Geisinger receives federal grant to expand residency training to serve rural and underserved populations

Susan Ecenbarger
Wednesday, July 8, 2020

DANVILLE – The Geisinger Lewistown Family Medicine Residency received federal grant funding that will help build pipeline programs, as well as recruitment and retention strategies, to better meet the needs of rural and underserved populations.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded Geisinger a $2,487,103 Primary Care Training Enhancement (PCTE) grant for expansion of the Geisinger Lewistown Family Medicine Residency program over the next five years.

“We are thrilled to have received the full award for our submission, Enhancing and Expanding a Rural Family Medicine Residency in Central Pennsylvania,” said Michelle Thompson, MD, Geisinger’s associate chief academic officer for graduate medical education (GME) and associate dean for GME and designated institutional official (DIO). She noted that the funding will help enhance partnerships among Family Practice Centers, Primary Health Network and Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) that together support the Geisinger Lewistown Family Medicine Residency program.

The executive grant team that created the proposal includes Dr. Thompson, as well as Janet Townsend, MD, senior associate dean for Faculty Affairs, GCSOM and Mandy Maneval, MD, PhD, program director, Geisinger Lewistown Family Medicine Residency program.

Dr. Thompson said grant funding will facilitate programming to:

  • Enhance recruitment and retention of family medicine physicians
  • Increase preparedness of residents to practice in rural/underserved areas
  • Support development of pipeline programs for medical students to pursue rural training with a goal of enhanced retention for employment
  • Stimulate needed curricular emphasis on telehealth, management of behavioral and mental health issues, substance abuse disorders, community and population health, and healthcare leadership.

The Geisinger Lewistown Family Medicine Residency program, based out of Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital, is a collaboration between Geisinger’s Academic Affairs, GCSOM, Family Practice Centers and Primary Health Network.