CDU and CommonSpirit Health held a special event in February to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizing the two organizations’ intentions to form a partnership to advance the practice of health professions and education. This gathering marked the next step in leveraging the organization's complementary goals. 

CommonSpirit Health is among one of the largest non-profit health systems in the U.S. with more than 1,000 care sites in 21 states coast-to-coast and serving approximately 20 million patients in big cities and small towns across America. Their mission is to improve the health of the people they serve, especially those who are vulnerable, while advancing social justice for all. 

This closely aligns with CDU’s mission to cultivate diverse health professional leaders who are dedicated to social justice and health equity for underserved populations, making the two organizations ideal partners with a shared vision of achieving health equity for everyone.

The event, which was kicked off with an invocation by CDU General Counsel John W. Patton, included CDU and CommonSpirit Health leaders. The day featured the ceremonial signing of the MOU by senior executives from both institutions. The document codified the framework for the developing partnership. The MOU acknowledges the critical need for nurses and health professions of color throughout the healthcare continuum in the U.S. 

“We’re really enthusiastic about this MOU, and we're looking forward to CDU entering into a broader and deeper relationship with CommonSpirit,” said David Carlisle, CDU President and CEO. ”We’re really looking forward to joining arms with CommonSpirit to enable this University's future growth to the benefit of all Californians, especially those from under-resourced communities and underrepresented populations.”

The ceremony included inspirational speeches by a range of guests including CommonSpirit Health President and COO, Marvin O’Quinn as well as CommonSpirit Health Executive Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Kathleen Sanford.

“This synergy is made apparent by the similarity of our complementary missions, our visions and our goals,” said Lloyd Dean, CommonSpirit Health CEO. “This partnership will not only be a step toward addressing the need for well-educated professional diverse nurses and nurse leaders. I am convinced, we are convinced, that it will strengthen the certainty that healthcare equity will be achieved during this decade that we are all a part of.”

The day concluded with closing remarks from CDU Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost, Steve Michael, who spoke of the commonality between the MOU’s signees. “The overlapping mission to serve the underserved population in our communities...the overlapping mission to serve the disadvantaged and increase the diversity of health professionals…this is what brought us together,” said Michael. “Organizations don’t sign MOUs, people do. Like-minded people can move mountains if they're committed.” 

Learn more about CommonSpirit Health at and visit for more information about CDU.