San Diego Zoo Kids Channel Begins Broadcasting at University Hospital in San Antonio

January 23, 2017

Young patients, their families and invited guests were treated to a visit with some amazing animal ambassadors from the San Antonio Zoo earlier today (Jan. 24, 2017), at a gathering at University Hospital. This special event was held to announce the arrival of a closed-circuit television channel, San Diego Zoo Kids, at University Hospital, a facility that brings hope and healing to thousands of families in the San Antonio area.

San Diego Zoo Kids is an innovative broadcast channel with programs produced exclusively for medical facilities that serve pediatric patients and their families. The creation and development of the channel has been funded by businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. San Diego Zoo Kids’ programming offers family friendly, animal-oriented stories that are both entertaining and educational. A generous gift from National University, which has more than 150,000 alumni nationwide, including in Texas, has made the channel available on TV monitors in every patient room, as well as in waiting areas.

“We know that kids in the hospital feel better and heal faster when they turn their attention from the discomfort of their injury or illness, and focus instead on something that engages the mind and stimulates the imagination,” said Mark Webb, CEO of University Children’s Health, the pediatric treatment and innovation arm of University Health System. “That’s why we’re so excited to have been chosen to take part in this virtual adventure with the San Diego Zoo, in partnership with our own San Antonio Zoo.”

National University, a private, nonprofit university founded in 1971 to meet the needs of working adults with more than 100 programs such as cybersecurity, nursing and business, is also a provider of Pre K-12 student-focused programs – Sanford Harmony and Sanford Inspire – that are expanding in Texas.

“We are so excited about this partnership with San Diego Zoo Global and Mr. Sanford to provide San Diego Zoo Kids to the patients and their families at University Hospital in San Antonio,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, Chancellor of the National University System. “At National University, we are committed to serving our Texas community, and we are pleased to be a part of this wonderful program.”

National University was also pleased to announce that they will provide four full scholarships for San Antonio teachers to attend San Diego Zoo’s Teacher Workshops in Conservation Science Program this summer—a number that will be doubled by San Diego Zoo Global.

The San Diego Zoo Kids channel offers up-close video encounters with animals, stories about caring for animals, quizzes about animals and habitats, and a wide variety of short video vignettes hosted by San Diego Zoo Global ambassador Rick Schwartz. Viewers can see video from the San Diego Zoo’s famous Panda Cam and other online cameras, as well as content from other zoos across the country.

“The stories we tell on the San Diego Zoo Kids channel not only entertain children and their families during what can be a stressful time, but hopefully inspire a new generation to appreciate wildlife and their natural habitats,” said Douglas G. Myers, president and chief executive officer, San Diego Zoo Global. “We have heard from several doctors, nurses, and families that providing these animal stories has been a resource of calm and comfort for their young patients.”

The channel also features animal stories from the San Antonio Zoo and more than a dozen accredited zoos and aquariums in North America. “We are extremely excited to partner with the San Diego Zoo to share our passion for animal care, education and conservation with kids at the University Hospital in San Antonio,” said Tim Morrow, chief executive officer and executive director, San Antonio Zoo. “This is yet another example of how our zoos continue to inspire people, and more importantly our littlest fans, to love, engage, act and protect animals and the places they live.”

San Diego Zoo Kids debuted in 2013 at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Since then, it has been installed in 82 children's hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses in 27 states across the United States, and in facilities in Mexico, Canada and Australia.

About University Children’s Health

University Children’s Health is the pediatric treatment and innovation arm of University Health System, a nationally recognized teaching hospital and comprehensive network of outpatient healthcare centers owned by the people of Bexar County, and ranked best in the San Antonio region by U.S. News & World Report. University Health System is committed to delivering patient-centered, culturally competent and high-quality healthcare for adults and children built on a strong foundation of outcomes‐based research and innovative teaching. Learn more at UniversityChildrensHealth.com.

About National University

National University is a private, nonprofit university that was founded to serve the needs of working adults in 1971 through a unique one-class-per-month format available online and at campus locations.  With more than 150,000 alumni nationwide, the University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students. The University offers a range of programs including cybersecurity, business, nursing and criminal justice through its four schools and two colleges: the College of Letters and Sciences; the Sanford College of Education; the School of Business and Management; the School of Engineering and Computing; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies. The University is also leading the national expansion of three programs inspired by the vision of philanthropist T. Denny Sanford to address critical needs in the education and nonprofit sectors. Sanford Harmony and Sanford Inspire provide innovative resources for the PreK-12 education sector and the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy offers educational programs to help nonprofits become more effective at fundraising and donor relationships. To learn more about the Sanford programs, and the more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees offered at National University: www.nu.edu

About the San Antonio Zoo

The San Antonio Zoo® is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing outstanding animal care while consistently offering an exceptional recreation and education experience to more than one million guests annually. The zoo is open daily, and operating hours and admission prices vary. Accredited by both the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Zoological Association of America.

About San Diego Zoo Global
Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.