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Geisinger Commonwealth Day - Honoring our past, embracing our future. Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine

Geisinger Commonwealth Day

Thank you

Geisinger Commonwealth Day

Wednesday, Sept. 7, 1 – 3 p.m.

Medical Sciences Building, 525 Pine Street, Scranton and live streaming

Honoring our past, embracing our future.

Geisinger Commonwealth Day 2022

What a wonderful day we celebrated on September 7! Our first-ever Geisinger Commonwealth Day was a resounding success – and we have you to thank for making it so special.

Since its founding, Geisinger Commonwealth has relied on your encouragement and friendship. Through the years, we’ve grown from an exciting dream to an inspiring reality. And now, as part of Geisinger College of Health Sciences, we’ll fulfill our founding purpose in ways no one imagined in 2008. As we move forward, we’ll educate doctors, nurses and many other desperately needed healthcare professionals and place them in our communities where they are needed most. Best of all, these clinicians will take the Geisinger approach to healthcare – meaning culturally competent care focused on wellness, with the tools and intelligence to make better health easy for everyone.

All of this is possible because of you. We are grateful for your support and look forward to strengthening our partnership in the coming years.

Hope to see you at the 2022 Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine Gala, where we’ll dance, dine and celebrate a slate of amazing honorees!

Installation of Geisinger Commonwealth’s President and Dean Julie Byerley, MD, MPH

  • Also known as an Investiture Ceremony, installing a new dean is counted among the oldest of traditions in academia. The installation of a new president and dean is a dignified ceremony that officially recognizes Dr. Byerley and her role as Geisinger's academic leader. There were a variety of official greetings and a presentation of the symbols of office, including the school medallion and mace.

A celebration of our past

  • As Geisinger Commonwealth advances in its second decade, we won’t forget the hope born in 2008 when a group of local dreamers envisioned what it would mean to our region to have its own medical school. Those dreams have turned into a reality even more promising than our founders could have imagined as they gathered for coffee and conversation about the future of healthcare for our communities. On Geisinger Commonwealth Day 2022, we honored that past and remembered everyone who helped bring our founders’ vision to life.

An exciting look at our future

  • Geisinger Commonwealth is not done growing and changing. Under Dr. Byerley’s leadership, Geisinger College of Health Sciences will allow closer collaboration between education and research and greater synergy along the academic continuum. Dr. Byerley shared this vision for the future of the school — and education at Geisinger as a whole — as she accepted the symbols of her office.

Campus tours and more

  • Our flagship Medical Sciences Building was impressive when it opened in 2011, but a lot has changed since then. We’re renovating the W.T. Smith Manual Arts Building, now named Halpin Hall. Guests were invited to explore our brand-new fourth floor Center for Student Life and Wellness. The center’s beautiful new spaces are complemented by services and resources that support every domain of wellness. Whether students need to decompress by walking on a treadmill or calm their anxiety with solid financial advice, they will find what they need here. Other stops on our tour included the Simulation Center, classrooms, team rooms and historical displays.


  • Welcome
    Jaewon Ryu, MD, JD
    Geisinger president and chief executive officer

  • Board address
    Virginia McGregor
    Chair, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine board of directors

  • Alumni speaker
    Thomas Churilla, MD 
    Charter Class of 2013

  • Student speaker
    Eshiemomoh Osilama, MBS ’19 
    Class of 2024

  • Convocation and installation of Julie Byerley, MD, MPH
    Jaewon Ryu, MD, JD, and Virginia McGregor

  • Dean’s address
    Julie Byerley, MD, MPH
    Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine president and dean

