nearly all of the anatomy tables in the four-pod anatomy lab are in place.

But, moving trucks have also been visiting the new facility daily. The large, four-pod anatomy lab is nearest to being moved-in. The anatomy tables have been moved and the faculty and staff offices are furnished and ready to go. The largest lab in the building, the anatomy lab has been a priority as a July 24 deadline looms.

July 24 is the first day of orientation for the LMU-DeBusk College Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2016. That day, LMU will welcome over 225 new osteopathic medical students and the Math and Science Center is integral in the LMU-DCOM class size increase as current facilities in the LMU-DCOM building are not large enough to accommodate the numbers. The good news is that judging by these photos, everything seems right on track to meet the deadline!



Getting a leg up in Gross Anatomy

3 Jul

In just a few short weeks, Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine will be welcoming the Class of 2016. However, 40 incoming osteopathic medical students are already on campus and in class. They are the inaugural participants in a new intensive three-week anatomy course aimed at indoctrinating new students with the rigors of medical school while preparing them for Gross Anatomy.   

Developed and taught by Dr. Jonathan Leo, a Kaplan lecturer, professor of neuroanatomy and associate dean of students at LMU-DCOM, the course includes class material presented through small group discussions and time in the LMU-DOM anatomy lab. There will be a heavy emphasis on the clinical aspects of anatomy so the student can equate various physical signs and symptoms with anatomical pathology. Presented over three weeks, the course moves at a very fast pace and covers upper and lower limbs, thorax and abdomen and head and neck with an emphasis on the cranial nerves and skull.

The Gross Anatomy Boot Camp is limited to 40 students and was available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Classes are held daily from 8 a.m. to  4 p.m. Each starts with a test over the previous day’s material. Each test is cumulative to encourage long-term mastery of medical gross anatomy. The Boot Camp concludes with a medical school level laboratory practical exam.  


Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine graduate Carlos Cabrera painted a mural inside the anatomy lab as a memorial to the selfless individuals who donate their bodies so that medical students might learn anatomy. The mural completed in 2008 spans the front wall of the LMU-DCOM anatomy lab.

Leo developed the course to prepare students for the fire hose of information and knowledge that will flood them in osteopathic medical school. Though most students expect a more rigorous curriculum on their paths to becoming a physician, few are fully prepared for their first days, weeks and months of medical school and the total dedication it requires. The Gross Anatomy Boot Camp brochure includes the following disclaimer to help illustrate the commitment required. “The course moves at a very fast pace. You should only be registering for it if you are ready for a full-time immersion into gross anatomy. In addition to spending most of the day in a structured learning environment you should also plan on spending the majority of your evening studying anatomy.”

Clearly, the experience is not for the faint of heart or unfocused student. The course will run through July 20. Orientation for the LMU-DCOM Class of 2016 is set to begin on July 24.

Celebrating the Class of 2013

2 Jul


PA Program Director Rex Hobbs welcomes the LMU-DCOM PA Class of 2013 to it’s White Coat Ceremony.

As LMU continues to grow, there is no shortage of special events and this weekend it was the Physician Assistant Program’s time to shine as it celebrated its Class of 2013 at the Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine Physician Assistant Program White Coat Ceremony.

The White Coat Ceremony has been a standard ritual in the medical education world since Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons celebrated the first one in 1993. The White Coat Ceremony is an important, public demonstration of a student’s commitment to patient care and professionalism. LMU’s first White Coat ceremony was celebrated in 2007 when the inaugural class of osteopathic medical students were “robed” with his or her short white laboratory coat. The PA program, which was founded in 2009, followed suit in 2010.


Dr. George Stanley Thompson PA Student Society President Katilin Jasmon speaks during the Class of 2013 PA White Coat Ceremony at LMU-DCOM.

While osteopathic medical students are coated in their first months of study at LMU-DCOM, the PA program celebrates its White Coat Ceremony shortly before the completion of the students’ first year of study just prior to clinical rotations. The ceremony itself is an opportunity for physician assistant students to hear words of wisdom and encouragement and provides time for reflection on what it means to become a physician assistant.

Students are coated with short white lab coats to help distinguish students from physicians and physician assistants, who wear full length white coats. The 75 PA students who were coated on Saturday will be packing up their white coats and departing Harrogate for a wide array of clinical destinations around the country in the coming weeks. Their rotations will get underway at hospitals, clinics and private practices at the end of this month or the first week in August.

Beyond celebrating the Class of 2013, this is a special time for the LMU-DCOM PA Program because for the next weeks it has three full classes of students enrolled. LMU-DCOM welcomed the PA Class of 2014 in June and the Class of 2012 is wrapping rotation on the way to its August 4,2012, Commencement Ceremony.

Newly coated members of the LMU-DCOM PA Class of 2013 recite the Physician Assistant Oath following the coating ceremony.




Math and Science Center Update

13 Jan


An artist's rendering of the exterior of the LMU Math and Science Center

An email I received earlier this week reminded me that I had not recently provided an update on the major campus building project going on at LMU. While classes were out and offices operated on abbreviated schedules with skeleton crews over the holiday break, the work never slowed down at the Math and Science Center construction site.

