Category Archives: EVENTS

TSU Pro Football Hall of Famers Richard Dent, Claude Humphrey to be recognized at Super Bowl LI

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Super Bowl legacy will once again be in the spotlight when its Pro Football Hall of Famers are recognized at Super Bowl LI.

The National Football League will host Hall of Famers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities “to highlight their achievements and as part of the NFL’s growing relationship with HBCUs,” Troy Vincent, Sr., executive director, Football Operations, said in a letter to TSU President Glenda Glover.

“Tennessee State University has had a number of former players who have been in past Super Bowls dating back to the first one. It’s an extreme honor,” Glover said. “It also speaks to our proud tradition as a University and as an HBCU.”

TSU’s Hall of Famers are Richard Dent, a 2011 inductee and MVP of Super Bowl XX with the Chicago Bears; and Claude Humphrey, a 2014 inductee who played in Super Bowl XV with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Vincent said the HBCU Hall of Famers will be recognized in several ways, including an on-field ceremony prior to kickoff on Feb. 5 in Houston.

“Very few football players make it to the NFL,” Vincent said. “Fewer still reach the pinnacle of our sport: The Pro Football Hall of Fame. Student-athletes at HBCUs represent only a small portion of the college football population, but an amazing 10 percent of all players in the Hall of Fame attend HBCUs.”

TSU’s football legacy dates back to the first Super Bowl in 1967. Then, former TSU Tigers Willie Mitchell and Fletcher Smith appeared as teammates for the Kansas City Chiefs. More than 20 others have followed them over the years. The most recent Super Bowl participants are Lamar Divens (2010); Anthony Levine (2011); and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (2014). Former TSU offensive guard Robert Myers was on the Denver Broncos squad that won Super Bowl 50.

Last year, Tennessee State was recognized at the 7th Annual John Wooten Leadership Awards in San Francisco for the number of TSU football players who have gone on to play in Super Bowls.

Altogether, TSU has had 31 Super Bowl appearances. Of the 393 schools with alums in the first 50 Super Bowls, only 55 have more than Tennessee State’s 21.

To see a list of TSU Super Bowl participants, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/pr/news5/superbowl.aspx.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

 

TSU engineering students are making sure Nashville bridges are safe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – How safe are the bridges in Metro Nashville that you drive across everyday?

The answer may be in the work Tennessee State University engineering students are doing around the city.

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Kevin Nguyen, a graduate civil engineering major, left, and Abram Musinguzi, a Ph.D. student in systems engineering, are two of six TSU students and their professors that assessed bridges around the Nashville Fairgrounds to ensure their structural integrity. (Courtesy photo)

A team of six graduate and undergraduate students, along with their professors from the Departments of Civil and Architectural Engineering, recently conducted a study on five bridges around the Nashville Fairgrounds to assess their structural integrity.

As part of the fairgrounds improvement project, the students’ findings were submitted to the city’s structural engineers and will be used to determine future use of the bridges.

The dean of the College of Engineering said the involvement of the students in the project is part of Mayor Megan Barry’s “innovative” vision and strategy to get more high school and college students working on real-world projects that enhance their skills and employability.

“TSU and the College of Engineering are playing an integral part of this strategy by providing our students with practical experience that complements their classroom learning,” Hargrove said.

Abram Musinguzi, a Ph.D. student in systems engineering, is the student coordinator on the project.  He said part of the inspections involve measuring the bridges’ dimensions to identify any structural damage, or distress, and compile a report.

“The purpose of the project is to assess if there is any need for renovation or repair of the bridges,” Musinguzi said.

Dr. Farouk Mishu, professor and interim chair of the civil and architectural engineering department, is one of two faculty members who worked with the students.

“These bridges have been here for a very long time,” Mishu said. “We are assessing them to see what kind of remediation we need to do to make them safe. This gives the students real-world experience before they graduate.”

Overseeing the students and their professors’ work was a field engineer from the fairgrounds project management team, who said he is impressed with the student’s skill level and attention to detail.

