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DHHS grants ChristianaCare $2.4M for health care workforce improvements

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Delaware Academy of Medicine check presentation

Dr. Omar A. Khan, president & CEO of the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance; Dr. Neil Jasani, ChristianaCare’s chief people officer; Dr. Tabassum Salam, ChristianaCare’s chief learning officer; Pam Gardner, program manager of Delaware Health Sciences Alliance; Timothy Gibbs, executive director of the Delaware Academy of Medicine; Dr. Brian J. Levine, ChristianaCare’s associate chief academic officer and designated institutional official, pose with the grant. | PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRISTIANACARE

WILMINGTON — ChristianaCare has been awarded a $2.4 million grant to expand Delaware’s health care workforce and ultimately improve access to care throughout the First State.

Awarded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and administered through the Delaware Academy of Medicine/Delaware Public Health Association (Academy/DPHA), the grant will help ChristianaCare’s Institute for Learning, Leadership and Development (iLEAD) expand and enhance medical education in Delaware and grow and strengthen the state’s multidisciplinary health care workforce.

As an academic health system with more than 300 residents and fellows, and as the Delaware Branch Campus for Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, ChristianaCare already has a robust education infrastructure that supports Delaware’s health care workforce and helps to attract and retain talented health care professionals from across the country.

This new funding will help to expand those efforts, including in Kent and Sussex counties, and in underserved areas in the city of Wilmington, where there is a need for more primary care and behavioral health providers, medical assistants and other important health care roles.

“To provide care that is truly of the highest quality, we need doctors in Delaware who have the confidence and specialized training to see patients with a wide variety of issues,” Dr. Tabassum Salam, chief learning officer at ChristianaCare, said in a statement. “In addition to doctors, we need more advanced practice clinicians, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Just as important, we want to foster the development of all members of health care teams, including medical assistants and aides.”

Initially, the grant will fund new training slots for psychiatrists, psychologists and advanced practice clinicians who specialize in primary care. The money also will expand training for medical assistants in order to increase the number of those professionals statewide.

“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted shortages and vulnerabilities,” said Tim Gibbs, executive director of the Academy/DPHA. “Fortunately, we now have the opportunity to leverage these funds to address opportunities and build sustainable programs to eliminate those problems. ChristianaCare is uniquely positioned and qualified to undertake this work as we consider the rapid expansion of existing programs, the existing teaching workforce to support growth, and, after every dollar of our grant is invested, the financial capacity to sustain programming long into the future. In addition, the willingness of ChristianaCare to collaborate with partner institutions in Kent and Sussex counties on behalf of the wellbeing of every Delawarean is a value we hold high.”

The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also known as the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, that President Joe Biden signed into law to speed up the nation’s recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This award directly addresses health care access as a social determinant of health, connecting people to care, building trust within communities and facilitating communication between patients and health care providers.

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