Milken Institute School of Public Health Receives $1 Million to Support Signature Community Health Center Research and Training Program

WASHINGTON, DC and NEW YORK, NY (May 9, 2017) – A new three-year gift from the RCHN Community Health Foundation (RCHN CHF), of more than $1 million, will support the Geiger Gibson Program at the Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at George Washington University. The latest gift represents a continuation of the Foundation’s multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment to the Program, a unique academic training and research initiative in the Department of Health Policy and Management.

The new gift brings the total awarded by RCHN CHF to the School to more than $5 million to build on and enhance the ongoing, multi-faceted program activities including:

  • Policy analysis on the effects on health centers and medically underserved communities of policy and health reforms at the national and state levels, and publication of that research;
  • A rich agenda of policy and translational research, measuring the impact of community and  primary care health interventions and helping to promote practical applications of high-value approaches;
  • Support for graduate student research assistantships in policy issues and research methods;
  • The Emerging Leaders and Capstone programs, which help train and recognize early career health center professionals working in medically underserved communities;
  • The Distinguished Visitor program, which invites health center and primary care association leaders to share their lifetime achievements in policy and practice  as guest lecturers, advisors and mentors, serving as an inspiration to students, School faculty and university colleagues; and 
  • The Geiger Gibson Symposium in Health Policy, convened as part of the National Association of Community Health Centers’ annual policy forum in Washington, D.C.

The RCHN Community Health Foundation support to date has produced more than four dozen policy research briefs and landmark reports under the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative banner, as well as an extensive body of peer-reviewed literature and special reports used by federal and state policymakers, news media, and community health centers. The research focus is developed annually in conjunction with the guidance of an advisory committee of nationally prominent academic, policy, and community health center leaders.

“Community health centers serve as our nation’s health care safety net, providing care to more than 25 million people in underserved rural and urban areas,” said Lynn Goldman, MD, MS, MPH, the Michael and Lori Milken Dean of the Milken Institute SPH at the George Washington University.  “This generous gift allows the School to continue its focus on developing timely and evidence-based research that strengthens health center policy and informs national debates on issues of vital concern to millions of families and communities, while providing an opportunity to offer the highest caliber academic training on safety-net issues to our students.”

Founded in 2004, the Geiger Gibson Program is named in honor of Dr. H. Jack Geiger and Dr. Count Gibson, leaders in health care and human rights.  The program has three central missions. The first is to advance scholarship related to medical underservice and disparities in population health and health care, with a special focus on the role of community health centers in serving the needs of vulnerable, medically underserved communities.   The second is to develop the next generation of leaders in health policy and policy related research, through educational and career development opportunities.  The third mission is to recognize and support the major contributions of the nation’s community health centers, which today serve tens of millions of patients in more than 9000 urban and rural locations.

The original gift in 2007 from RCHN Community Health Foundation was the largest single gift to the Milken Institute SPH at the time and supported the early establishment and growth of the Geiger Gibson program.  The Foundation’s gifts have generated a return of about 4 to 1 from other project awards, investments, and funders to support the program’s work. In 2016 alone, the collaborative produced or help support:

  • a study analyzing the economic impact, in terms of job losses at a state-specific level, of repeal of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA);
  • a report documenting how the ACA has increased health insurance coverage of patients served by migrant health centers;
  • an annual survey of community health center growth and a current snapshot of community health centers and their patients, in Medicaid expansion and non-expansion states; and,
  • an analysis that reviews Medicaid payment reform to health centers and offers an in-depth profile of payment reform approaches in five Medicaid expansion states.

“We are delighted to continue our collaboration with the Milken Institute SPH and extend our support for the signature work of the Geiger Gibson program, which is named after the two founding fathers of the nation’s community health centers, Dr. H. Jack Geiger and Dr. Count Gibson,” said President and CEO of the RCHN Community Health Foundation Feygele Jacobs, DrPH.  “Our investment recognizes the unique role of community health centers in America’s health care system and helps support training for the next generation of scholars and practitioners dedicated to ending health disparities.”

The RCHN Community Health Foundation is the only foundation in the U.S. dedicated solely to community health centers. The Foundation’s gift to the Geiger Gibson program supports health center research and scholarship.