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School will gain access to national polling data

SCRANTON – Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine is one of just five teams from across the U.S. chosen to access public opinion polling from the Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) Center for Health Justice to conduct health equity research.

The Geisinger team will use the data to study how social factors that affect patients in our region impact their level of trust in healthcare providers.

Trust is considered crucial to effective patient-provider relationships. But research shows that things like access to healthcare, education level, economic status and disabilities can affect patients’ willingness to trust providers.

“We are honored to be selected,” said Amanda Caleb, PhD, MPH, professor of medical humanities and principal investigator for the Geisinger Commonwealth team. “We are going to home in on our region and try to identify who trusts doctors the most or the least depending upon social markers.”

The research will help the school train doctors who are better equipped to treat people who may have felt marginalized — such as rural patients who lack access to transportation.

“There are even questions that separate trust — as in, I trust the doctor, but do I trust hospitals? Do I trust pharmacies?” Dr. Caleb noted. “This will inform our practice, how we teach students and how we develop a better sense of trust for communities that may have felt marginalized.”

The five studies selected will produce “innovative, actionable, relevant research,” according to the AAMC.

Dr. Caleb’ team includes:
·      Kate Lafferty-Danner, PhD
·      Mushfiqur Tarafder, PhD, MPH, MBBS
·      Valencia Walker, MD, FAAP
·      Ryan Weber, PhD

They will have two years to conduct research and present their findings.


About Geisinger
Geisinger is among the nation’s leading providers of value-based care, serving 1.2 million people in urban and rural communities across Pennsylvania. Founded in 1915 by philanthropist Abigail Geisinger, the nonprofit system generates $10 billion in annual revenues across 126 care sites — including 10 hospital campuses — and Geisinger Health Plan, with more than half a million members in commercial and government plans. Geisinger College of Health Sciences educates more than 5,000 medical professionals annually and conducts more than 1,400 clinical research studies. With 26,000 employees, including 1,700 employed physicians, Geisinger is among Pennsylvania’s largest employers with an estimated economic impact of $15 billion to the state’s economy. On March 31, 2024, Geisinger became the first member of Risant Health, a new nonprofit charitable organization created to expand and accelerate value-based care across the country. Learn more at or follow on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.


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