HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — Penn State College of Medicine has been awarded a grant to lead a collaborative network of medical schools.

The goal is to bridge the gap between medical schools and health systems in hopes to help residents, who soon will be practicing doctors, and their future patients.

The American Medical Association is giving Penn State College of Medicine 1.8 million dollars.

The initiative aims to better prepare resident physicians across the country by providing a platform for them to communicate.

Residents will get to learn how others do things, what their processes are like, if they have similar challenges and how they overcome those challenges.

Traditionally, training for residents focuses on clinical and technical aspects of medicine.

This network creates an opportunity for residents to dig into the social determinants that impact patients’ health, like affordability and access.

It’s all about sharing the most innovative research and developments.

The collaboration has already gotten started.

“We are meeting three to five times a week via Zoom,” said Dr. Jed Gonzalo, the associate dean for health systems education at Penn State College of Medicine. “It’s one of the pluses of the pandemic, but we’re learning from these other institutions on an everyday basis and I think it’s going to translate. We’re hoping it translates into the changes that we do within all of our local environments.”

Allegheny Health Network, Geisinger and institutions in California are among those involved in the project.