In fact, crews pushed ahead in the favorable weather. The roof is on. The parking lots have been paved and are even lined. The exterior brick is complete and all the openings for windows have been covered with plastic as the crews move their attention to the interior.

The parking lots have been paved.


It is no small feat to accomplish this much on the large building. The Math and Science Center will be the largest building on campus when it is complete. At 145,000 square feet it will be approximately 25% larger than DCOM. It will house state-of-the-art classroom, research and office space and be home to the Caylor School of Nursing, DCOM classes, all of the undergraduate science programs and even some classes for the proposed College of Veterinary and Comparative Medicine.

It will house a 400-seat auditoria, microscopy suite and over 4,600 square feet of research labs to enable faculty and students to engage in more research activity. For the undergraduate programs, it will be complete with state-of-the art biology, chemistry and physics labs and classrooms. The building will have complete wireless internet integration and full high definition and digital classrooms. Also planned for the building is a much larger anatomy suite which will accommodate professional and undergraduate students in four pods. It will be poised to provide advanced learning for advanced students.

I hope to get some inside access in the coming weeks, so be on the lookout for an update on the interior progress.  Stay tuned!


Additional views of the construction.


A view from DCOM to the Math and Science Center. From this view you can see the progress being made on the new residence halls.


Pets and Vets need Techs

12 Oct

When I was a young girl I had the best dog. Daisy was a black lab who would meet me at the end of my street every day on my walk home from school. Some of my happiest memories include Daisy. Unfortunately, some of my saddest memories from childhood came when Daisy was stricken with cancer and our family had to put her down.

Over twenty years later, I still remember sitting in the veterinarian’s waiting room not really understanding what was going on. I remember my dad going back with the vet and my older brother and I sitting in the waiting room crying. That day, a veterinary technician sat with us until our dad came back. She explained what was going on and how much pain Daisy had been in because of the cancer.

At the time, like a lot of people, I had no idea what a veterinary technician was. I just knew that the nice lady at the vet’s office made a horrible day a little easier. I would bet that most people can tell you the name of at least one veterinarian whether they own pets or not. I’d also bet that they couldn’t tell you what a vet tech does, let alone the name of a veterinary technician.

Like medical, vision, dental and other health care providers, veterinary care requires a team to give pets the best medical care possible. Veterinary technicians are educated in the latest medical advances and skilled at working alongside veterinarians. They work closely with veterinarians, veterinary assistants, practice managers, patients and owners to provide the essential link with all involved in the care process.

This week the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, Inc. (NAVTA) is celebrating the profession with National Veterinary Technician Week. This annual event recognizes veterinary technicians for their contributions in pet health care, as well as veterinarians, assistants, practice managers and others involved in this care. This year’s theme is “Pets and Vets need Techs.”

LMU is proud to be home to just one of three Veterinary Technician programs in the state of Tennessee. Founded in 1985, the program’s goal is to meet the increasing demand for veterinary technicians in the region. The program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medicine Association. It also continues to grow, with a second Veterinary Technician program starting at LMU’s Kingsport Extended Learning site in Kingsport in January.

In addition to joining the nation to celebrate NAVTA’s National Veterinary Technician Week, LMU’s Veterinary Technician program is also sponsoring two high profile events in the coming weeks to raise awareness of the profession and LMU’s program.

The Fall Veterinary Technician Continuing Education Conference will be held on Friday, October 21, 2011, at the Schenck Center for Allied Health Sciences on the LMU Main Campus in Harrogate, Tenn. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m., with the conference beginning at 9 a.m. Six Continuing Education (CE) credits will be available through this conference. Cost for attending the conference is $25, and lunch will be provided. Those wishing to attend the conference should RSVP to Amy Nelson at 423.869.6205 or

The annual Veterinary Technology Dog Show will take place on Saturday, November 5, at Haymaker Farms in Harrogate, Tenn. Registration for entries into the dog show begins at 11:30 a.m., with the dog show to commence at 1 p.m. The entry fee is $5 for the first class and $2 for all subsequent classes. Classes include: costume class, saddest dog, happiest dog, junior handler, senior dog, obedience, senior handler, best puppy, best mixed breed, best hound, best herding, best toy breed, best terrier, best sporting, best non-sporting, best working and best trick. All dogs must be on a leash and puppies must be 12 weeks old or older. All dogs must be vaccinated. For more information, contact Director of Veterinary Technology Mary Hatfield at 423.869.6278.

NAVTA is a nonprofit organization that represents and promotes the veterinary technician profession. NAVTA provides direction, education, support and coordination for its members. Incorporated in 1981, NAVTA is the national organization devoted exclusively to developing and enhancing the profession of veterinary technology. Pets give us unconditional love and veterinary technicians give us peace of mind. For this reason, they should be celebrated during National Veterinary Technician Week. More information about NAVTA and this special week can be found at or by calling 888.99NAVTA.