“What they are doing is pivotal to deciding what kind of money will be spent on either the repairing, the removing or replacing of these bridges,” said Jonathon Schneider of the project management team. “Their performance is remarkable.”

The students’ work is not TSU’s first involvement with the fairgrounds improvement project.

Last year, Hargrove served as a member of the review team appointed by Mayor Barry to make recommendations for the $12 million renovation of the fairgrounds.

Other students on the bridge project were: Kevin Nguyen, a graduate student majoring in civil engineering; and undergraduates SiVon Jiles, civil engineering; Matthew Miller, architectural engineering; Dwight Pullen, architectural engineering; and Darren Evans, civil engineering.

Dr. Catherine Armwood, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering, was the other faculty member on the project.

For more information about TSU’s College of Engineering, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU’s Office of International Affairs partners with local middle school for International Day

Tennessee State University’s Office of International Affairs will join students and faculty at Margaret Allen Middle Prep on Friday, Jan. 27, as sponsors of the school’s annual International Day.

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Dr. Jewell F. Winn, senior International Affairs officer and deputy chief diversity officer at Tennessee State

The celebration emphasizes the advantages of learning about diverse cultures, study abroad opportunities and the exchange of experiences. This is the first year TSU is partnering with Margaret Allen.

“Throughout the year, we work with middle and high schools to establish a pipeline to post-secondary education,” said Dr. Jewell F. Winn, senior International Affairs officer and deputy chief diversity officer at Tennessee State. “This year we are looking at going to different international days and will set-up displays and show off the different cultures represented at TSU.”

Several of TSU’s international student clubs will lead discussions with approximately 250 7th and 8th graders on food, the arts, clothing, music and other cultural aspects from their diverse countries. Workshops will be facilitated by TSU students with Saudi Arabian, African and Kurdish heritage.

“We are excited to have an African drummer who will join us and do an interactive drum session with the student and teach them about African beats,” Winn said. “In addition, our students who have participated in study abroad opportunities will make poster presentations and share those experiences.”

Andy Mizell, a member of Margaret Allen’s International Day Committee, said the school has hosted an International Day celebration for more than a decade. With a diverse group of about 500 students, 21 different languages are spoken within the school walls.

“It [International Day] has always been amazing to see the diverse population of students come together and give special performances, as well as share in some of the cuisines from their cultures,” Mizell said. “This year will be the best, having TSU as a partner and adding college level performances and workshops for our students, will greatly heighten the International Day experience for them. They are surely never going to forget this one!”

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

TSU’s Graduate School hosts first recruitment fair, will offer on-site admission

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s School of Graduate Studies and Research is hosting a recruitment fair on Jan. 28 to showcase its excellent programs, and more.

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Dr. Lucian Yates, III, dean of TSU’s Graduate Studies and Research

The fair, the school’s first, will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday in the atrium of TSU’s Avon Williams Campus in downtown Nashville.

In particular, the fair aims to make prospective graduate students aware of TSU’s seven doctoral degrees, 24 master’s degrees and eight certificate programs. Many of the graduate programs will offer on-site and provisional admissions, as long as a transcript is available the day of the event, said Dr. Lucian Yates, III, dean of the Graduate School.

“This is a grand opportunity for advanced degree seekers to meet, talk, and possibly enroll at a ‘one-stop’ event,” said Yates, adding that prospects will be able to interact with faculty, as well as Alumni Association members.

“The administration, faculty, and staff look forward to this opportunity and the possibility of serving future Tigers.”

Yates said the school is also taking advantage of a new Tennessee Board of Regents policy that allows TSU and other state institutions to offer discounted rates to students within a 250-mile radius of their campuses.

Under the new plan, graduate students taking nine credit hours will pay 35 percent less, or $6,176, a difference of about $3,200 from the previous rate.

In publicizing the fair, TSU Graduate School organizers reached out to school districts and other organizations in the states that fall within the 250-mile radius. They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.

For more information about TSU’s Graduate School, visit www. Tnstate.edu/graduate.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

More than 300 TSU Students, Volunteers Participate in MLK, Jr. Day of Service

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is continuing the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with an MLK Day of Service.

