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Lehigh Carbon Community College

By Erika Neldner

Reinhardt University and Piedmont Healthcare have signed a partnership agreement, which will help to provide higher education opportunities for nurses in the Piedmont Healthcare system.

Pictured from left are: Dr. Glynis Blackard, dean of the Cauble School of Nursing & Health Sciences; Dr. Mark Roberts, Reinhardt University Provost; Denise Ray, Chief Nursing Executive for Piedmont Healthcare and CEO at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital; and Michelle Breitfelder, Chief Nursing Officer at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital.

The agreement was signed Monday at Piedmont Mountainside in Jasper.

The agreement, an Educational Pathway, is an opportunity for Piedmont Healthcare system employees to participate in any of Reinhardt’s undergraduate, online programs at a discounted rate. While the agreement allows for Piedmont’s employees to pursue any one of the online degrees, the targeted programs include the RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the Bachelor of Healthcare Administration.

“Reinhardt is thrilled to be able to partner with Piedmont Healthcare to offer a quality education to Registered Nurses who want to pursue a Baccalaureate degree,” said Dr. Glynis Blackard, dean of the Cauble School of Nursing & Health Sciences. “Baccalaureate degrees for the RN assist in making the nurse more marketable, provide more opportunities in leadership and the workplace and contribute to personal accomplishment. We look forward to starting this program and helping Piedmont Healthcare nurses reach their personal goals of obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.”

“Reinhardt University has been an incredible partner to Piedmont Mountainside Hospital and to the community as a whole over the years,” said Denise Ray, Chief Nursing Executive for Piedmont Healthcare and CEO at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital. “We are excited to see our partnership grow and to be able to offer Piedmont employees a chance to take classes or earn a degree with a tuition discount from Reinhardt.”

“Reinhardt University has been generous in sending nursing students to Piedmont Mountainside to help with community health fairs and outreach events. They actively seek experiential learning opportunities for their nursing students and have a strong program,” said Michelle Breitfelder, Chief Nursing Officer at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital. “I look forward to seeing how many nurses at Piedmont take advantage of the tuition discount.”


About Reinhardt University

Founded in 1883, Reinhardt University is a private, comprehensive institution grounded in the liberal arts and affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Reinhardt offers more than 40 graduate and undergraduate programs online and on campus, ranging from business and education to music and theater. Reinhardt also offers programs in other centers in the North Georgia region. Reinhardt’s main 525-acre campus is ideally located in Waleska in the heart of Georgia’s high country and nearby the great international city of Atlanta. Named a College of Distinction, Reinhardt earned Georgia, Christian, Business and Education badges for 2019-20. For more information, please contact Reinhardt at (770) 720-5600 or see

About Piedmont Healthcare

A private, not-for-profit organization with nearly 660 locations and serving 2 million patients across Georgia, Piedmont is transforming healthcare, creating a destination known for the best clinicians and a one-of-a-kind experience that always puts patients first. Today, more than 110 years since it was founded, Piedmont is known as a leading health system in cancer care, treatment of heart disease and organ transplantation with 11 hospitals, 24 urgent care centers, 28 Piedmont QuickCare locations, 555 Piedmont Clinic physician practice locations and more than 2,000 Piedmont Clinic members. Our 22,000-plus employees dedicate themselves to making a positive difference in every life we touch, and our commitment doesn’t stop there. In fiscal year 2018, Piedmont provided more than $225 million in uncompensated care community benefit programming in an effort to better the health and well-being of the people in the communities we serve. For more information, visit

About Piedmont Mountainside

Piedmont Mountainside Hospital – a 52-bed hospital, located in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains – dedicates itself to delivering unsurpassed medical care to the residents of Pickens County and surrounding communities. We provide a range of services from cardiac rehabilitation and imaging to orthopedic services and cardiac catheterization. Piedmont Mountainside offers intensive care, 24-hour emergency services with 18 beds and a fast track area. At Piedmont Mountainside, we take pride in providing outstanding care and our record of accomplishment speaks for itself. In the past few years, Piedmont Mountainside has consistently ranked in the top five Atlanta hospitals in patient experience as well as received top marks for our commitment to patient safety by Leapfrog 8 consecutive times. Additionally, Piedmont Mountainside Hospital is named one of the nation’s 100 top hospitals by IBM Watson Health. As a 2019 top 100 hospital winner, our leadership team, medical staff and employees – together as a team – have set national benchmarks for the highest balanced performance in the US. Other awards received are the Press Ganey Partner of Choice Award, Best Place to Practice Award, 2011 Small Hospital of the Year, AJC’s 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Top Workplace, the Women’s Choice Award for Best in Obstetrics and Best in Patient Safety, and Business of the Year by the Gilmer Co. Chamber.