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When Dan Kazmierski was growing up in Clarks Summit he had an influential role model: his father, Daniel Kazmierski, MD, a family practitioner. “I always admired my dad’s ability to display such a great work ethic while still maintaining a life devoted to his friends and family,” Dan said.

Unlike common childhood aspirations, like being a pirate or a cowboy, Dan’s early attraction to medicine grew stronger as he matured. Happily, he found that his academic abilities were well aligned with his dreams. “I was drawn to subjects like biology and chemistry,” he said. “I went to Villanova to major in biology and was lucky enough to avoid being forced to make the sacrifice of spending summers away from home thanks to my research at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.”

Dan said his summer research with Geisinger Commonwealth’s Charter Class of 2013 and Janet Townsend, MD really “opened his eyes” to the problems facing his hometown region. “My research with Dr. Townsend centered on the healthcare needs of northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA),” Dan said. “We conducted focus groups in several counties and I heard directly from the patients what the barriers are. While coming in with an intimate knowledge of the state of healthcare in NEPA and its needs, this experience helped me understand those problems on an even deeper level. I learned that our area is in dire need of mental health and primary care services and that the barriers to that care are sometimes things as simple as transportation. Knowing that Geisinger Commonwealth’s curriculum would be based on addressing these needs in an area that I consider my home, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that coming home for my medical training someday would shape me into a much better physician.”

Dan’s experiences with summer research solidified his decision to choose Geisinger Commonwealth. “I’m glad I left NEPA to go to Villanova, but after four years, I was eager to come back to NEPA for medical school,” he said. The research experience also made him “99 percent” certain he will choose a primary care residency when the time comes.

There’s one thing Dan doesn’t think he needs to ponder: His decision to come back to NEPA to practice. “This is home for me,” he said.
Dan Kazmierski