On Saturday, Jan. 21, more than 300 TSU students and volunteers participated in various projects around Nashville that included working with kids, assisting elderly residents, packing food, painting and hanging photos.

The MLK Day of Service at TSU is organized each year by the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement to give students, faculty and staff an opportunity to celebrate King’s legacy through service.

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TSU students Courtney Couser, left, and Cochilla Wright move boxes at Madison Middle School on MLK Day of Service. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

The center was one of six organizations to receive federal and matching funds two years ago from the Corporation for National and Community Service to mobilize volunteers to honor King’s memory through service projects.

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in service, and this initiative falls in line with not just his belief, but TSU’s motto – Think. Work. Serve,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “We’re proud that TSU was selected as one of six institutions to help lead this national service project.”

Like the other institutions, TSU mobilizes students and community volunteers to take on projects around the city.

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TSU students and volunteers clean the playground at Grace M. Eaton Child Care and Early Learning Center. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Barbara Dudley, a senior economics and finance major, was one of about 25 students who cleaned windows, sanitized chairs and shelves, moved trash and cleaned the yard and the parking lot at Grace M. Eaton Child Care and Early Learning Center on Saturday.

“It feels really good to give back,” Dudley said. “I have always had a passion for service and for children and to be able to help at a day care just makes it more meaningful for me.”

Mahalia Howard, the executive director of the center, agrees.

“I think it is wonderful for young people to give back to the community,” she said. “What they are doing for us here today is a blessing because we are a non-profit. We don’t have the funds to pay for the things they are doing. What they are doing is helping to support at-risk students.”

In La Vergne, Tennessee, more than 30 volunteers performed various chores for elderly residents at AHEPA 343, an independent living apartment complex for seniors. They cleaned living areas, moved trash, hung pictures, and moved furniture.

Linda Tynan, 68, a six-year resident, who just needed company, was moved to tears by the students’ willingness to help.

“I think its terrific to see these students take up their time to come and lend a hand to people they don’t even know,” Tynan said. “What they are doing today might not seem much to them, but I appreciate every minute of it.”

Dr. Linda Guthrie is the director of the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement. She said the MLK Day of Service is one of the most exciting events the center has ever undertaken.

“It is an honor to lead 11 other HBCUs throughout the southeast region of the country in serving our communities,” she said. “We should feel challenged and act on the challenge to do something good every day to make a difference in the lives of others.”

“We want people to realize that Dr. King’s holiday is not just a day off,” said Shirley Nix-Davis, director of a youth empowerment program at TSU and one of the MLK Day of Service project directors. “But it’s an opportunity to serve, and continue serving throughout the year.”

For more information on the MLK Day of Service, contact the TSU Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

18 Graduate From TSU New Management Training Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is making sure all its employees holding management positions are proficient in their areas.

On Jan. 12, TSU President Glenda Glover presented certificates to 18 managers who completed the first in a series of management training programs aimed to bring participants up to speed on university processes and procedures.

The 10-week, 30-hour management-training program is for recently hired middle and senior management staff and others who have been in their positions for less than two years.

Glover said the program is part of the university’s effort to ensure excellence in all areas of operation.

“This effort is geared toward ensuring that we have continued improvement in staff performance, which is so important on our campus,” Glover said. “I am proud of all of the participants and I look forward to the level of productivity that comes with this training opportunity.”

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University officials and staff attend a reception in the President’s Dining Hall for participants in the university’s new management training program. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Linda Spears, associate vice president of Business and Finance and director of Human Resources, said a focus group of representatives from all divisions came up with the curriculum and topics for the training program after meeting for three months.

“This is something we felt we needed and so Human Resources responded,” Spears said.

She said the intent is to acclimate new managers and administrators to TSU because many of them are not aware of certain operational procedures and processes.

“I would say that participants’ skill levels have certainly increased with this training,” Spears said.

Adrienne Frame, director of budget, has been at TSU for four years but became a director a year ago. She said the training opened her eyes to many things she didn’t know before.

