The Wright Center Receives Over $1M in Federal Funding For Graduate Medical Education Training in Geriatric Medicine & Psychiatry

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has announced $1.05 million in Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program funding for The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. This award supports threepioneering geriatric fellowship positions for the 2020-2021 academic year, as well as four additional positions in The Wright Center’s flourishing psychiatry residency program, in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

“I congratulate The Wright Center on being awarded funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration to create additional training opportunities in the fields of geriatrics and psychiatry. Since its inception, The Wright Center has been committed to the community it serves. The Wright Center’s physicians in training will gain experiences that they will carry with them throughout their careers,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the ranking member on the Special Committee on Aging. “As our healthcare heroes work to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors are our most vulnerable population and mental health services are imperative. This additional funding provides a valuable asset to the community that will help The Wright Center serve our most vulnerable population and respond to well documented mental health needs.”

The unprecedented growth rate of Pennsylvania’s aging population, compounded by an undeniable, primary care physician shortage — including the number of doctors who specialize in the physical, mental and behavioral health challenges specific to seniors — presents a significant challenge to countless families in NEPA.

“We appreciate and applaud Senator Casey’s career long support and advocacy for the health and welfare of our nation and our communities, and also his steadfast support of HRSA’s Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program. We have so much collective work to do when it comes to improving health care delivery for older Americans. We are ready and so grateful for these federal resources to support our related educational workforce development efforts. Our organizational commitment to The Institute of Healthcare Improvement’s “Creating Age-Friendly Health Systems” initiative provides a very powerful curriculum framework to launch our newly-funded Geriatrics Fellowship program this summer,” explained Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, President of The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education and CEO of The Wright Center for Community Health.  

“Given our regional and national shortage of mental and behavioral health providers, the federal support for four additional psychiatry residents is similarly impactful. The Wright Center’s psychiatry residents provide much-needed mental, behavioral and addiction health services in community-based environments, including several regional acute hospital settings and the Wilkes Barre Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center. Increasing our Psychiatry residency training positions from 18 to 22 will expand access to comprehensive mental and behavioral health services for patients and families, inclusive of those in rural and underserved communities,” Dr. Thomas-Hemak added.

Appointments are now being scheduled for The Wright Center’s emerging geriatric service line ahead of its July 1st launch by calling 570-230-0019. The new program has already been recognized by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement as an Age-Friendly Health System Partner for providing a full spectrum of comprehensive, safety-net primary health and support services for seniors. Through individualized care plans developed by a team of providers, now enhanced by the addition of geriatric specialists, The Wright Center serves as a trusted primary health advisor for seniors and their families to support independent living. 

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