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On June 27, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it will award more than $3.4 million in federal grants to Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (Geisinger Commonwealth) through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Center of Excellence award program. In fiscal year 2017, $684,768 will be distributed to the school with similar amounts to follow each year for the next four years. Geisinger Commonwealth is the now the only HRSA funded Center of Excellence in Pennsylvania. The ultimate goal of the Centers of Excellence (COE) award program is to strengthen the national capacity to produce a quality healthcare workforce whose racial and ethnic diversity is representative of the U.S. population. COE award recipients serve as innovative resource and education centers to recruit, train and retain underrepresented minority students and faculty.

Ida Castro, JD, vice president for community engagement and chief diversity officer at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine said, “We are pleased to be selected by HRSA after a highly competitive grant application process to establish a Center of Excellence for Diversity at Geisinger Commonwealth. As a COE, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine will use this grant to improve the health and wellbeing of all citizens of Northeastern Pennsylvania. We will continue our important work of building a pipeline to address regional physician workforce needs. Through successful existing initiatives, like our Regional Education Academy for Careers in Health – Higher Education Initiative (REACH-HEI) for middle school, high school, and college students, we will target underrepresented minority students to increase the competitive applicant pool for health professions. We also anticipate new programs that focus on faculty, such as a Health Equity Group, which will be charged with identifying the needs of underrepresented minority faculty and to offer support for faculty development. Finally, the grant will aid the school of medicine with its efforts to improve the health system’s capacity to meet the needs of people of all races and ethnicities by promoting research into genomics and precision medicine, health disparities and minority health issues.”

Steven J. Scheinman, MD, president and dean of Geisinger Commonwealth said, “The grant process was extremely competitive, so receiving the Center of Excellence award speaks volumes about the caliber of the work Ida Castro and her team have done to build a healthcare workforce pipeline, especially for under-represented minority and first-generation-to-college students. This grant will enable expansion of this important work that will be of benefit to all of your neighbors and communities.”

“This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number D34HP31025, “Centers of Excellence” for $3,414,950.  This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.”


About Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (Geisinger Commonwealth) is a member of the Geisinger family. Geisinger Commonwealth offers a community-based model of medical education with campuses in Danville, Doylestown, Scranton, Sayre and Wilkes-Barre. Geisinger Commonwealth offers Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Master of Biomedical Sciences (MBS) degrees. The school’s innovative curriculum, focused on caring for people in the context of their lives and their community, attracts the next generation of physicians and scientists from within its region in northeastern and central Pennsylvania, as well as from across the state and the nation. The school also has over 440 graduate medical students in 24 residency programs and 19 accredited fellowships. Geisinger Commonwealth is committed to non-discrimination in all employment and educational opportunities. For more information, visit, or connect with us on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter.

About Geisinger
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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