“I learned a lot that I didn’t know going in as a supervisor,” Frame said. “I feel much more prepared as a new supervisor.”

Spears said the management-training program will be offered twice a year, in the fall and spring.

Among those receiving certificates were Dr. Lucian Yates, dean of Graduate Studies and Research, who started at the university in July; and Dr. Coreen Jackson, who assumed the role of interim dean of the Honors College about a year ago.

Others were: Phyllis Danner, director of Research and Sponsored Programs; Natasha Dowell, employment manager; Peggy Earnest, chief of staff in the Division of Student Affairs; Dr. Cheryl Green, assistant vice president of Student Affairs; Albert Hill, director of Business Operations, Facilities Management; Dr. William Hytche, executive director of Residence Life; Angela Jackson, associate registrar; and Valencia Jordan, associate director and senior women’s administrator.

Also receiving certificates were: Arlene Nicholas-Phillips, executive assistant to the president and liaison to the TSU Board of Trustees; Ben Northington, assistant director of fiscal accounts; Julius Proctor, area coordinator of Residence Life; Sonja Revell, Student Affairs coordinator for programming and mediation; Sheila Riley, director of Enrolment Services; Bradley White, associate vice president for Financial Services; and Valerie Williams, associate director for Learning Services.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State helps celebrate the life, legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University partnered with the Interdenominational Ministers’ Fellowship and the Nashville community to help celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Participants in MLK Day march head to TSU’s Gentry Complex for Convocation. (photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Hundreds of people assembled in front of Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church on Monday, January 16, to march to TSU’s Gentry Complex for its annual Convocation honoring King.

Before the march, a youth program and rally were held at the church. TSU President Glenda Glover pumped up the crowd by reminding them of the historical role Nashville played during the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the strong participation of youth in that movement.

She said that same fervor should burn within youth today, and she lauded those who came out to honor King.

“We are so thankful that the youth movement is here,” Glover said. “It was youth like you who touched the consciousness of America. That torch has now been passed on to you who are present today. Let’s keep the flame burning.”

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, who has set a goal to find jobs for 10,000 youth this summer, said part of continuing King’s legacy means not ceasing to act on the things he fought for, like jobs.

“Today is about that speech that he gave so many years ago when he talked about his dream,” Barry said. “But you know what, before that speech, that march was called the march on Washington for jobs and freedom. So today it is about jobs, because we know if they (youth) have paid meaningful internships, that’s going to lead to opportunity, that’s going to lead to hope. Government can’t solve all the problems, but together, we can absolutely have an impact.”

Whether at the youth program and rally, or the Convocation, the collective message of this year’s King Day seemed to be the empowerment of today’s youth at a time of heightened social injustice, said many of the participants. The killing of young, unarmed black men by police has particularly caused tension across the country.

“It really brings to light what’s going on with our young people right now, and what he (King) really wanted for us,” said Avery Davis, who participated in the march.

TSU senior Kourtney Daniels agreed the police shootings, as well as the results of the recent presidential election, have seemingly taken the country back decades. But she said she always looks forward to honoring King, because doing so provides a dose of needed hope.

“It’s just a great day to get together with the community, reflect, and plan for the future,” Daniels said.

The Convocation’s keynote speaker, activist and educator Brittany Packnett, said before her speech that there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of equality, but that we should all be undaunted, like King was.

“My message is to leave with a spirit of hope, with a spirit of power, and with a spirit of resistance for the work that lies ahead,” said Packnett, a co-founder of Campaign Zero and a member of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the Ferguson Commission.

Other Convocation participants included Dr. Glover, Mayor Barry, U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper, State Rep. Harold Love, Jr. and Dr. Shawn Joseph, director of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.

During the Convocation, the Interdenominational Ministers’ Fellowship presented $1,000 each to TSU, Fisk University, Meharry Medical College and American Baptist College for student scholarships.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

 

 

TSU President Glenda Glover discusses initiatives to improve retention, graduation rates at spring 2017 Faculty and Staff Institute

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU President Glenda Glover says the university is implementing initiatives to improve retention and graduation rates, and the overall success of its students.

