National University Opens Innovative Virtual Healthcare Clinic in Los Angeles

May 21, 2016

Los Angeles, Calif. – May 21, 2016 National University, a private, nonprofit university based in California, announces the launch of an innovative health clinic that uses the latest telehealth technologies to bring comprehensive medical care to residents of the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts. Among the first of its kind, the clinic has been developed in partnership with UCLA and local faith-based and community organizations to make health care more accessible to residents through its unique “virtual” approach.

The National University Nurse-Managed Clinic is the result of a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to the University’s School of Health and Human Services. The project and clinic administrators are based out of National University’s Los Angeles campus, which is connected through telehealth technologies to five community sites, such as the Tree of Life Missionary Baptist Church – the site of Saturday’s launch event.

The sites are staffed and include multi-purpose space as private patient exam rooms, medical equipment and video capabilities that connect with the Clinic’s healthcare team, which include nurse practitioners from National University and other healthcare organizations. Students from National University who are studying nursing and other health care specialties, such as health informatics, will also have the opportunity to gain valuable clinical experience in these new models of health care through collaborations with trained professionals.

“We are pleased to be leading this effort in partnership with UCLA and other important local organizations to advance National University’s mission of serving our communities,” said Dr. David Andrews, President of National University. “By addressing this critical need, we are also serving our students in providing them with unique, relevant opportunities to prepare for technological advancements that will reshape our health system.”

Dr. Keith Norris, a professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA who also serves as co-director for the Clinical and Translational Science Institute Community Engagement and Research Program, serves as the project’s lead physician. “This project provides a much-needed service that advances interdisciplinary health professional models of care while working with communities to create partnered solutions,” he said. “We are very pleased to be partnering with National University on this important initiative.”

The granting agency HRSA is the primary federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable. Through the National University Nurse-Managed Health Clinic, advanced practice nurses (APNs) work with an interdisciplinary team of health professionals that includes a UCLA professor of medicine, public health, clinical laboratory scientists, data analysts and others, who collaborate in the delivery of patient-centered care. Among the other organizations involved in the project are The Black Community Health Task Force, The New You Center, Canon Human Services, Tri-City Medical Group, Healthy African American Families, and the Tree of Life Missionary Baptist Church.

“Innovative ministry is our local church's goal, and partnering with this cutting-edge medical approach through in-person and telehealth services allows the church to support the community and city in encouraging holistic health not just spiritually, but on all levels,”
said the Rev. Marcus Murchinson of Tree of Life Missionary Baptist Church.

The project is believed to be among the first such “virtual” clinics of its kind. Nurse-managed health clinics typically deploy vans and other mobile units to provide primary care, health education and disease prevention services to patients who are least likely to receive ongoing medical care. Services available to patients through the National University Nurse-Managed Clinic include comprehensive physical examinations; management programs for diabetes, asthma, heart disease and high blood-pressure; vision and hearing testing; OB/GYN care and referrals; and body weight monitoring. Home visits may also be arranged, as needed. Administrators of the National University project anticipate approximately 3,750 patient appointments in the first year of operation.

“The technology now exists to reduce the financial, social, cultural and transportation barriers that prevent people from seeking proper health care,” said Dr. Gloria McNeal, Dean of National University’s School of Health and Human Services. “This project builds on such advances by flipping the paradigm and bringing health care support to the patient.” 

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. To learn more, visit www.nu.edu.

About the School of Health and Human Services at National University
The School of Health and Human Services consists of the departments of Community Health, Health Sciences and Nursing, which offer 17 degree programs and provide a wide range of online and onsite undergraduate and graduate programs.