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Geisinger Residents Join First Community Leadership Cohort

In January 2020, the Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce launched a new community leadership program in partnership with GeisingerThe Community Outreach & Leadership Track (COLT) goal is to train resident physicians on leadership, assessment and understanding of community needs, and how to lead positive change in the community.   

The program was delivered in 8 didactic sessions focusing on Leading Through Engagement, Coaching for Performance and Development, Leading Change, Poverty, Human Services and Social Determinants of Health, the state of Public Education, Philanthropy, Economic and Workforce Development. The Foundation utilized the expertise of Rick Flynn, retired Director of Institutional Development and Training at Geisinger, and public partners that included the Columbia-Montour & Greater Susquehanna Valley United Ways, Community Giving Foundation, Danville School District, The Gate House, Good Samaritan Mission, DRIVE and others.  Each agency shared their experiences and impacts with the residents and engaged them on ways they could get involved.   

After the “classroom” portion of the program concluded, the residents were asked to complete community impact projects based on needs identified during their training.  The resulting projects were: 

  • Eat the Rainbow Initiative – a partnership with Good Samaritan Mission, Many Hands Helping Others and the Danville School District.  30% of students in the Danville School District are at risk of food insecurity.  This program partners with the food backpack program to encourage students to make healthy eating and lifestyle choices.  Resources can be found via a flier and magnet being distributed and the Instagram account @COLTforhealth. 
  • LIFT Mentorship  a partnership with Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation (CPWDC) to create a pipeline of mentors for area at risk in school and out of school youth ages 14-24.  This program is an evidence based one-year mentorship relationship between students and adult mentors.  The goal is to provide career mentorship and add another positive adult role model for these young people to help them realize their potential.   
  • Mental Health First Aid – an effort to raise awareness of youth mental health and provide community-based supports for kids. The goal is to create a train the trainer program utilizing a skills-based training program that teaches how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness.  Trained individuals have the skills to reach out and provide initial help and support someone who may be developing or experiencing a mental health crisis.    

This spring 18 physicians from the Internal Medicine, Pediatric, and Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Programs completed their COLT training.  Congratulations to the COLT Class of 2021: 

Internal Medicine 



Melissa Band, DO 

Peter Barrale,  MD 

Alexandra Chop, MD 

Megan Holton, DO 

Ashley Czworniak,DO 

Biren Desai, DO 

Sanjeev Shrestha, MD 

Kristin Huynh, DO 

Elyse Jensen, MD 

Amy Sudol, MD 

Ian Kates, MD 

Taylor Kerrins, MD 

Sarah Wilson, DO 

Kristin Sanders, MD 

Amelia Morgan, DO 

Mirja Wirtz, MD 

Kristopher Schock, DO 


Raza Zaidi, MD 



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