In a significant step toward enhancing palliative care education and services in their markets, Rutgers University-Camden and Samaritan have officially inked a memorandum of understanding on a new partnership.
The partnership is reflective of similar palliative care-awareness efforts happening across the U.S. The Rutgers-Samaritan collaboration, in particular, is focused on bolstering clinical rotations and hands-on training opportunities for Rutgers-Camden students in nursing, social work and psychology.
“The newly formalized partnership between Rutgers-Camden and Samaritan will advance our many shared goals in research and community health,” Rutgers University-Camden Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis said in a statement.
Rutgers University-Camden is one of four campuses of Rutgers University, a public land-grant research university in New Jersey.
Founded in 1980, Samaritan is a New Jersey-based hospice, primary and palliative care provider. The nonprofit Samaritan’s palliative care arm operates in South New Jersey, including Bulington, Camden and Gloucester counties.
The organization is the preferred palliative care provider of Virtua Health, Jefferson Heath-New Jersey and Saint John of God Community Services, according to Samaritan.
“We are extremely proud to establish our innovative premier partnership with Rutgers University-Camden, the first of its kind for both of our organizations,” Samaritan President and CEO Phillip W. Heath said in the statement.
Palliative care, a specialized medical approach focused on improving the quality of life for individuals facing serious illnesses, has been gaining recognition for its holistic and patient-centered approach.
However, awareness and access to palliative care services remain limited, particularly in underserved communities. The South Jersey region is no exception to this trend, highlighting the pressing need for initiatives that expand education and access to palliative care.
The memorandum of understanding between Rutgers-Camden and Samaritan sets the stage for a multifaceted partnership. Through the collaboration, students, faculty and staff from Rutgers-Camden will have the opportunity to engage in clinical rotations alongside interdisciplinary teams at Samaritan.
These rotations will provide hands-on experience in home care settings and Samaritan’s inpatient units, offering a real-world context to complement the theoretical knowledge acquired in educational settings.
“I am grateful that our faculty, staff and students will have the chance to work alongside Samaritan’s health care professionals as we serve those in need in Camden County and throughout South Jersey,” Tillis continued.
Through agreement, Rutgers-Camden will also help support the expansion of Samaritan’s medical services while increasing access to home-based health care services for communities of color and other underserved populations.
“[The partnership] represents an important milestone for Chancellor Tillis and me, as our shared vision is codified and we bring together colleagues and key stakeholders to advance the practice of palliative medicine in Camden and the [South Jersey] region,” Heath said.
As efforts to enhance palliative care awareness and accessibility continue, partnerships like this serve as important roadmaps.
Duke University Medical Center, for example, has established partnerships with community organizations and health care providers to enhance palliative care services in North Carolina.
Meanwhile, the University of Pennsylvania’s palliative care program partners with Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center and other health care institutions to integrate palliative care principles into cancer care.
Samaritan in 2013 also launched a hospice and palliative care fellowship program in concert with the Rowan University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine.