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Oct 9, 2015 1:16 PM
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VU prof, Shalom founder launch social enterprise in Guatemala

A malnutrition-oriented project started by a Vanderbilt University professor and the founder of the Middle Tennessee-based Shalom Foundation has reached a milestone with the opening of a Central American supplementary food production facility.

According to a VU release, Ted Fischer (pictured), professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Latin American Studies, teamed with multiple Vanderbilt students over a five-year period on the project. Relatedly, Shalom head Steve Moore, a former Country Music Association CEO, worked with Fischer to found NutriPlus, a social enterprise effort that produces the supplement, Mani+.

The supplement (a fortified nut paste that provides calories, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals essential to brain development in babies and toddlers) is used to specifically address the nutritional deficiencies seen in Central American children. It is the first ready-to-use supplementary Food (RUSF)  to be both locally produced and locally sourced in Guatemala City, Guatemala, creating local jobs and supporting local farmers.
The new facility opened on Sept. 23 and will eventually mass produce Mani+. Eventually, Fischer and Moore hope to produce 25 tons of Mani+ a month, reaching 25,000 children.

To recognize the opening of the facility, an event was held recently at the Instituto de Nutrición de Centro América y Panamá (INCAP). Senior health officials from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic attended, as well as prominent business and NGO leaders and representatives from the World Food Program.

Shalom Foundation’s Guatemala City pediatric clinic has strong ties to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. The clinic houses the Vanderbilt Guatemala Research Station.

Regarding Mani+, Vanderbilt students helped develop financial and quality control models, an aflotoxin eradication plan for partner peanut farmers, and educational materials and packaging. They also conducted field research on peanut cultivation and Mani+ usage in the home. The paste itself was developed in partnership with food scientists at INCAP, which also donated the Mani+ production facility.

A 40-year longitudinal study by INCAP finds that the costs of childhood malnutrition are high and lasting.

“There’s a huge economic impact to malnutrition,” Fischer said in the release. “Kids don’t do as well in school, and we know from this data that they earn 40 percent less as adults than peers who were well-nourished. So to put it into a dollar figure, in Guatemala, that’s $300 million a year that malnutrition is costing this country.”

Oct 9, 2015 6:45 AM

BCP Group acquires Idaho company

Nashville prosthetics/orthotics venture building national network
Oct 8, 2015 1:00 PM

Analyst action: Genesco, Brookdale, Delek

Shares of Genesco are getting a boost today thanks to C.L. King analyst Steven Marotta, who has hiked his rating on the Nashville-based company to 'strong buy' from 'buy.' As of 11:10 a.m., Genesco (Ticker: GCO) was up almost 5 percent to $60.65. The shares are still down about 20 percent year to date, though.

Brookdale Senior Living stock is headed in the other direction today, thanks to Kevin Fischbeck at Bank of America Merrill Lynch's downgrade of the company to 'neutral.' Fischbeck's call comes a day after Brian Tanquilut at Jefferies trimmed his price target for Brookdale to $40 from $44. Late this morning, Brookdale (Ticker: BKD) was trading at $23 and change.

And lastly, Roger Read at Wells Fargo has grown more constructive on several parts of the energy sector. That led him to lift his ratings this week on Delek US Holdings and other oil refiners to 'outperform' from 'market perform.' Delek shares (Ticker: DK) are up slightly Thursday to about $27.50 and are flat year to date.

Oct 8, 2015 12:39 PM

Compassus acquires local hospice peer

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Oct 8, 2015 11:47 AM

NHC beefs up BofA credit line

National HealthCare Corp. and Bank of America have agreed to a new $175 million line of credit that will replace the companies' $75 million deal, which was to have expired Oct. 21. NHC CEO Robert Adams says the new line will let his team complete the roughly $170 million redemption of their preferred shares while continuing to invest in their regular businesses. The credit line will mature on five years.

Shares of Murfreesboro-based NHC (Ticker: NHC) are changing hands this morning around $63.30, flat on the day and for the year.

Oct 8, 2015 11:04 AM

S&P adds AmSurg to mid-cap index

Surgery and physician services company AmSurg is moving up the ranks of Standard & Poor's. The stock index compilers on Wednesday said the Burton Hills-based company will jump from the SmallCap 600 to the MidCap 400 on the afternoon of Oct. 14. Shares of AmSurg (Ticker: AMSG) rose more than 1 percent after hours Wednesday, adding to the nearly 3 percent gain from the regular session. Year to date, they're up almost 50 percent.

Oct 8, 2015 7:24 AM

Pinnacle chairman named to long-term care company's board

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Brookdale paying up for new chairman

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$20B+ regional bank snaps up local health care lending group

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