Student-run clinic will re-open in January, offer primary care to uninsured patients in Lackawanna County
Scranton, PA – Thanks to a new partnership between Geisinger and The University of Scranton, the university’s Edward R. Leahy, Jr. Center Clinic for the Uninsured will reopen to the public in January 2024 with enhanced learning opportunities for area undergraduate and medical students.
An agreement signed today adopts a “student-run” model for the clinic that provides “high quality care in a welcoming, respectful, and compassionate environment” for the region’s uninsured patients. It also expands opportunities for practical experience in patient care, clinic management and other aspects of healthcare for students. The clinic’s teaching and learning opportunities began with reimagining the clinic itself, with students from the university and Geisinger involved in every aspect of planning.
“Since October 2022, as a senior at The University of Scranton and now as a first-year student in the M.D. program at Geisinger Commonwealth, I’ve had the unique opportunity to participate in the reimagining of the Leahy Clinic,” said Olivia A. Zehel, a member of the medical school’s Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program. “As a member of the last undergraduate class to experience the university ’s campus before the pandemic, I felt how passionate my classmates were about serving in such a capacity — and shared in their disappointment when the clinic was forced to close. Simultaneously, as a resident of the broader NEPA community, I recognized that access to quality care became even more of a privilege. I am thrilled that our work for the last 10 months — and the work both institutions will continue to do — will allow us to reinvent and reinforce medical learning and healing in our region.”
Medical student clinic planner Madison Gladfelter, MD Class of 2025, said, “During our first and second year of medical school, we spent a lot of time hitting the books and trying to understand each disease and its treatment. However, behind every disease there is a patient. A student-run clinic never lets medical students forget they are not treating the disease, but a patient.”
The Leahy Clinic, located in the lower level of McGurrin Hall with a Kressler Court entrance, will operate under a substantially different model of care compared to the original clinic, which ceased operation in 2020 because of the pandemic. The new clinic will provide longitudinal care, replacing the former acute care approach. The clinic will provide routine physical examinations, primary care, pre-work physical examinations, adult pre-education physical examinations, and sick visits.
Susan Russell, M.D., Geisinger family physician and assistant professor at Geisinger Commonwealth, will serve as medical director.
“We are delighted to sign today’s agreement and proud to partner with The University of Scranton,” said Julie Byerley, M.D., M.P.H., president, Geisinger College of Health Sciences and executive vice president and chief academic officer, Geisinger. “Among the things that make Geisinger College’s education a uniquely Geisinger experience is our emphasis on community accountability and the importance of interdisciplinary care teams. The Leahy Clinic incorporates both. It will serve the long-term needs of some of our most vulnerable neighbors, while also offering invaluable opportunities for residents and medical students to work with a variety of other learners to deliver quality primary care. This truly is making better health easy for our communities.”
“At Scranton, we not only want our students to be prepared well within their chosen disciplines, but also want them to be leaders that serve others. That is exactly the role our students — and the medical students — have played in moving this project forward,” said Rev. Joseph Marina, S.J., president of The University of Scranton. “The groundwork laid here will benefit, serve and inspire future physicians, nurses, other health care providers and students from other disciplines for generations to come. By addressing the health needs of the most vulnerable members of our community, our students are demonstrating the Jesuit ideal of being ‘men and women for and with others.’”
Demonstrating a commitment to inter-professional education, the Leahy Clinic will expand to include three new specialized clinics.
A Counseling Clinic, offering free mental health and rehabilitation counseling, will be conducted by graduate-level counseling students under the supervision of faculty in the University’s Counseling and Human Services Department.
A Low-Vision Clinic will provide free services to uninsured or underinsured residents of Lackawanna County and offer opportunities for teaching and learning to university faculty and occupational therapy students.
A Physical Therapy Clinic will provide screening, examinations/evaluations and interventions to uninsured and underinsured community members at no cost. The clinic will be run by a team of students from the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program and patients will be treated by DPT students supervised by faculty and local licensed physical therapists.
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 geisinger.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
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