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University of Scranton, medical college to reopen free clinic for uninsured patients

Two people seated at a table, signing documents, while four others applaud.
Sarah Scinto
Dr. Julie Byerley, dean of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, and Father Joseph G. Marina, president of the University of Scranton, sign an agreement to reopen a free clinic on the university campus for uninsured patients.

People without medical insurance will soon have another option to access care in Scranton.

The University of Scranton is reopening a free medical clinic in January with the help of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

The Edward R Leahy, Jr. Clinic for the Uninsured closed during the pandemic. Come January, it will be open again on the University of Scranton campus and staffed by students from Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

Dr. Julie Byerley, dean of the medical college, said the partnership happened “organically” after the clinic closed.

“We saw through the pandemic the inequities in health care access illustrated dramatically,” she said. “We all are committed to doing as much as we can to close the gaps in health equity and to serve the people who are in most need.”

Byerley signed a Master Affiliation Agreement with the University of Scranton Wednesday to adopt a student-run model for the clinic when it reopens.

The university says the new clinic will provide longitudinal care to patients, meaning patients can visit for routine examinations, primary care, physical exams and illness. Originally, the clinic focused on acute care.

Madison Gladfelter, a third-year medical student at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, hopes she will be able to volunteer at the clinic when it reopens.

“I really like to give back to the community,” she said. “I think this is a population that could really use it.”

The clinic will serve mainly uninsured people in Lackawanna County and will be open to patients in January.

Sarah Scinto is the local host of All Things Considered on WVIA. She is a Connecticut native and graduate of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, and has previously covered Northeastern Pennsylvania for The Scranton Times-Tribune, The Citizens’ Voice and Greater Pittston Progress.