Throughout Season 4 - leaders from around VUMC explored issues facing businesses across industries, and how Vanderbilt is experimenting with and designing solutions for problems — old and new — by supporting smart people with visionary ideas.

Join guests from throughout Season 4 for Blazing a New Pathway: A Live Chat at 10:30 am CT on January 31 at

The guests have collaborated in various ways on establishing not only training pathways, but also paths to better, more stable career paths. Join us to hear from:

  • Peggy Valentine, EdD, vice president of Allied Health Education at Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Mamie Williams, PhD, MPH, MSN, FNP-BC, senior director of Nurse Diversity and Inclusion
  • Tyler Welch, science teacher and coach @ Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High, who works with the health sciences pathway and collaborates with Mamie Williams
  • John Cunningham, director of Healthcare Partnerships @ Nashville State Community College
  • Donna Whitehouse, Dean of Health Sciences @ Nashville State Community College
  • Brenda K. Batts, DHA, MPH-RRT-NPS-RRT, ACUE, Assistant Professor, Director of Cardiorespiratory Program, Cardio-Respiratory Sciences and Health Information @ Tennessee State University

Vanderbilt Health ‘DNA’ live chat to spotlight how community collaborations get more people on the path to a medical career

 ‘Blazing a New Pathway’ focuses on creative new training and outreach programs to bolster Allied Health and nursing professions

A live chat hosted by the Vanderbilt Health ‘DNA’ podcast on Jan. 31, will explore how educators throughout Nashville are collaborating on novel training programs. These programs find local solutions to the shortage of healthcare workers and the high cost of higher education.

Hear Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Peggy Valentine, EdD, vice president of Allied Health Education, and Mamie Williams, PhD, MPH, MSN, FNP-BC, senior director of Nurse Diversity and Inclusion, discuss new outreach and training programs with their peers from partner institutions: Metro Nashville Public Schools, Nashville State Community College, and Tennessee State University. Recent graduates of the medical assistance training program will also share their perspectives.

Listen to the ‘Blazing a New Pathway’ streaming conversation and participate in the Q&A at 10:30 am CT on Jan. 31. The conversation will be recorded and released as a Producer’s Cut podcast episode in the spring.

Allied health professionals are essential to patient care, providing services in areas such as medical assistants, laboratory technology and surgical support. However, a growing shortage of these professionals, as well as nurses, has left healthcare organizations nationwide grappling with staffing challenges that directly impact patient care.

The live chat is a spinoff of a Season 4 episode, Blazing a New Pathway: A Bold Blueprint to Foster Upskilling, Reskilling and Future Colleagues. The episode explores how to fill critical workforce shortages while promoting the stability of healthcare professions, increasing job satisfaction, and fostering the next generation of workers in the greater Nashville region. “Blazing a New Pathway” has been downloaded thousands of times.

The fourth season of VUMC’s award-winning podcast, Discoveries in Action, delves into how the future of tech, economic and cultural elements are shaping medicine, work and well-being.

Read more about how Vanderbilt University Medical Center is working to close the gap in the today’s health care worker shortage in The Tennessean.

Episode 1: From an inkling to Iceland: The inventive path toward a genetic ‘Rosetta Stone’

Transformative change takes intergenerational vision, discipline and commitment. Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s CEO and leaders in genetic research explain how ideas stemming from the 1990s sparked a new global alliance that will help write the future of medicine.



Episode 2: Trust, pilots, time: Get insiders’ thoughts on what it really takes to make forward-looking change in healthcare

This episode is your gateway into the world of transformative possibilities.





Episode 3: Blazing a New Pathway: A Bold Blueprint to Foster Upskilling, Reskilling and Future Colleagues

Companies around the U.S. and world are navigating a re-think about work and learning as shifting expectations and technological leaps upend the status quo. In this episode, discover how trailblazing initiatives at one of Tennessee’s largest employers are reshaping the healthcare landscape while addressing societal and economic pressures.


Episode 4: Equity Blooms Through Hard Work: Shifting Systems Toward Inclusion

Muscles that don’t get used, lose strength. Building a culture of belonging to foster inventive forward-looking research and robust retention requires the consistency and tenacity of a training program. Meet a nurse educator, a geriatrician, and a neurologist who are putting in the hours.