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Behavioral Health Initiative (BHI)

Reducing stigma, building resilience, integrating care


This website is for informational purposes concerning the Behavioral Health Initiative. If you are looking for referrals or 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 a 17-county region of northeastern Pennsylvania to address the region’s mental health disparities. Various community stakeholders, including people with lived experience of mental illness and those in recovery from substance use disorders, as well as behavioral health providers, payer organizations and county leaders, responded to the call and continue to be actively engaged.

In the findings of a gap analysis, seven of the 17 counties had a current shortage of psychiatrists (126 needed vs. 89 available) that could not be resolved for almost a decade. Geisinger Commonwealth proposed a holistic approach that included not only adding psychiatrist but also exploring telemental health and certificate programs.

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 College of Health Sciences, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine and community partners are collaborating 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.

Together we will:

  • 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

Contact us

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Leighton Y. Huey, MD
Associate Dean for Behavioral Health Integration and Community Care Transformation
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