Geisinger receives federal grant to partner with The Wright Center for Addiction Medicine fellowship training

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded $2,759,235 to Geisinger to expand its Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program through a collaboration with The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education.

The federal grant money will be used to increase and strengthen treatment for substance use disorders in Central and Northeast Pennsylvania. Addiction Medicine fellows will train at 16 sites in areas with demonstrated need across Central and Northeast Pennsylvania, including six counties with drug overdose rates higher than the national average of 21.7 per 100,000 population. These include Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe and Montour counties.

“We are grateful for the funding, which will help us to recruit and train physicians to meet the needs of their patients with substance use disorders wherever those patients present,” said Margaret Jarvis, M.D., Chief of Addiction Medicine at Geisinger. “The grant specifically targets community-based settings and telehealth, two areas more likely to be accessed by rural and underserved populations, while addressing all three priorities HRSA cited as vital, including combating the opioid crisis, transforming the workforce and expanding telehealth services.”

“Our local community is in the throes of an opioid epidemic. The Wright Center is dedicated to building a compassionate, highly qualified workforce that understands how to help vulnerable patients most at-risk of suffering from addiction, including pregnant women, the elderly, veterans and those linked to the criminal justice system. We are grateful for the learning opportunities that will come from our strategic partnership with Geisinger,” said Jumee Barooah, M.D., Designated Institutional Official for The Wright Center.

The proposed project will:

  • Increase the number of board-certified addiction medicine physicians produced by the Geisinger Addiction Medicine Fellowship program each year.
  • Expand training opportunities in The Wright Center’s community-based clinical learning environments, including its Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence (OUD-COE), its Ryan White HIV/AIDS Clinic and its network of primary care practices that offer comprehensive, safety-net services inclusive of medical, dental, addiction/recovery and behavioral health. GHS addiction medicine fellows will learn with and from The Wright Center’s skilled physician-faculty, including Addiction Medicine board-certified providers; staff trained in OUD-COE best practices; and residents and fellows studying Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Gastroenterology, Infectious Disease, Dental and Behavioral Health. Fellows will care for patients served by The Wright Center’s OUD-COE and its related recovery support programs, including the Healthy MOMS (Maternal Opiate Medical Support) initiative; contribute to the community’s understanding of best practices in Addiction Medicine for underserved patient populations and their families; and lead Addiction Medicine-focused quality-improvement studies to identify real-time clinical solutions to substance use disorder workflow challenges.
  • Reach new patient populations through geographic expansion, increased use of telehealth and service delivery on rotations including obstetrics/gynecology.

The current program trains two fellows per year, with most training occurring in the Northeast.  Through this expansion, Geisinger will train 21 additional physicians (for 31 total) over the course of the grant period to deliver evidence-based care to patients with OUD and other substance use disorders.

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