December 6, 2012

Award honors strong bonds between VU, Nashville CARES

Vanderbilt University has been named to receive the Nashville CARES Corporate Partner Award.

Robertson Nash, MSN, MBA, left, and School of Medicine student Jordan Cohen at the Comprehensive Care Clinic at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks. (photo by Joe Howell)

Vanderbilt University has been named to receive the Nashville CARES Corporate Partner Award.

The award recognizes a 20-year relationship between Vanderbilt and Nashville CARES, including programs developed recently in which students provide significant contributions to the clinical care of patients with HIV/AIDS.

LoLita Toney, Nashville Cares Board President, said Vanderbilt has long been a leader in AIDS research through the Clinical Trials Center, and has been a consistent supporter of the Comprehensive Care Clinic (CCC).

Nashville CARES launched the CCC to serve HIV/AIDS patients in 1994. In 2010, the CCC was officially incorporated into Vanderbilt’s clinics at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks.

In 2009, the School of Medicine added an elective in which the student-run Vanderbilt Medical AIDS Coalition began to work with Nashville CARES to train and certify students to provide HIV counseling and testing services within local emergency rooms, clinics and community locations. Through this elective, hundreds of HIV tests have been performed for people in high-risk populations around Nashville.

Then, in 2010, when Vanderbilt expanded its service learning projects, the CCC served as a pilot site for the Vanderbilt Program in Interprofessional Learning (VPIL), training students in multiple health disciplines in a team-based approach. Jordan Cohen, one of the original VPIL students during his first year of medical school, said the CCC operates in a broad, team-based structure, so it was ideal for the interprofessional course.

“Their idea of care is inspirational. They exhibit the kind of care I want to give and the kind of person I want to be, where nothing is too good for patients,” Cohen said.

The CCC continues to be a collaborative effort of Nashville CARES and Vanderbilt, serving more than 3,000 patients in the region, and adding 300 new patients each year. Nurse Practitioner Robertson Nash, MSN, MBA, said the CCC’s focus on the patient at the center of care is a model for any clinic.

“The most important thing for me to communicate to students here is how hard it is to be a patient and how challenging things we take for granted every day are for a lot of people. All of these things are right here in front of us in Davidson County,” Nash said.