HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — Penn State College of Medicine will be addressing a range of physical and mental health challenges, including the opioid and mental health crises, that affect central Pennsylvania communities thanks to a $2.2 million grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. The additional funding will establish a primary care research fellowship over the next five years.

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“The mental health and substance use disorder crises that affected our state before the pandemic have only worsened in the past year and a half,” Dr. David Rabago, professor and vice-chair of faculty development in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, who will oversee the fellowship, said.

According to the press release, the two-year postdoctoral fellowship welcomes applicants with doctoral degrees from a variety of disciplines including medicine, public health, psychology, social work and health administration. Training for recruited fellows will start training this fall.

An assessment conducted by Penn State Health revealed that “substance use disorders, drug overdoses and mental health conditions are the most pressing health concerns for communities in central Pennsylvania.”

 “Penn State will bring together a team of renowned experts in health care, public health sciences, health policy and community engagement to train researchers who can address these challenges with innovative solutions and improve the health of our communities for generations to come,” Dr. Rabago said.