, Class of 2009


The Planetree Initiative was formed in 2016 within the School of Health and Human Services (SHHS), after dedicated SHHS faculty (Drs. Ellen Kaye Gehrke and Lockford Jones), community partners (Dr. Kevin LaChapelle), and University administration (Drs. Michael Cunningham, Gangaram Singh, and Gloria McNeal) identified a need to integrate person-centered health care curricula into programs that train the next generation of health care leaders. The journey to recognition initiated a school-wide process to evaluate areas for integration and alignment with person-centered care principles – in coordination with Planetree. This was a fully-inclusive process that included students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

National University’s School of Health and Human Services achieved Planetree Silver Recognition for Significant Advancement in Person-Centered Care in October, 2017. The University is the first academic institution in the world to achieve a Planetree recognition. The designation affirms that the University’s School of Health and Human Services has a student-focused approach and culture that fosters alignment and deeper integration with the Planetree principles of person-centered health care.

Who Benefits?

The Planetree model provides students and alumni with competitive advantages for entering the professional marketplace, enabling students and graduates/alumni to have an immediate impact on our health care system. SHHS students can design an academic experience that will prepare them for jobs of the future, enable them to attain interpersonal skills via Planetree, and interface with patients to provide compassionate, quality care, enhancing health outcomes and improving patients’ lives.

Why is this Important?

National University is the first academic institution in the world to pursue and achieve Planetree Recognition. This partnership positions National University as a leader in training a new generation of health care providers as compassionate, competent professionals dedicated to achieving the highest quality patient outcomes while serving diverse communities through a person-centered model of care.

Planetree is the leader in person-centered care, by way of alliances with more than 700 health care organizations in 23 countries, and is the only program to recognize excellence in person-centered care across the continuum of care in countries around the world. The SHHS diverse programs facilitate collaboration and interprofessional education for students and training for our future health care professionals, making this innovative and exciting partnership a win-win for all stakeholders.

What’s Coming Up Next?

In 2018, the Planetree Initiative is supporting the advancement of a new Person-Centered Certified Professional (PCCP) certificate. An anticipated future development is that National University students can attain the credential that certifies their expertise in person-centered care upon completion of necessary courses and exams – making them competitive for key opportunities in health care. The individual certification would position students and alumni as innovators with expertise around patient-centered care. It’s anticipated that individual certification will be approved by fourth quarter of 2018.

How to Get Involved?

For general information or inquiries regarding the Planetree initiative, please contact Dr. Gloria McNeal, Planetree coordinator: [email protected]

Any faculty, staff, student, alumni, or community partner is free to join!