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Michael Bedrin knows from personal experience, that when people lose a vital physical function – be it movement, sight or another sense – the depression and anxiety can be more debilitating than the injury itself. That realization, which came to him in high school, sparked the Mountain Top resident’s interest in medicine.

Michael experienced the intimate connection between physical function and mental health when he suffered a serious injury playing American Legion baseball when he was a student at Holy Redeemer High School. “I was hit in the eye with a ball and my vision was threatened. After surgery, I had to stay face-down for more than a week. I was dejected and worried – it wasn’t fun, but the operation worked. I had little hope for the vision in my right eye, so experiencing the joy of having it restored through surgery made me think, ‘I want to do that.’”

Michael said Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine has prepared him well for his future. “I chose Geisinger Commonwealth because of its people and its philosophy of community-based education. When I got here, the emphasis on patient-centeredness told me I chose well. Plus everyone here is invested in us, the students. The administration even holds focus groups with students and they are very receptive to our feedback. I doubt that happens at most schools.”

Michael is on a military scholarship, and hopes to train in an orthopedic surgery residency at a United States Army hospital upon graduation from Geisinger Commonwealth in 2017. Military service is an honored family tradition. “My younger brother and my cousin were in ROTC at Penn State, and are now serving as officers in the Army. Both my grandfathers and three of my uncles also served,” he said.

He’s already had some training in the logistics of combat medicine, which is similar to civilian medicine but with fewer available resources. Michael said he enjoys that challenge and looks forward to having the opportunity to restore and heal his fellow soldiers. Being committed to the Army and to orthopedic surgery means there’s a long road ahead, but Michael hopes to return to the area eventually. “The future is unclear, but my family and extended family are in Luzerne County, so, yes, that’s a real possibility.”
Michael Bedrin