LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The University of Lynchburg and Community Access Network — a nonprofit health care provider on Fifth Street — are gearing up to enhance their partnership as part of “Lynchburg Tomorrow,” a city-university initiative launching later this month.
Under the partnership, school officials say full-time faculty members, who are serving as preceptors for University of Lynchburg PA Medicine students, will be placed at Community Access Network by the university.
Four faculty members — described by the university as highly experienced and clinically skilled PAs, along with other advanced-practice providers — will support student rotations in primary care, women’s health, pediatrics, and behavioral health. In addition, each faculty member will be a preceptor to two students at a time, providing patient care via appointment and for walk-ins.
“We have been working with the University of Lynchburg senior leadership to establish a partnership that is mutually supportive,” said Community Access Network CEO Christina Delzingaro in a statement shared by the University of Lynchburg on Monday, June 14.
“This expanded partnership brings together two of Lynchburg’s top people-centered institutions — Community Access Network and the University of Lynchburg — and establishes a collaboration to create significant opportunities for students, patients, faculty and staff of both organizations.”
According to the president of the University of Lynchburg, Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar, the partnership marks the first big success story after a year of making connections and establishing needs on campus and in the community.
“We’re thrilled to support Community Access Network in building a culture of learning and increasing its capacity to serve patients,” Morrison-Shetlar said. “That’s what we’re here for at the University of Lynchburg: to be a resource for our community while providing our students a wealth of learning opportunities. I couldn’t be happier with what we’ve been able to accomplish so far, and I can’t wait to see this collaboration come to life.”
To further strengthen ties, a senior faculty member will be on-site part time to “promote learning and ensure that University of Lynchburg faculty and students are integrated into Community Access Network and are truly part of our team,” Delzingaro said.
According to the university, Dr. Jeremy M. Welsh, dean of the School of PA Medicine and senior associate dean of the College of Health Sciences, will be the person taking on that role.
“Under his leadership, faculty and students will work side-by-side with us to provide high-quality patient care,” Delzingaro said. “We also look forward to shared learning opportunities and mini-lectures that will be open to all Community Access Network staff and volunteers.”
Over the past year, Welsh has reportedly served on the university’s COVID-19 Task Force, as President of the Virginia Academy of PAs, and on Gov. Ralph Northam’s task force on primary care.
“We’re really excited to share more of our expertise with the local health community while giving our students a chance to be fully integrated as part of a teaching team,” Welsh said. “Over the past year, we’ve done a lot of community outreach, and our students have loved the interaction. This will be a fantastic opportunity for CAN and Lynchburg to work even more closely together, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Delzingaro is also building up her own staff to support the additional providers, the university says.
On top of that, school officials say Community Access Network and Lynchburg are already discussing future collaborations, which may include nursing, physical therapy, information technology, and even nonprofit leadership studies.
“Our goal is to create a robust program of educational initiatives that can help University of Lynchburg students and Community Access Network staff advance their careers across a broad range of health care and affiliated roles,” Delzingaro said.