National University Partners With Planetree, a Global Leader in Patient-Centered Healthcare, to Prepare a New Generation of Health Professionals

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Partnership is first of its kind with an educational institution to infuse curriculum with patient-centered health care principles; Planetree’s approaches are considered the gold standard among organizations worldwide

National University, the second-largest private nonprofit university in California, and Planetree, Inc., a mission-based not-for-profit organization that partners with healthcare organizations around the world, announce the first collaboration of its kind to train a new generation of health professionals in exceptional patient-centered care.

This is Planetree’s first partnership with an academic institution, and it offers a unique opportunity to jointly prepare students in patient-centered care. Patient-centered care emphasizes the active participation of patients and their families in the health care decision process. Planetree, a leader in patient-centered care through an alliance with 700 healthcare organizations and 19 countries, helps organizations develop a cohesive strategy of health care services through patient emotional, psychological, social and physical healing.

Starting this month through the partnership, National University’s School of Health and Human Services will initiate a school-wide process to evaluate areas for integration and alignment with patient-centered care principles.

“We are very excited to be partnering with Planetree to prepare a new generation of health care leaders dedicated to the highest standards of patient centered care,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, President of National University and Chancellor of the National University System. “At National University, we put a top priority on the exceptional student experience through initiatives like this one that address a clear need in the professional marketplace and that allow our graduates to contribute in ways that will have an immediate positive impact on our health care system.”

Planetree has worked with numerous healthcare organizations across the country and globally for nearly four decades, including with hospitals, clinics, long-term care and assisted living, and with large integrated healthcare systems including the Veteran’s Administration. They are considered the gold standard for setting standards and assessment of patient-centered care through their Planetree Designation Program.

Among their many partnerships include those with three Sharp Health hospitals in the San Diego area, which have each achieved Planetree Designation for their patient-centered models, as well as many others. This collaboration with National University will create a pipeline of students trained in these practices to work in health care organizations incorporating such models.

“We are truly excited to have this opportunity to collaborate with National University to help prepare a new generation of health care leaders to advance and integrate patient-center care practices and innovation,” said Randall Carter, Sr. Vice President at Planetree. “In order for patient-centered care to be truly effective, it needs to be integrated throughout entire organizations, and the University’s high quality School of Health and Human Services diverse offerings of specialties allows us to collaborate in preparing students to meet that need on so many levels.”

National University’s School of Health and Human Services, led by Dean Dr. Gloria McNeal, offers programs for students interested in clinical health sciences careers, healthcare administration programs, nursing degrees, public health, informatics and more. Students in all specialty areas will benefit from the collaboration, with Planetree collecting input this month from faculty, students, staff, partners and potential employers. The fully-inclusive process will identify areas for curriculum alignment and integration that will be followed by patient-centered training, education and other supportive services by Planetree.

“We are very excited for the opportunities this partnership will open up for our students as they become fully trained in patient-centered care approaches that have already been adopted by so many health care organizations,” said Dr. Gloria McNeal, Dean of the School of Health and Human Services. “This academic partnership completes the circle of making patient-centered care a priority on the organizational and education levels, allowing us to work even more collaboratively toward improving health care and patient lives.”

About National University
Founded in 1971, National University is the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California. With 30,000 students and more than 150,000 alumni, National University is the flagship institution of the National University System. National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students. Four schools and two colleges – the College of Letters and Sciences; the Sanford College of Education; the School of Business and Management; the School of Engineering and Computing; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies – offer more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees and 23 teacher credentials. Programs are offered at locations throughout California and across the nation, and are also available online. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California. http://www.nu.edu/

About Planetree
Planetree is uniquely positioned to represent the patient voice and advance how professional caregivers engage with patients and families. Its dedication to the widespread adoption of patient centered care is supported by a structured process that enables sustainable change. Planetree is a not-for-profit organization that supports an alliance of more than 700 healthcare organizations (including acute care hospitals, long term care communities and ambulatory care centers) located across the United States and 19 foreign countries that are committed to patient empowerment, improving the patient experience, and the delivery of patient centered care. http://planetree.org/

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Anna Cearley
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