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Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine medical student Kyle Gleaves says personal experiences inspired him to become a doctor. The Coughlin High School graduate’s older brother, Curtis has autism. “When I was in middle school, he became sick,” Kyle said, adding that his parents, Curtis and Teresita Gleaves took him to see many doctors, both locally and out of town, many of whom were unable to help. “The stress my brother’s illness placed on my family gave me unique insight into the patient side of healthcare,” he said.

In addition to helping his family cope with a complicated diagnosis, Kyle said he also became an inveterate volunteer in high school, signing up to help out everywhere from the ASPCA to the Osterhout Free Library to the local church, St. Maria Goretti. While in college, he also volunteered for the Hospital Elder Life Program at Moses Taylor Hospital. “Being so active in the community made me want to give back even more. I began thinking about how I could impact the community in the most positive way and that made me want to become a doctor.”

Kyle graduated from The University of Scranton with a bachelor of science in biology and a minor in psychology, but there is another graduation for which he is particularly grateful. “I took part in Geisinger Commonwealth’s REACH-HEI undergraduate program while I was a student at the university, so I was a part of Geisinger Commonwealth’s community even before I was accepted to its MD program,” he said.

The REACH-HEI program was a six-week, paid summer internship for educationally or economically disadvantaged students designed to provide them with intensive exposure to research in clinical and/or basic science areas, and was complemented with seminars in health disparities, scientific writing, current medical/health topics and post-graduation planning. Kyle also had the joy of mentoring younger REACH-HEI students. “I’m proud to say that all of my REACH-HEI ‘mentees’ are now in college,” he said.

Because of his extensive and overwhelmingly positive experiences with Geisinger Commonwealth, choosing it as his medical school was an easy decision. “Geisinger Commonwealth is new and innovative and the family-centered curriculum is so unique, it really stood out to me,” he said. “Geisinger Commonwealth exemplifies exactly how I want to impact my community for the better.”
Kyle Gleaves