A brief history of Geisinger Commonwealth

  • 2004 – 2008: The “Founding Seven” begin talks about launching a medical school in Scranton. The “seven” included Charles Bannon, MD; Gerald Tracy, MD; Robert Wright, MD; Robert Naismith, PhD; Gerald Joyce; Atty. Mark Perry and Atty. Michael Costello. Their efforts secured the aid of area medical, business, financial, media, academic and political leaders.
  • 2006: A feasibility study was published by Tripp Umbach with an executive report titled, “A Roadmap for Medical Renewal and Economic Development.” It anticipated a medical school would yield 123 faculty members and 360 students with a $46 million annual local economic impact. The proposed school’s goals were to improve healthcare in the region, provide positive economic growth and increase educational opportunities for area residents.
  • 2007: The founding principles of the new medical school were finalized by 2007:
    • Distributive model of medical education using three regional campuses
    • Clinical education to begin during the first year of the curriculum
    • Clinical experience providing students with training in an interprofessional setting
    • Emphasis on selecting students with a propensity for community service
    • A research program focused on the healthcare issues of the region
  • 2007: Application for accreditation submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. After a site visit, degree-granting status was awarded in October 2008.
  • 2008: Preliminary accreditation received from Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).
  • 2008: Recruitment efforts for the Charter Class of 2013 resulted in 1,300 applications for the class which formed in fall 2009. The charter class resulted in 57 graduates on May 11, 2013, while the first group of 13 MBS students completed their degrees in May 2010.
  • 2011: Medical Sciences Building on Pine Street opens. The first administrative offices of what was then The Commonwealth Medical College were in the Penn Security Bank building in downtown Scranton. Lackawanna College’s Tobin Hall was later used in conjunction with the bank offices. Once the 2009 classes of MD and MBS students arrived, Lackawanna College served as the teaching site for the next two years. Lackawanna College and The University of Scranton provided research space prior to the opening of the medical sciences building in 2011.
  • 2014: The school received full accreditation from both LCME and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The school would later again receive full accreditation from both bodies in 2019 for the maximum terms allowed.
  • 2017: Integration with Geisinger commences.
  • Integration with Geisinger was a launch point for the school: 
    • Record numbers of our students now pursue research, many in Geisinger’s innovative programs.
    • A growing number of our graduates match to Geisinger residency programs.
    • Hundreds of Geisinger physicians now have faculty appointments at the medical school, and each year more and more of them become actively engaged in teaching our students.
    • Institute chairs now serve as departmental chairs in the medical school, furthering opportunities for basic science faculty and clinical faculty to work together to create a learning environment that produces physicians shaped in the Geisinger mold of care for the whole person. 
  • 2018: The Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program, an innovative approach to growing the primary care and psychiatry physician pipeline, is announced. The program accepts up to 45 students per class who incur no tuition debt and receive a monthly stipend in exchange for a promise to work as a Geisinger physician upon completion of residency.
  • 2020: The School of Graduate Education moves Geisinger Commonwealth into the sphere of online learning, which was critical to respond to COVID-19.   
  • In 2020, Geisinger Commonwealth enrolled 142 MBS students, an order of magnitude larger than the charter MBS graduating class of 2010. 
  • 2021: Dr. Julie Byerley is named new president, dean and chief academic officer.

About Dr. Julie Byerley

On Jan. 1, 2022, Julie Byerley, MD, MPH, assumed her role as president and dean of the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, executive vice president and chief academic officer. She is the School of Medicine’s fifth dean and succeeds Steven Scheinman, MD, who served as the president and dean of the college starting in 2012.

As president and dean, Dr. Byerley provides the leadership that fosters excellence, innovation, and a focus on learners, patients and the promotion of health. Her focus is to maintain Geisinger Commonwealth as a leader in the industry and model the community service mission of the organization.

In addition to her Geisinger Commonwealth responsibilities, as chief academic officer, Dr. Byerley oversees the management of educational experiences for learners throughout Geisinger, including graduate medical education, nursing, pharmacy, advanced practitioners and other health professions.

She is responsible for overseeing Geisinger’s world-renowned research environment that includes more than 50 full-time research faculty and more than 30 clinician investigators responsible for groundbreaking medical advancements like the MyCode Precision Health Initiative. Geisinger’s areas of research expertise span precision health, genomics, informatics, data science, implementation science, outcomes research, health services research, bioethics and participation in hundreds of clinical trials each year.

