GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Freedom Credit Union announced their plan to commit $15,000 to Baystate Franklin Medical Center’s new Department of Family Medicine over the next five years.

According to a statement released by Freedom Credit Union, the new department is described as 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,” said Freedom Credit Union President Glenn Welch. “Franklin County is an underserved area when it comes to primary health care 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 $15,000 donation is part of $245,700 that has been donated in support of the hospital’s $4.2 million investment in creating the teaching facility. The program was also the recipient of two education grants from the federal government.

“An endeavor such as this one requires the support of the entire community,” said Welch. “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.”

The statement also describes the program as having the goal to attract and retain young physicians to Franklin County. The residency will reportedly be stationed at the Greenfield Family Medicine Practice located on 48 Sanderson Street. This location is adjacent to Baystate Franklin Medical Center and easily accessible to the greater Greenfield community.

The program expects to welcome four new residents annually into the three-year training program leading to 12 in total over the current course of the program. These residents 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 percent of residents who train in family medicine residencies practice as primary care providers, and 39 percent of those physicians stay close to the community where they trained,” said Dr. 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.”