$20K donation, in memory of former chief, supports family medicine residency program

  • Franklin First Federal Credit Union has donated $20,000 toward the family medicine residency program in the works at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in memory of one of its late board members, former Greenfield Police Chief David Guilbault, pictured in his office in 2011. Guilbault died unexpectedly in November. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz


  • Parts of Baystate Franklin Medical Center’s medical building at 48 Sanderson St. in Greenfield will house a residency program for doctors who want to become family practitioners. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ


Staff Writer
Published: 2/3/2022 2:49:04 PM

GREENFIELD — Franklin First Federal Credit Union has donated $20,000 toward the family medicine residency program in the works at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in memory of one of its late board members, former Police Chief David Guilbault.

“Dave encouraged me and was one person who truly believed in me and my career path,” Franklin First CEO Michelle Dwyer said in a press release. “This is just one of the many reasons I feel it’s important to honor him in a way that allows the community to celebrate him and keeps his memory in the forefront of their minds.”

Guilbault, 67, of Bernardston, who retired as police chief in 2011, died unexpectedly in November. He served for 16 years on the Franklin First board of directors.

The $20,000 donation will support the creation of a family medicine center that will offer a residency program by mid-2022 to doctors who want to train in family medicine. Its 48 Sanderson St. facility currently has a family medical practice on the first floor.

Anita Fritz, senior specialist of public affairs and community relations with Baystate Health, said that according to department heads, renovations on the second floor — which includes the creation of new teaching space, and offices for the residents and faculty — were expected to begin shortly after Thanksgiving but have been delayed due to the recent COVID-19 surge.

Renovations on the first floor, where the family medical practice is now located, are slated to begin in late 2022 and will be completed in fall 2023.

Four residencies a year will be offered to start, according to Dr. Robert Baldor, founding chair and professor for the University of Massachusetts Medical School-Baystate Department of Family Medicine, so over the first three years it will grow to have 12 participants enrolled.

Young physicians — either medical doctors or doctors of osteopathic medicine — will be admitted into the program. Those people will have completed four years of medical school and be ready to do a residency, which is required to be licensed.

In a Franklin First press release, Dwyer said the credit union’s donation to the program “was an important one … especially with the shortage for primary care and specialty care providers” in Franklin County.

“It’s important for local businesses to support initiatives like this that only add value to the community,” Dwyer said.

Previously, Greenfield Cooperative Bank donated $75,000 and Freedom Credit Union has committed $15,000 over five years.

Additionally, two education grants from the federal government will support medical education at 48 Sanderson St. One of the grants is a $750,000 Health Resources and Services Administration grant that will assist with the family medicine residency development, while the other, an Area Health Education Center grant for $100,000, supports medical student experiences.

Baldor said the team at the Department of Family Medicine is grateful for the local support.

“Donations from local businesses are so meaningful because our future patients are part of these organizations,” Baldor said. “Our work is all about serving our community, so to know they support us makes moving our efforts forward even more exciting.”

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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