Supporting Community Health Centers

June 13, 2011

GW receives $1.75 million gift to support advocacy for clinics providing care to underserved populations.

The Department of Health Policy at the School of Public Health and Health Services has received a $1.75 million gift from the RCHN Community Health Foundation to support the continuation of the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy.

The Geiger Gibson Program conducts advocacy work through education, training, research and scholarship on community health centers and the patients and populations they serve. Today, there are over 1,200 community health centers that serve more than 17 million people in 7,000 urban and rural medically underserved communities across the nation.

This is not the first gift GW has received from the RCHN Community Health Foundation, a nonprofit foundation whose mission is to support community health centers through strategic investment, outreach, education and health policy research. RCHN first gave the Geiger Gibson Program a $2 million gift in 2007. Since then, the Geiger Gibson Program/RCHN Research Collaborative has conducted extensive policy research addressing the role of health centers in reaching medically underserved populations, the achievements of health centers in improving the quality of patient care and the continued need for community-based care.

“The Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy has had a major impact on national policy, which will strengthen community health centers, enabling them to provide care to those most in need,” said Lynn Goldman, SPHHS dean. “We are able to continue this important work, thanks to the ongoing support and partnership with the RCHN Community Health Foundation.”

The policy research conducted by the Geiger Gibson Program served as evidence for the investment in community health centers as part of the Affordable Care Act and other national initiatives.

“This gift has added immeasurably to the Department of Health Policy’s growth, success and respect, and we are so deeply grateful for the foundation’s ongoing generosity,” said Sara Rosenbaum, Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy and chair of the health policy department.

Established in 2004, the Geiger Gibson Program was named in honor of Drs. H. Jack Geiger and Count Gibson, who founded the nation’s first community health centers over 40 years ago in Mound Bayou, Miss., and Boston.

This research collaborative between the Geiger Gibson Program and the RCHN Community Health Foundation also supports master’s and doctoral training and graduate student research assistantships in policy issues, a Distinguished Visitors Program that brings leading figures in the health center movement to the school community, the annual Geiger Gibson Symposium in Health Policy and Emerging Leader Awards to young professionals recognized for their contributions to health center clinical, administrative and policy advances and collaboration on Chronicles, a multimedia website that tells the story of health centers and the communities they serve.

“The Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative was established with the goal of creating an academic home for the study of community health centers,” said Julio Bellber, president and chief executive officer of the RCHN Community Health Foundation. “The collaborative’s work has been instrumental in the policy arena and has both complemented and helped drive the foundation’s programs in support of health centers. We look forward to continuing this important partnership with GW.”

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