Rockville, MD,
12:56 PM

LVH-Schuylkill Receives HRSA Rural Residency Grant

HRSA awards Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill $749,859 to increase the rural workforce through the creation of new rural residency programs

Pictured Caption

Pictured from left to right: Drew Keister, M.D., Vice-Chair Education at Lehigh Valley Hospital Network; Lawrence Riddles, M.D., MS, MBA, Regional Chief Medical Officer at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill and Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazelton; Mackenzie Mady, D.O., LVPG Family Medicine-St. Clair; Ivor Lewis, M.D., Associate Medical Director at Lehigh Valley Physician Group; Grant Greenberg, M.D., LVPG Family Medicine

Today, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill a $749,859 Rural Residency Planning and Development Program (RRPD) grant. This is part of a larger $20 million distribution across 21 states. Each RRPD recipient receives up to $750,000 over a three-year period to develop new rural residency programs while achieving accreditation through the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

“Promoting the health of rural America is one of the Trump Administration’s healthcare priorities,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Supporting the training of healthcare providers in rural areas through grants like these is a key way to help expand rural access to care, and is part of an overall effort to support rural healthcare in sustainable, innovative, and flexible ways.”The RRPD program, administered by HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) and Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW), is part of a multi-year initiative by HRSA to expand the physician workforce in rural areas by developing new, sustainable residency programs in family medicine, internal medicine, and psychiatry. The recipients of the awards include rural hospitals, community health centers, health centers operated by the Indian Health Service, Indian tribes or tribal organizations, and schools of medicine.

“The health challenges in rural America are clear: rural communities face a greater risk of poor health outcomes than their urban counterparts,” said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D. “Programs like the Rural Residency Planning and Development grants take aim at one of the most persistent disparities: access to high quality healthcare providers. HRSA is committed to increasing the number of providers serving rural communities and improving health in rural America.”

“Today is an important day for rural health care in Pennsylvania,” said Lawrence Riddles, MD, Regional Chief Medical Officer at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill and Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazelton. “We have an aging physician population in Pennsylvania and especially in Schuylkill County. Statistics show that many medical residents choose to practice close to where they did their residency. So this is a great opportunity to introduce this area to Family Medicine residents and help create our next generation of care providers for our community.”

Rural residency programs often face challenges in securing sustainable financing and faculty support. The RRPD grant award funding will help recipients address these challenges.

"Training residents in rural areas is one strategy shown to successfully encourage graduates to practice in rural settings," said HRSA Associate Administrator for FORHP Tom Morris. “The rural residency grants set up these 27 future residency programs for success.”

“We know that clinicians who train in rural settings are more likely to continue to practice there after they complete their residencies,” said HRSA Associate Administrator for BHW Dr. Luis Padilla. “Rural communities are more likely to have a shortage of health professionals. The rural residency grants are one more way HRSA is helping to expand the health workforce and increase access to quality healthcare for these communities.”

To review a complete list of all grant recipients visit

For more information about rural health policy issues visit

To learn more about HRSA’s healthcare workforce programs, visit


Lehigh Valley Health Network includes eight hospital campuses - three in Allentown including the region's only facility dedicated to orthopedic surgery, one in Bethlehem, one in East Stroudsburg, one in Hazleton and two in Pottsville, Pa.; 26 health centers caring for communities in seven counties; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices and 19 ExpressCARE locations throughout the region including the area’s only Children’s ExpressCARE at the Health Center at Palmer Township; pharmacy, imaging, home health services and lab services; extensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred. Specialty care includes trauma care at the region’s busiest, most-experienced trauma center treating adults and children, burn care at the regional Burn Center, kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer care, orthopedics, and neurology and complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. The Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute, the Lehigh Valley Heart Institute, and the Lehigh Valley Institute for Special Surgery give clinicians of the highest caliber the necessary infrastructure, programs, and partnerships to help community members stay healthy and provide the most advanced treatment when needed. The Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute is a formal member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance, a transformative initiative to improve the quality of care and outcomes for people with cancer in community health care settings, including access to key MSK clinical trials. Robotic surgery is offered in ten specialties across the health network with more than 10,000 procedures performed since 2007. Lehigh Valley Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital and Level 4 NICU in the region, provides care in more than 30 specialties and general pediatrics. Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest has been recognized among the top five hospitals in Pennsylvania by U.S. News & World Report for five consecutive years. Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, Lehigh Valley Hospital–17th Street and Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg are national Magnet® hospitals for excellence in nursing. Additional information is available by visiting or following us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.