On Friday, Marymount University established a new academic partnership with OpusCare
, a Miami-based nonprofit, with the aim of offering a Certificate Seminar Series on palliative care in the near future.
This series, which will feature seminars at locations across the country, is set to offer specialized training and research opportunities on issues connected to palliative care. Also referred to as “comfort care,” it embraces a holistic approach to treat individuals who are facing a serious illness but may not qualify or be ready for hospice care. About six million Americans are estimated to need palliative care.
Advantages of palliative care include better healthcare services for the terminally ill, reduced hospital admissions and emergency room visits, improvement of quality of life and a pathway to eventual hospice services.
“The partnership between Marymount and OpusCare will benefit our students, faculty and the entire health care community for generations to come,” said Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University. “Providing education, research and interdisciplinary training on palliative care under Marymount’s academic disciplines and accreditation is a fantastic opportunity.”
"Ninety million people have a chronic health condition, and that statistic is supposed to double over the next 25 years," said Dr. Michelle Walters-Edwards of Marymount's Malek School of Health Professions. "We hope to be at the forefront of bringing palliative care into an educational setting. Our mission is to lead that charge."
In addition to physician and nurse-specific training, the seminars will also include topics related to business and health care professionals. Participants who earn certificates and go on to work in the palliative care field can solve one of the biggest challenges to the health care delivery system – filling the jobs of providers who can actually deliver services to the growing population in need of them.
“Palliative care will be at the forefront of our health care delivery system, and we have to create trained professionals and educational programs to raise awareness in our communities,” said Dr. Ismael Roque-Velasco, President and CEO of OpusCare. “Marymount’s prestige, health care programs and location at the heart of our country’s decision-making process makes it an incredible future venue to gather know-how and solutions to the health care needs of the future.”
Marymount’s focus on palliative care will also advance ongoing efforts to address major public health issues such as falls prevention, an area for which the University has gained recognition in recent years. Mobility issues, often triggered by fall-related injuries, can severely harm quality of life for older adults. To increase awareness, Marymount receives federal grant funding to implement programs and strategies
that decrease falls and fall-related injuries.
“The Malek School of Health Professions at Marymount is a leader in health-related education, and the addition of palliative care will build on our expertise,” Dr. Becerra added. “Academically, this will be a new look at health care that is compassionate towards both patients and their families.”
"This is just the first step," added Dr. Hesham El-Rewini, Provost of Marymount University. "By partnering academia with the health care industry, we can truly make a difference."
Later this year, Marymount University and OpusCare will co-host a one-day continuing education conference in Miami, with the theme of “Palliative Care at the Forefront of Healthcare Solutions 2020.”
The conference will feature several doctors, palliative care professionals and faculty members who plan to share different perspectives on treating patients who have chronic illnesses.