REACH-HEI The Regional Education Academy for Careers in Health – Higher Education Initiative (REACH-HEI) Geisinger Commonwealth created REACH-HEI to provide a seamless pathway from high school through community and four-year colleges to economically disadvantaged students in northeast Pennsylvania (NEPA) who are interested in careers in health or health-related professions. The program is designed to address disparities identified in the growing gap between physicians and healthcare professionals’ availability and community needs. REACH-HEI will expand the pool of qualified medical professionals in NEPA through multiple programs tailored to meet the needs of students and the strengths of NEPA partners. REACH-HEI Partners Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, in partnership with the following educational partners, offers an exciting series of pipeline programs for area high school and undergraduate students interested in careers in healthcare. School Districts throughout NEPA including: Abington Heights, East Stroudsburg Area, Hazleton Area, MidValley, North Pocono, Pocono Mountain, Riverside, Scranton School District, Valley View, Wallenpaupak Area, Wayne Highlands, Western Wayne, Wyoming Area Colleges and Universities throughout NEPA The Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) Programs Middle school and high school students Undergraduate students Pre-matriculating first-year medical students REACH-HEI is federally funded under the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Health Resources and Services Administration, Office of Health Careers Opportunity Programs. REACH-HEI Fact Sheet REACH-HEI is a comprehensive health career enrichment program offered by Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine to provide a seamless pathway to college and post graduate education for economically disadvantaged students in northeast Pennsylvania who are interested in medicine or health related professions. Geisinger Commonwealth works with secondary education and post-graduate institutions to create multiple programs tailored to the needs of the students in NEPA. The goal of REACH-HEI is to create a career pathway to healthcare professions by expanding the pool of qualified students while building diversity in the health fields. Through REACH-HEI, students from disadvantaged backgrounds attending high school through community and four-year colleges can receive the education and training needed to successfully enter and graduate from medical or other health profession schools. By developing an educational pipeline to enhance the academic performance of economically and educationally disadvantaged students, we will increase the pool of a diverse, well-trained healthcare workforce in NEPA that will meet the demands and challenges facing our health system today. REACH-HEI’s long-term impact is the creation of a qualified and diverse workforce of healthcare professionals who will stay in NEPA to serve others through careers in: Medicine Dentistry Physical or occupational therapy Psychology Speech language pathology Medical technology Health education Podiatric medical sonography Rehabilitation services Emergency Medical Service Respiratory therapy Mortuary science Optometry Through the REACH-HEI initiative, Geisinger Commonwealth partners with regional institutions and agencies to develop multiple programs tailored to the needs of students that will educate, train and mentor students from diverse backgrounds resulting in the development of a competitive applicant pool of individuals who desire to pursue healthcare professions. From summer enrichment programs to after-school programs and research internships, the REACH-HEI initiative reaches students to: Cultivate interest in healthcare careers Support and encourage the pursuit of health-related professions Strengthen skills in math and sciences Provide internship opportunities for entering Geisinger Commonwealth medical students to aid the transition to medical school for academic and personal success REACH-HEI is federally funded under the Department of health and Human Services, Division of Health Resources and Services Administration, Office of Health Careers Opportunity Programs REACH-HEI Student Education and Economic Disadvantage Guidelines Students who are educationally or economically disadvantaged and who express an interest in pursuing a health degree program are eligible for participation in REACH-HEI during their secondary, college, and prematriculating years. An individual is “educationally disadvantaged” if he or she comes from an environment that has inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to enroll in and graduate from a health professions school or allied health program. Individuals are ”economically disadvantaged” if they come from a family with an annual income at or below low income thresholds, according to family size, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau and modified by the Secretary for use in health and allied health professions training programs.