A $1 million grant that the American Medical Association gave to the Penn State College of Medicine last week for new doctor training programs will also involve six other Central Pennsylvania health care groups, according to the college.
The partners on the grant are:
- Highmark Inc.
- Lancaster General Hospital
- The Pennsylvania Department of Health
- The Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute
- Holy Spirit Hospital
- The Visiting Nurse Association of Central PA Inc.
The exact role of each partner in the training program is yet to be determined, said Robin Wittenstein, director and chief operating officer of the Penn State Hershey Health System, the entity that manages the Hershey Medical Center’s relationships with other health systems.
“The purpose of involving the partners is to bring different perspectives on what physicians will need to practice in the various health systems and how to change medical education for those roles,” she said.
Medical students in the program will be part of system-based care to better determine what they should be learning early on in their careers to better help patients navigate treatments and health care systems, she said.
Health systems and education are complex and complicated, Wittenstein said. There’s a national challenge to better linking and coordinating the various aspects of health care. Students will have the opportunity to work as “patient navigators,” helping patients with the best avenues through treatments and health systems, as well as support networks outside the hospitals, she said.
“Significant illness touches all aspects of a patient’s life,” Wittenstein said.
The medical students also will give feedback to the program’s advisory board, which will include representatives from the other partner organizations, she said.
Last week, the AMA announced that Penn State College of Medicine and the Hershey Health System had received the grant.