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Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine

Behavioral Health Initiative (BHI)

This website is for informational purposes concerning the Behavioral Health Initiative. If you are looking for referrals or additional information about behavioral health services, call 211. If this is an emergency, call 911 immediately. 

In early 2013, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine convened a working group on mental health services in northeastern Pennsylvania to address the region’s mental health disparities. Various community stakeholders, persons with the lived experience of mental illness and those in recovery from substance use disorders, behavioral health providers, payer organizations and county leaders were and continue to be actively engaged.

An initiative was undertaken by the school in its initial 17-county region where behavioral health resources are inadequate. In the findings of a gap analysis conducted by Open Minds, seven of the 17 counties demonstrate that the current shortage of psychiatrists (126 needed vs. 89 available), assuming there is no growth, could not be resolved for approximately nine years. Geisinger Commonwealth is proposing that the problem cannot be addressed solely by psychiatrists but also through an approach that encompasses telemental health and certificate programs.

The Behavioral Health Initiative (BHI) was created to:

  • Develop a psychiatric residency program in collaboration with The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education
  • Integrate behavioral health and physical health
  • Implement a curriculum leading to a certificate in behavioral health to train regional healthcare providers in behavioral health issues

Funding for the BHI has been provided by The Luzerne Foundation, Moses Taylor Foundation, AllOne Foundation, First Federal Foundation, Margaret Briggs Foundation, McGowan Charitable Fund and the Katie Foundation. We are grateful for their operational and program support.

Mission and goals

Geisinger Commonwealth and community partners will collaborate on solutions for the behavioral health needs of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania through services, educational programs and transdisciplinary research designed to improve the capacity and quality of clinical competencies of our healthcare workforce and enhance the well-being of the communities we serve.

  • Raise community awareness of behavioral health issues
  • Increase community access to behavioral health services
  • Reduce the disparity of care in behavioral health services
  • Champion the integration of behavioral and physical healthcare
  • Increase capacity of health care services
  • Strengthen the healthcare workforce

Projects

On November 15, 2017, the Let's Stop Suicide campaign launched during a special press conference at Courthouse Square in Scranton, Pa. Geisinger Commonwealth's Behavioral Health Initiative, the Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office and the Northeast Suicide Prevention Initiative aligned with Lavelle Strategy Group to create the Let’s Stop Suicide campaign to increase awareness of suicides in Lackawanna County and beyond, and to reduce the stigma associated with suicide.

Contact us

Terri Lacey
Director, Behavioral Health Initiative 
570-955-1332
tlacey@som.geisinger.edu 

Keith Loughney
Administrative Assistant, Behavioral Health Initiative
570- 558-4265
kloughney@som.geisinger.edu 

General inquires
bhi@som.geisinger.edu