Geiger Gibson Program

Established in 2004, the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy is named in honor of Drs. H. Jack Geiger and Count Gibson, pioneers in community health practice and tireless advocates for civil and human rights. Nearly 40 years ago, Geiger and Gibson founded the nation's first community health centers in Mound Bayou, Mississippi and Boston, Massachusetts; today, over 1200 health centers serve more than 17 million persons in 7000 urban and rural medically underserved communities across the nation.

Through education and training and research and scholarship into community health centers and the patients and populations they serve, the Geiger Gibson Program shares the core mission of the community health centers program: to eliminate medical underservice and disparities in population health and health care and improve health and health care for all persons. The Program was founded with generous gifts from the National Association of Community Health Centers and health centers and primary care associations around the nation. Today the program is supported through many sources: continuing gifts from health centers and state and regional primary care associations representing health centers throughout the nation, government research funding; grants from leading foundations such as the Henry J, Kaiser Family Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund, and the United Health Foundation; and a major ongoing gift from the RCHN Community Health Foundation, which supports the work of the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative.

Geiger Gibson Capstone Program in Health Policy and Leadership

This Capstone Fellowship Program is offered in partnership with the National Association of Community Health Center's Leadership Development Institutes. The 3-day Washington DC- based program, preceded by 4 interactive webinars, is designed to meet the professional needs of mid-level and senior staff pursuing executive leadership careers in community health centers and Primary Care Associations.  The capstone is offered in the Spring and Fall of each year.

View Capstone Information and Apply

Distinguished -- Visitor Program

The Geiger Gibson Distinguished Visitor program provides an opportunity for leaders in the community health field to come to GWU's Department of Health Policy to work with the our students and faculty. Visitors may serve as guest lecturers, student advisors, and mentors. In addition, Visitors assist with the development of the Geiger Gibson Program, work on the History Project, and engage in scholarship in their areas of expertise.


Tess Stack Kuenning has served as the executive director of Bi-State Primary Care Association (Bi-State) since 1995. Ms. Kuenning is responsible for the overall operation, management, and supervision of Bi-State, including public policy and program development, member services, community relations, and fiscal policy. As an agent of Bi-State, she advocates for members, and the communities they serve, with federal, state and local policymakers to assure members have the financial and technical resources they require to improve access to primary care for the underserved in New Hampshire and Vermont. She acts as the principal liaison with governmental entities and directs Bi-State's leadership role in national and statewide activities.

Prior to joining Bi-State, Ms. Kuenning worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Boston, MA, at the U.S. Public Health Service. Ms. Kuenning was the Principal Public Health Advisor throughout New England for public health program, planning and development, technical assistance, grants monitoring, program evaluation and management for federally funded programs. This included State Cooperative Agreements, Regional and State Primary Care Associations, Migrant and Community Health Centers, Health Care for the Homeless, and HIV early intervention programs.

Ms. Kuenning also worked as a nurse consultant for the Health Care Finance Administration where she served as a specialist in the review, analysis, and evaluation of state agency performance and effectiveness, including in-depth federal reviews of providers and suppliers participating in the delivery of health care under Medicare and Medicaid. Ms. Kuenning has worked in tertiary care and ICU in hospital and trauma settings, and as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Maternal and Child Health in Kathmandu, Nepal.

View Tess Kuenning's presentation

Previous Visitors:

2012: Rachel Gonzales-Hanson

2011: Neil Calman, MD

2010: Merle Cunningham, MD, MPH

2009: Velma Hendershott, MPA

2008: Ann Hathaway Peters, MD

2007: Patricia A. Gabow, MD

2006: Anne Kauffman Nolon, MPH

2005: David Reynolds, DrPH

2004: James Hunt

Geiger Gibson Visitors Series

James Hunt. "Community Health Centers' Impact on the Political and Economic Environment: The Massachusetts Example." J. Amb. Care Mang. 28 (2005): 340-347.

Emerging Leader Award

Geiger Gibson Program Recognizes Eight Emerging Leaders at Annual Symposium

Each year, the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy of the Milken Institute School of Public Health (SPHHS) honors young Emerging Leaders in community health. Emerging Leaders are nominated by community health centers and primary care associations nationally and are selected by a committee drawn from the senior health center leadership. Award recipients are announced at the annual winter meeting of the National Association of Community Health Centers during the Geiger Gibson Symposium.

"Our Emerging Leaders reflect the enormous range of talented young people who have made a career in the health center family and personify the enduring strength of health centers," said Sara Rosenbaum, JD, the Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy and founder of the Geiger Gibson Program at SPHHS.

