Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy

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. Over 50 years ago, Geiger and Gibson founded the nation's first community health centers in Mound Bayou, Mississippi and Boston, Massachusetts; by 2018, more than 1,400 health centers, operating in over 11,000 locations, served over 27 million residents of urban and rural medically underserved communities across the nation.

Located within the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, and part of its Department of Health Policy and Management, 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; research grants from both government and leading  foundations such as the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and  the Commonwealth Fund;  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.

Distinguished Visitor Program

The Geiger Gibson Distinguished Visitor program provides an opportunity for health center and primary care association leaders to visit the Department of Health Policy and Management and to share their work with students, faculty, and staff. Visitors may serve as guest lecturers, student advisors, and mentors. The Distinguished Visitors program typically takes place in the fall semester, and Visitors serve as ongoing advisors to the program.

Our 2018 Distinguished Visitor is Greg Nycz of Family Health Center of Marshfield, Inc. (Wisconsin)

Past visitors include the following:

2017 - Ms. Anita Monoian, Yakima Neighborhood Health Services (Washington State)

2016 – Ms. Paloma Izquierdo-Hernandez, Urban Health Plan, Inc. (New York)

2015 – Mr. E. Benjamin Money, Jr., North Carolina Community Health Center Association (North Carolina)

2014 – Mr. Dan Driscoll, Harbor Health (Massachusetts)

2013 – Ms. Tess Stack Kuenning, Bi-State Primary Care Association (Vermont and New Hampshire)

2012 – Ms. Rachel Gonzales-Hanson, Community Health Development, Inc. (Texas)

2011 – Dr. Neil Calman, Urban Health Institute (New York)

2010 – Dr. Merle Cunningham, formerly of Sunset Park Neighborhood Health Center (Center)

2009 – Ms. Velma Hendershott, InterCare Community Health Network (Michigan)

2008 – Ms. Ann Hathaway Peters, formerly of Lamprey Health Care (New Hampshire)

2007 – Dr. Patricia Gabow, formerly of Denver Health (Colorado)

2006 – Ms. Anne Kauffman Nolon, Peekskill Community Health Center (New York)

2005 – Dr. David Reynolds, formerly of Northern Counties Health Center (Vermont)

2004 – Dr. James Hunt, Mass League of Community Health Centers (Massachusetts)

Emerging Leader Award

Each year, the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy 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 presented with their awards at the annual Policy & Issues Forum of the National Association of Community Health Centers at the final General Session.

"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 the Milken SPH.

Feygele Jacobs, 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."

Questions? Email Rachel Gunsalus, Assistant Director, at

The nomination period for the 2019 Emerging Leader Awards has closed. 

Nominations for next year's awards will be accepted in Fall 2019. Check back at this website for additional information about how to nominate your staff member.

Eligibility Requirements and Award Selection Criteria

Eligibility Requirements:

To be eligible for the Emerging Leader award, the nominee must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Is currently working at a health center or PCA;
  • Has worked at the health center or PCA for at least one year;
  • Is not older than 35; and
  • Is not the Executive Director/President of the organization

Award Criteria:

The Emerging Leader award is designed to highlight and share the accomplishments of exceptional young members of the health center, PCA and HCCN community. We are looking for a leader who has undertaken or guided a specific task (or multiple tasks) that has helped the health center, PCA, or HCCN further the mission of providing high-quality, culturally competent health services to underserved populations in your service area. We will consider a wide range of accomplishments - for example, developing new program initiatives, helping the health center, PCA or HCCN run more efficiently, increasing outreach to new patients, etc. In looking at applicants, our selections committee often places particular emphasis on the following criteria:

  • The nominee’s accomplishments represent not just fulfilling their duties, but using their job as a springboard to go beyond what is expected;
  • The nominee’s efforts are useful to and transferable to other health centers and help advance the overall status of health centers within the health care system;
  • The nominee recognizes and demonstrates the “community” aspect of “community health center” through engagement and collaboration with other organizations and community members;
  • The nominee has displayed a sense of personal motivation by advancing within their organization in a short time and/or pursuing educational opportunities in a related field. 

Contact: Please contact Rachel Gunsalus, Research Assistant, at or 202-994-4048 with any questions.


The Geiger Gibson Program would like to thank our donors:


Health Policy Fellows Program

Geiger Gibson Health Policy Fellows Program

The Health Policy Fellows Program (previousy the Geiger Gibson Capstone 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 online webinar content, is designed to meet the professional needs of mid-level and senior staff pursuing executive leadership careers in community health centers, primary care associations, and health center controlled networks.  The Fellowship is offered in the Spring and Fall of each year.

View Health Policy Fellows Program Information and Apply



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, as well as  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 health center and primary care association leaders; 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 part of the National Association of  Community Health Centers’ annual winter policy meeting; and
  • The Emerging Leaders program, which honors young leaders from across the country, nominated by health centers and primary care associations each year, and recognized at the National Association of Community Health Center’s annual winter policy meeting.


  • Peter Shin, PhD, MPH
    Associate Professor and GG/RCHN Director
  • Sara Rosenbaum, JD
    Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy
  • Leighton Ku, PhD, MPH
    Professor and Director of the GW Center for Health Policy Research



Rachel Gunsalus, MPH

Assistant Director, Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy
Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University

2175 K Street NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20037
Phone: (202) 994-4048