Dr. Byerley came to Geisinger from UNC School of Medicine, where she served as vice dean for academic affairs and she oversaw the school’s educational enterprise and the Office of Faculty Affairs and Leadership Development. Since January 2021, she served as interim dean of the UNC Adams School of Dentistry.

Dr. Byerley earned her bachelor’s degree in physics and a teaching certificate from Rhodes College and attended medical school at Duke University. She completed her pediatrics residency and chief residency at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she also earned a master’s degree in public health with a focus on maternal and child health.

Ceremony speakers:

Jaewon Ryu, MD, JD

Dr. Jaewon Ryu is Geisinger’s president and chief executive officer. He came to Geisinger as the executive vice president and chief medical officer in 2016, and in that capacity, he has overseen all aspects of patient care at Geisinger, working to improve the quality, affordability and experience of care delivered across the enterprise.

During his tenure at Geisinger, Dr. Ryu has cultivated a spirit of innovation and transformation across the organization, driving new approaches to some of healthcare’s most complex problems. These include initiatives like primary care redesign; Geisinger at Home, which brings healthcare services to patients in their home; and Geisinger 65 Forward, our senior-focused, concierge healthcare centers. All of these are examples of Dr. Ryu’s commitment to making health easier by improving outcomes, engagement and affordability. This dedication to innovation for the health of our communities earned Dr. Ryu a top 20 spot on Modern Healthcare’s Most Influential Clinical Executives list for 2019.

Virginia McGregor

Virginia McGregor was appointed to the Geisinger Health Board of Directors in February 2012. She is chair of the Geisinger Family Committee and serves on the Patient Experience, Academic Affairs and Quality Committee. Ms. McGregor also serves as chair of the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine board and is a member of the Geisinger Affiliate Boards.

Before her appointment at Geisinger, she served as chair for the CMCHS Board of Directors, and she previously served on North Penn Bank Board of Directors; St. Joseph’s Center Foundation Board of Directors; and The Boys and Girls Club of Scranton Board of Directors.

Ms. McGregor graduated from Holy Cross College with a BA in history and also attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Executive Education Program. She serves on the board of McGregor Industries, a family-owned business that is a manufacturer of miscellaneous and structural steel products for the construction industry.

Thomas Churilla, MD ’13 

Dr. Tom Churilla is a radiation oncologist at Northeast Radiation Oncology Centers and a member of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s Charter Class of 2013. 

After graduating in 2013 from our medical school, Dr. Churilla completed his Radiation Oncology residency at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia.

He was recognized with several awards during his training, including the 2017 RSNA Roentgen Resident Research Award at Fox Chase Cancer Center, 2016 ASTRO Resident Clinical Research Abstract Award, and the 2012 AMA Physician of Tomorrow Award.

He is board certified in Radiation Oncology and has presented and published numerous clinical research studies. Areas of research interest have included: Brain metastases, Vitamin D deficiency in cancer patients, and population-based studies of anal cancer, breast cancer, and cervical cancer.

 Today, he also volunteers to teach and mentor current medical students and serves on our Alumni Board.
Thomas Churilla, MD

Eshiemomoh Osilama, MBS ’19

Eshiemomoh Osilama is a member of GCSOM’s MD Class of 2024 and is an Abigail Geisinger Scholar. He is also a 2019 graduate of our MBS program and distinguished himself then by winning the 2019 Excellence in Leadership award.

As a medical student, he’s already claimed many achievements, including:

  • Acceptance to the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) Research and Mentorship Program (RAMP), a highly competitive program for African American/Black and Latinx medical students. He completed this in summer of 2021 at Columbia University.
  • Performing vocal with The Musichondria at the 2020 GCSOM Talent Show.
  • Creating the cover art for the 2020 Black Diamonds publication.
  • Serving as treasurer for the Student Musculoskeletal Society
Eshiemomoh Osilama, MBS ’19