Community Health Research Projects (CHRPs)


The Community Health Research Project (CHRP) experience provides students with an opportunity to apply the concepts, strategies, and tools acquired through the course of their studies to health research and to contribute to improved health in the region by conducting projects with community partners. The objectives of the CHRP experience for MD students within the Department of Clinical Sciences (DCS) are as follows:

  • Expand students’ knowledge of basic public health and health services practices.
  • Increase students’ awareness of the complexity of public health problems and concerns.
  • Provide students with an opportunity to apply public health training learned in their courses.
  • Increase students’ appreciation of cultural differences in diverse populations served by public health and health services professionals in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
  • Facilitate increased understanding of the relationships among community health organizations, other health service organizations, and other governmental entities.
  • Afford opportunities to provide valuable service(s) to the host site organization by participating in a meaningful public health research project.


The Community Health Research Project (CHRP) student teams typically consist of about 8-10 students per team, and are assisted by a Geisinger Commonwealth CHRP Coordinator, Community Health Research Mentor (CHRM), and a  Geisinger Commonwealth Project Advisor to help plan and conduct each CHRP experience. Below is a brief summary of general expectations for each team participant or team member role.


All CHRP arrangements with the Community Health Research Mentors are ultimately the responsibility of the student in collaboration with their colleagues on the Community Health Research Project. The student is primarily responsible for sending out inquiries, setting up meetings, ensuring communication among those involved, and making preliminary arrangements. The student is encouraged to seek information and advice from their CHRM, CHRP Project Advisor, CHRP Coordinator, other faculty members, or fellow students. The student CHRP team is responsible for travel and correspondence arrangements prior to and during the CHRP experience.

CHRP Coordinator

The CHRP Coordinator functions as the point of contact during the project and a resource for assisting the student in identifying project locations and developing an appropriate work plan. The CHRP Coordinator maintains the records associated with each student group project and monitors the progress of all students during their project experiences, which includes sending reminders to students regarding deadlines and following up with CHRMs. Following each student’s project, the CHRP Coordinator will be responsible for gathering the final evaluations from the Community Mentor, providing a copy to the Geisinger Commonwealth Project Advisor to use during the assessment of the student’s final grade, gathering documentation of the requisite student presentations, and helps with any remaining logistical/troubleshooting issues relating to the CHRP projects.

Community Health Research Mentor (CHRM)

The host site Community Health Research Mentor (CHRM) is the point of contact for the student within their CHRP location. The Community Mentor functions as the immediate supervisor of the student during their community experience through each one week long experience (MD program) and throughout both semesters (MD & MBS programs). This is the person with the professional skills and knowledge to direct the on-site experience of the student. The CHRM (or another host site representative) will work with the student groups and his/her Geisinger Commonwealth Project Advisor to develop the Work Plan and project goals. Throughout the course of the project, CHRMs are expected to have at least one contact per month with the student group in order to ensure project goals are being met. The Community Mentor, along with the Geisinger Commonwealth Project Advisor, will assist in evaluating each student’s performance at the conclusion of each CHRP experience.

Geisinger Commonwealth Project Advisors

The Geisinger Commonwealth Project Advisor will be a resource for students as they prepare for the CHRP experience. The Geisinger Commonwealth Project Advisor will know the professional needs of the student, as well as their interests and abilities. It is with the Geisinger Commonwealth Project Advisor that the student group should conduct conversation(s) about the technicalities of the project they pursue. The Geisinger Commonwealth Project Advisor is responsible for assisting the student group in developing a plan for their project and must approve a finalized work plan prior to students conducting their community experience research and data collection.