With a nurse for a mother and a doctor for a father, a career in health care seemed natural for Stacey Gardner-Buckshaw, Ph.D.—that is, until a severe allergy forced her to reconsider.
The Salem, Ohio native couldn’t imagine doing something without a connection to health care. “I saw what my father experienced as a physician, and knew a lot could be done to make it a more positive experience for both the provider and patients,” said Dr. Gardner-Buckshaw, who recently joined the NEOMED staff.
The field of public health policy seemed perfect. Dr. Gardner-Buckshaw earned a master’s degree in public administration and a doctorate in urban studies and public affairs at the University of Akron. After 10 years working at non-profit organizations and a small university, she now serves as the program manager of a federal Health Resource and Administration (HRSA), Primary Care Training Enhancement (PCTE) grant at NEOMED. PCTE is largely a team effort, led by principal investigator John Boltri, M.D., professor and Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM). In her new role, Dr. Gardner-Buckshaw works closely with Dr. Boltri, Joseph Zarconi, M.D., Janice Spalding, M.D. (’87), Aleece Caron, Ph.D., partners at MetroHealth, and several DFCM faculty members to help medical faculty fellows and residents achieve the so-called Quadruple Aim in health care. This includes improved healthcare quality (specifically for underserved populations), lower costs, improved patient and family experience, and improved provider quality of life.
Michael Appleman, M.A.Ed., an instructor in family and community medicine, holds a complementary role, leading faculty who train medical students to understand and address population health disparities. While Dr. Gardner-Buckshaw handles grant operations and organizes the PCTE fellowship, Appleman works with course directors to facilitate student training within the College of Medicine curriculum.
For this pilot year of the five-year grant, 14 area resident doctors and NEOMED faculty were recruited to participate as fellows. “The intention is for the fellowship to transition so that this year’s 14 learners will become next year’s teachers,” said Dr. Gardner-Buckshaw, who will herself be one of the teachers. “Next year, this fellowship will be open to nominations and applications.”
“Our hope is that this training in understanding how social determinants affect people’s health and health decisions will carry over to all levels of medical education,” said Dr. Gardner-Buckshaw. “We want to create a shift to transform the health care field.”