Matt Schorr
September 25, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Christian Ketel, DNP, RN – the new Interprofessional Education (IPE) and Inter-Institutional Collaborative Learning co-director – brings more than 20 years of experience to the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance (MVA) program.

“I’ve been in the healthcare field and in nursing at about every level you can be in,” he said.

That work started as a Nursing Assistant in a Skilled Nursing Facility as a young person where he fell in love with Nursing.  He then moved through his career as an inpatient Registered Nurse, then as both an inpatient and outpatient Nurse Practitioner in General Surgery, and now as an Assistant Professor of Nursing and Clinical Director for clinics serving the underserved.

 

Continuing the mission

As IPE Co-Director, Dr. Ketel will work alongside fellow Co-Director Regina Offodile, MD and MVA Program Manager Jessica Jones, MS to further the MVA’s effort to create new and innovative methods for collaborative learning.

“Over the last five years, there’s been a huge amount of growth in the program,” he said. “The vision hasn’t been directed by one program. It’s been a collaborative effort by faculty participants who donated hundreds of hours over the years.”

The IPE program leverages the strengths of the MVA and its IPE faculty to find ways students at Meharry Medical College (MMC), Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and others can apply their knowledge and leave a positive impact on the community.

 

Entering healthcare

Some might describe Dr. Ketel’s decision to enter healthcare as “a whim.”

“Like all college people, I was finding where my interests were,” he recalled. “I looked in a newspaper and saw a Certified Nursing Assistant training program in Murfreesboro, and I gave it a try.”

Nursing Assistants handle routine, day-to-day care for patients, such as bathing, meal preparation or transferring them to wheelchairs. It’s a vital role that provides physical, emotional and personal support, and Dr. Ketel fell in love with it.

“Caring for patients, being with them during some of their most difficult and happy moments, it was very rewarding,” he said.

He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Middle Tennessee State University, a Masters of Science Degree from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice Degree at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN).

 

Current work

Dr. Ketel currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Nursing at VUSN, where he teaches courses that focus on health system leadership, biomedical informatics and program evaluation. He’s also one of the founders of the Clinic at Mercury Courts, a not-for-profit housing organization for low-income individuals and families.

“I worked with Vanderbilt and Urban Housing Solutions (UHS) to create a program that connected health and housing,” he explained. “To increase health, people need stable housing, and to have stable housing, they need good health.”

The clinic, where Dr. Ketel still serves as clinical director, is an award-winning community clinic that delivers interprofessional care to vulnerable patients in Nashville and the surrounding area.

Additionally, Dr. Ketel has consulted as a Clinical Informatics Consultant for the Tennessee Primary Care Association (TPCA) and other academic-based and Federally Qualified Health Centers around the US. This work centers on assisting organizations create and develop health systems to expand their availability efficiency thereby improving the quality, cost, effectiveness and safety for patients across Tennessee and the nation.

 

Looking ahead

“Dr. Offodile has been amazing, and the faculty are the best people I’ve ever worked with,” Dr. Ketel commented. “Jones is a phenomenal organizer and thinker … learning to adapt to new COVID environment, I can’t express how impressed I am with her.”

Looking ahead, Ketel is confident he can rely on the input of the entire IPE faculty team to determine their direction for the future.

“We’ve got some of the greatest minds in professional education on this team,” he said.

 

About the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance

Founded in 1999, the Alliance bridges the institutions of Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Its mission is to enrich learning and advance clinical research in three primary areas -- community engagement, interprofessional education and research -- by developing and supporting mutually beneficial partnerships between Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the communities they serve. Through community engagement, the Alliance serves a large community of stakeholders including surrounding universities and colleges, community organizations, faith-based outlets and community health centers. Its interprofessional education enhances students' interdisciplinary understanding and improves patient outcomes through integrated care. The research conducted provides access to experienced grant writers and materials supporting the grant application process and facilitates grant-writing workshops.