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Dr. Glenda Glover addresses Faculty and Staff Institute, as Dr. Achintya Ray, Faculty Senate chair, and Staff Senate Chair Linda Goodman look on. (photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations).

Glover addressed the Faculty and Staff Institute for the spring 2017 semester on Monday, Jan. 9.

Like any higher education institution, she said TSU has its challenges, but she’s optimistic about what lies ahead for the university because of initiatives that will help it maintain a “legacy of excellence.”

“This is an exciting time,” said Glover, “because the history of TSU is still being written.”

Employees gathered in Kean Hall also heard from Dr. Mark Hardy, vice president for academic affairs; Dr. Achintya Ray, chair of the Faculty Senate; and Staff Senate Chair Linda Goodman, all of whom told faculty and staff they play a roll in the success of TSU.

“Let’s commit ourselves to excellence,” Ray said.

Glover outlined steps TSU is taking to help students graduate – and on time. One key initiative uses eight so-called coaches to help students with their “personal and educational goals,” Glover said.

“They will help students understand their goals, and how to work through barriers,” she said.

At the same time, Glover said the university wants to stay competitive and reputable, which is why it’s implementing higher admission standards. Beginning the fall of 2017, all students must have a 2.5 grade point average and a 19 on the ACT for admission to TSU. The previous admission scores were 2.25 or a 19 on the ACT for in-state students, and a 2.5 or 19 ACT for out-of-state students.

“Quality begets quality,” Glover said.

The president also discussed capital improvement and infrastructure enhancements. They include construction of a new Health Sciences building, as well as plans for new residence halls, and stadium enhancements.

Glover also touted TSU’s nationally-recognized research, which undoubtedly contributed to $54 million in new awards for funding grants last year, at least $3 million more than the previous year.

Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, TSU’s chief research officer, said the millions of dollars the university receives is a result of “faculty members working hard to create innovative ideas.”

“I’m excited that we have new funds that will give us an opportunity to work on some outstanding research, to solve some of the national problems and needs,” Young said.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

Tennessee State University part of cutting-edge research aimed at reducing cancer disparities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – This holiday season, cancer survivor Navita Gunter has a lot to be thankful for, mainly her life.

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Navita Gunter

But she’s not content with her own personal survival. Understanding her own struggle when she was stricken with cervical cancer several years ago, and finding little compassion and help, Gunter has vowed not to let that happen to another woman.

“My struggle gave me purpose and compassion for others,” she said.

Gunter, founder of the Cervical Cancer Coalition of Tennessee, has joined TSU as head of the community advisory board for a four-component cancer research project at the university.

The U54 Partnership to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities, refunded recently by the National Cancer Institute for another five years, is a coalition involving TSU, Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University. Its goal is to create a model for eliminating disparities in cancer through education, prevention and treatment.

The components of the project are community outreach and engagement, smoking cessation, breast cancer awareness, and cancer research education.

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Mariam Boules, a senior biology major, works in Dr. Margaret Whalen’s research lab. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“The intent of this award is to reduce health disparities,” said Dr. Margaret Whalen, professor of chemistry, who heads the cancer research education component. “The specific disparities we are looking at is the disparity between the vast majority of people and certain groups, like African American, in terms of cancer incidence.”

Whalen’s role, she said, is educating students to get them interested in doing cancer research to try to broaden the number of individuals who engage in cancer research.

“If we have more people from different backgrounds engaging in cancer research who are able to understand and deal better with the disparities, they will be more interested in trying to address the situation.”

Although there has been substantial progress in cancer treatment, screening, diagnosis, and prevention over the past several decades, addressing cancer health disparities—such as higher cancer death rates, less frequent use of proven screening tests, and higher rates of advanced cancer diagnoses—in certain populations is an area in which progress has not kept pace, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Documented cancer health disparities include substantially higher rates of prostate cancer incidence and death among African American men than men of other racial/ethnic groups; and higher rates of kidney cancer among American Indian and Alaska Natives than other racial/ethnic groups.

