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Chris Peters, MD said strong community ties and warm support from a network of mentors helped guide several significant choices in his life. The Moscow area native and North Pocono graduate was always gifted in math and science, so he gravitated toward chemical engineering as his college major, yet he still entertained ideas of medicine. “One summer I did an internship at the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute (NRCI). I got to work on a research project about prostate cancer and attended Tumor Board meetings,” he said.

Then Dr. Peters spent a semester abroad in Rome studying art history and engaging in some soul searching about his career choice. “I found I was drawn to the tangibility of medicine.” Once he was stateside, Dr. Peters changed his major to biology. Because he was too late to apply to medical school, Dr. Peters spent a “gap year” working in Penn’s radiology oncology department. That experience, coupled with the strong bonds he had formed with the healthcare community in Scranton, made his next move easy. “The admiration I had for everyone in Scranton and my experiences at NRCI made me choose radiation oncology,” he said.

Dr. Peters kept in touch with his mentors throughout medical school and his residency at Mount Sinai in New York City. By that time, Dr. Peters was married and had two young daughters. He also had careers options. Dr. Peters was strongly drawn to coming home to Scranton because of family ties and his fond memories of the care and encouragement he had received as a college student. He was torn, however, because he was offered a chance to enter academic medicine at Mount Sinai. Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine helped tip the scales. “The chance to teach and do research at Geisinger Commonwealth was a real draw,” he said.

Today, Dr. Peters has both a busy medical practice and teaches and mentors Geisinger Commonwealth students. He also enjoys research collaborations with scientists at the college on cancer biomarkers – substances that can be found, for example, in urine, thus eliminating the need for a biopsy. “The research we do is translational, meaning we take it from laboratory bench to bedside. There’s a big push for biomarker research from the National Institutes of Health and people should know some of it is taking place right here in Scranton,” he said.
Chris Peters