Julio Bellber, President and CEO of the RCHN Community Health Foundation, whose ongoing gift supports the activities of the Geiger Gibson Program, added, "the Emerging Leaders selected each year represent the future of health centers. The policy and program advocates, clinicians, health educators, and clinic administrators recognized each year truly will become the next generation of senior leaders."


2013 Emerging Leader Award Recipients

Chronicles Health Center History Project

The RCHN Community Health Foundation, in collaboration with the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, has launched Chronicles, an ambitious project to document the vibrant, varied, and important history of every community health center in the country, as well as the community health center movement. Chronicles aims to create an interactive, online chronicle that will permit every health center that desires to do so to tell its own story, through the voices of its staff, patients, board members, and community. Starting in the 1960s with two health centers in Mound Bayou, Mississippi and Boston, Massachusetts, the community health center program has evolved into more than 1,200 federally funded centers serving more than 20 million people at 8, 000 delivery sites in the nation's poorest urban and rural communities. As the largest primary health care system for low income and medically underserved persons, CHCs today play a crucial role in the health care delivery system, providing a strong network of accessible, high quality services.

Every health center story is unique, reflecting the needs and aspirations of the community it serves. Building on the individuals stories of each center, Chronicles will create, through a single, powerful online portal, a "virtual quilt" that tells the story of the founding, development and growth of the community health center movement -- one health center at a time -- from its early days to the present.

The site features written and oral histories, historic documents, photographs and other media, and showcases the living history of the health center movement. Chronicles is a virtual experience intended to educate, engage, interest and inspire students, researchers, policymakers and health centers alike.

Chronicles launched in July 2011, with contributed materials from a small group of health centers and other organizations. Over time, we will be working with every health center in the country to customize a profile tell their story. View the site at

For more information and to participate please contact:

RCHN Community Health Foundation
Chronicles Project Coordinator
212-246 1122 ext 700

About the RCHN Community Health Foundation

The RCHN Community Health Foundation (RCHN CHF) is a New York-based not-for-profit operating foundation dedicated to supporting and benefiting community health centers (CHCs) in New York state and nationally. The Foundation develops and supports programmatic and business initiatives related to community health center access, pharmacy and health information technology through strategic investment, research, outreach, education, and coalition building.

About the Geiger Gibson Program

The Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy is a special initiative of The Milken Institute School of Public Health. This program was established in 2004 to honor Drs. H. Jack Geiger and Count Gibson, pioneers in community health practice and tireless advocates for civil and human rights. Through education, research, and training in community practice and leadership, the program aims to develop the next generation of community health leaders and support the study of community health centers.


Founding Donors

The Geiger Gibson Program would like to thank our founding donors:



The Geiger Gibson Program is home to the following activities:

  • Masters and doctoral-level coursework, training, and graduate student research assistantships in policy issues and research methods related to the measurement and remediation of medical underservice and health disparities and the advancement of equal justice in health and health care
  • A rich research agenda and an ongoing policy brief series from the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative on critical health policy issues affecting health centers and medically underserved populations and civil rights policy and practices;
  • A Distinguished Visitorship program for leading figures in the health center movement
  • Advanced policy training for health center and PCA staff in collaboration with the National Association of Community Health Centers and state and regional primary care associations
  • The annual Geiger Gibson Symposium in Health Policy
  • In collaboration with GW's Department of Health Services Management and Leadership, the establishment of the first masters in health services administration degree for health center management
  • In collaboration with the RCHN Community Health Foundation, development of the CHroniCles Project, a special interactive website that tells the story of health centers and the communities they serve.
  • Faculty

  • Peter Shin, PhD, MPH
        Associate Professor and GG/RCHN Director
  • Sara Rosenbaum, JD
       Chair, Department of Health Policy,
       Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy, and
       Professor of Health Services Management and Leadership and of Health Care Sciences
  • Leighton Ku, PhD, MPH
       Professor and Director of the GW Center for Health Policy Research
  • David Stevens, MD
       Research Professor of Health Policy
  • Merle Cunningham, MD, MPH
       Professorial Lecturer, Director Geiger Gibson Capstone Program


  • Jessica Sharac, MSc, MPH
  • Johanna Inglis


Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy
GG/RCHN CHF Research Collaborative
2021 K St., NW, Suite 800
Department of Health Policy
Milken Institute School of Public Health
The George Washington University
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: (202) 994-4144
Fax: (202) 994-4040

Director: Peter Shin, PhD, MPH