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New residency program aims to address psychiatrist shortage

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - Doctors help patients solve problems every day. And this group of psychiatrists could be the solution to critical problems in northeastern Pennsylvania. They are part of a brand new psychiatry residency training program at the Wright Center, a nonprofit organization that provides graduate medical education.

"Most psychiatry programs are based in large institutions, generally they involve training in tertiary institutions," said program director

But according to the director, Dr. Sanjay Chandragiri, this program gives these residents more direct, hands on experience through community-based training. An opportunity that he says is rare. This program is a joint effort with the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Members of the "Behavioral Health Initiative" at the college discovered there was a shortage of psychiatrists in the area. The director of the program says the need for the services has grown as the area's opioid epidemic has grown.

"The community psychiatrists stepped up and they led the application," said Terri Lacey, the director of the Behavioral Health Initiative at the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

Doctors say this accredited psychiatry residency program is the only one in this area.

"A lot of the patients we see are either addicted to opioids or are in remission.

So, it's great to get the training with the patients so we know how to treat them for the future," said Dr. Alex Slaby, a resident.

"I've only been here a month and a half and I can tell it's going to be a huge part of our training, which is good," said Dr. Rooshi Patel, also a resident.

Dr. Steven Scheinman, the president and dean at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine says the goal is to train graduates locally, who will establish roots here and address the community's needs.

 


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