National University to Open a `Health Clinic Without Walls' in Watts

September 14, 2015

$1.5 million Federal Grant will Fund Collaborative Effort in Bringing Needed Medical Care to Chronically Underserved Community

 Los Angeles, Calif. – Sept. 15, 2015 – National University - the second largest private, nonprofit university in California - is partnering with UCLA and several community organizations to set up a revolutionary neighborhood `health clinic without walls’ that uses the latest telehealth technologies to bring comprehensive medical care to residents of the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts. The initiative is the result of a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to the School of Health and Human Services at National University.

Starting early next year, the National University Nurse-Managed Health Clinic, based out of the University’s Los Angeles campus, will make health care more accessible to residents through its unique “virtual” approach. Actual patient services will be provided at conveniently-located community locations, such as social service agencies. The sites will be staffed by community health workers and include patient rooms, medical equipment and video capabilities that will connect them with the Clinic’s medical staff. The School’s nursing and other health professions students will, in turn, gain valuable 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. Michael R. Cunningham, President of National University and Chancellor of the National University System. “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.”

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) will work with an interdisciplinary team of health professionals that includes a UCLA professor of medicine, laboratory scientists, data analysts and others who will become the primary care providers for these patients. Among the organizations involved in the project are the Black Community Health Task Force, St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, and Healthy African American Families.

Dr. Keith Norris, a professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA who also serves as the co-director for the school’s Community Engagement and Research Program, will serve as the lead physician. “Advancing interdisciplinary health professional models of care and working with communities to create partnered solutions are both high priorities for UCLA, and we are thrilled to be partnering with National University on this initiative to provide such a needed service,” said Dr. Norris.

Nurse-managed health clinics typically provide primary care, health education and disease prevention services to patients who are least likely to receive ongoing medical care. In the case of the National University Nurse-Managed Health Clinic, this concept is being advanced further through the incorporation of telehealth technologies and community-based sites.

“The overall goal of this collaborative project is to improve access to health care and at-risk populations, breaking down the financial, social, cultural and transportation barriers that prevent people from seeking proper health care,” said Gloria McNeal, Dean of National University’s School of Health and Human Services and the project’s director. “We are flipping the paradigm and bringing the health care team to the patient.

Services available to patients will 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 appointments in the first year of operations.

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.

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 140,000 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. Five schools and one college – the College of Letters and Sciences; the School of Business and Management; the School of Education; 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.

Anna Cearley
Director of Public Relations
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