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SPRINGFIELD — Freedom Credit Union has made a $15,000 commitment — $3,000 per year over five years —to support a new family-medicine residency program designed to attract and retain young physicians to Franklin County. Led by founding Chair Dr. Robert Baldor, the Department of Family Medicine is a partnership between Baystate Franklin Medical Center and UMass Chan Medical School – Baystate.

“We care not just about the financial health of our members and community, but also about their overall health,” Freedom Credit Union President Glenn Welch said. “Franklin County is an underserved area when it comes to primary healthcare, and many of the local providers are older and close to retirement. We are happy to help attract new physicians to our area through this endeavor.”

The residency will be housed at the Greenfield Family Medicine Practice at 48 Sanderson St., which is adjacent to Baystate Franklin Medical Center and easily accessible to the Greater Greenfield community. Family medicine physicians are trained to treat all members of a family, from children to adults and seniors, diagnosing and treating a wide range of ailments and providing preventive care.

Four new residents will be welcomed annually into the three-year training program (12 in total). They will learn from the physicians at Baystate Franklin Medical Center and specialists from Franklin County and other Baystate Health facilities. The first class of four residents will arrive in June 2022.

“Historically, 85% of residents who train in family-medicine residencies practice as primary-care providers, and 39% of those physicians stay close to the community where they trained,” said Baldor, who noted that this is the first Baystate Health academic department housed outside Springfield, and the first accredited family-medicine training program in the region. “We are thrilled that Freedom Credit Union is supporting this new program that will have a real and lasting impact on the health of our entire community.”

Freedom’s $15,000 donation is among $245,700 that has been donated in support of the hospital’s $4.2 million investment in creating a state-of-the-art clinical/teaching facility at 48 Sanderson St. Two education grants from the federal government will support the program as well, including a $750,000 Health Resources & Services Administration grant and an Area Health Education Center grant for $100,000.

“An endeavor such as this one requires the support of the entire community,” Welch said. “We are proud to join the ranks of other local donors — including the medical staff at Baystate Franklin, who contributed $25,000 — in bringing this project to life, and we encourage others to do the same.”