Dr. Christian Ketel: Building Bridges to Compassionate Health Care

Dr. Christian Ketel: Building Bridges to Compassionate Health Care

Our Faculty Spotlight celebrates the institutional partners who make the vital connections that drive the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance’s (MVA) collaborative learning environment.

Christian Ketel, DNP, RN, FNAP, found his calling in the nursing profession early in life. After working mostly behind the scenes the past decade to improve patient health outcomes, Dr. Ketel describes being “thrust” into the community. “It turned out to be a match made in heaven,” he says. “The community work, being out in public, engaging with people and community partners—I love it!”

Earlier this year, the National Academies of Practice (NAP) announced the election of Dr. Ketel as a Distinguished Nursing Fellow. A press release about the announcement describes fellowship in the NAP as “an honor extended to those who have excelled in their profession and are dedicated to furthering interprofessional practice, scholarship and policy in support of interprofessional care.”

Interprofessional Education

Dr. Ketel views his role as “living between the academic and clinical worlds, engaging in ‘interprofessional-ism.’” Along with Dr. Regina Offodile, Meharry Medical College, he directs the inter-institutional, MVA Interprofessional Education (IPE) Faculty Collaborative and IPE Student Project.

IPE Program Manager Jessica Jones is grateful for the energy and enthusiasm Dr. Ketel brings to the team. She says, “Dr. Ketel’s ability to turn ideas into action has been invaluable, especially when we had to adapt our programming on the fly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Dr. Ketel explains how working with faculty from diverse health professions offers new perspectives on health care, and how rewarding it is to share those perspectives with students. Dr. Ketel believes that a consequence of America’s “mechanized” approach to health care is that “there is a lack of love” in the healthcare industry. “My goal is help students keep a fresh, open mind as long as they can,” he says. “I want them to know there is a less transactional, non-hierarchal approach to health care, and it is our responsibility to make it better.”

Mobile Vaccine Program

For his leadership and exceptional care combating the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Ketel has been recognized by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. The Vanderbilt Mobile Vaccine Program that Dr. Ketel co-directs with Dr. Carrie Plummer, began as joint venture between the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC).

Both Drs. Ketel and Plummer were awarded the prestigious Martin Luther King Jr. Award, for their work towards increasing racial justice and health equity. Additionally, they were awarded the 2022 John W. Runyan Community Health Nursing Award by the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Ketel beams as he shares how they have attended or coordinated over 500 events, vaccinated over 7,000 people from medically vulnerable and marginalized communities, and dispersed over 15,000 individual vaccines throughout Middle Tennessee.

Dr. Ketel is quick to point out how their approach, which he describes as “proactive and intentional about eliminating barriers,” has been a collaborative effort between multiple institutions at multiple levels of academia and in the community. Dr. Ketel is incredibly appreciative of the hundreds of volunteers from Vanderbilt University, VUMC, Lipscomb University, Belmont University, Tennessee State University, University of Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State University, and more.

Dr. Ketel is an Associate Professor of Nursing at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and co-director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance Interprofessional Education Faculty Collaborative.

About the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance

The Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance is a collaborative initiative between Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Since 1999, faculty, researchers, health professionals, students, and community members have worked with the MVA to address health disparities. The MVA is committed to cultivating strategic partnerships, building community capacity, and facilitating research and learning opportunities. We seek to promote community resources and assets that strengthen connections between our institutions, partners, and the populations they serve.