Mariam Boules is Dr. Whalen’s student and a senior biology major with minors in psychology and chemistry. She said exposure to the cancer research has been enlightening.

“The research is teaching me a lot of new things,” Boules said. “Having to do hands-on in the lab for about eight hours a day and enjoying the stuff you are doing and learning about; all those compounds and how they affect our system and our cells is just amazing.”

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Dr. Rebecca Selove

In the case of smoking cessation, TSU scientists are looking at tobacco use and the health disparities it presents, especially the incidence of lung cancer death rate among African-American men.

“Our role at TSU is the design of behavioral intervention,” said Dr. Rebecca Selove, a clinical psychologist and research associate professor, who heads the smoking cessation component of the project. “This entails telling people about the program, and giving them information in general about how important it is to get that support if they are tobacco users.”

Selove said the intervention would be designed along with the Cancer Outreach Corp, and would involve counseling people about cessation and motivating them to sign up and stick with the program.

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Dr. Oscar Miller

Dr. Oscar Miller, chair and professor of sociology, heads the outreach component. He coordinates and maintains the activities of the community advisory board, which is comprised of experts in government and community organizations, whose mission is to help reduce cancer disparities and also to disseminate cancer research findings and information.

“One of the things we do is look at the researchers, or the research that is ongoing, and try to find community partners who have some expertise in that,” Miller said. “We meet about four times a year to discuss upcoming research projects, new areas of research, and help the researchers at the three institutions on how to include the community findings in their research.”

Gunter is excited about the cancer research, and what the future holds.

“The TSU project has expanded the research effort in this area and helped me touch more people than what I was touching before,” she said.

TSU’s involvement in cancer research, in particular, is far-reaching. Recently, renowned cancer specialist and TSU alum, Dr. Edith P. Mitchell, was part of a panel that made recommendations to help speed the development of cancer cures.

The Blue Ribbon Panel of scientific leaders and cancer patient advocates was formed to provide direction for Vice President Joe Biden’s National Moonshot Initiative, which aims to make more therapies available to more patients, while also improving efforts to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage.

“As members of the panel, we were able to take what we know from experience and working with cancer research to come up with these recommendations, which we are certain will help the vice president in his work,” Mitchell said.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Dr. Edith Mitchell, Noted Cancer Specialist, TSU Graduate Named to Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Renowned cancer specialist and TSU alum, Dr. Edith P. Mitchell, is part of a panel that recently submitted 10 cutting-edge scientific recommendations to help speed the development of cancer cures.

Mitchell, clinical professor and director of the Sidney Kimmel Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities at Thomas Jefferson University, served on the Blue Ribbon Panel of scientific leaders and cancer patient advocates named to provide direction for Vice President Joe Biden’s National Moonshot Initiative.

President Obama announced the $1 billion initiative as part of his State of the Union Address in January and named Biden to head it. The Moonshot aims to make more therapies available to more patients, while also improving efforts to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage.

In September, Mitchell’s panel submitted their report, with recommendations aimed at the Moonshot goal of making 10 years of progress in five years.

“Serving on the Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel is one of the most exciting things that has occurred in my career,” said Mitchell, who is also outgoing president of the National Medical Association. “As members of the panel, we were able to take what we know from experience from cancer and working with cancer research to come up with these recommendations, which we are certain will help the vice president in his work.”

The panel recommended that the Moonshot consider the following:

  • Establish a network for direct patient involvement
  • Create a clinical trials network devoted exclusively to immunotherapy
  • Develop ways to overcome resistance to therapy
  • Build a national cancer data ecosystem
  • Intensify research on the major drivers of childhood cancers
  • Minimize cancer treatment’s debilitating side effects
  • Expand use of proven prevention and early detection strategies
  • Mine past patient data to predict future patient outcomes
  • Develop a 3D cancer atlas
  • Develop new cancer technologies

Mitchell, a retired Air Force brigadier general, is one of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s nominees for Tennessee State’s University Board of Trustees.

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