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A disparate set of experiences led Automm Lombardo to abandon a PhD program in molecular engineering in favor of a career in medicine.

"At Ithaca College, my advisor suggested a PhD program. I found the research interesting, but I missed interacting with people. I began thinking that I should pursue medicine so, after one year, I decided to leave my program and try some things to see if I was choosing the right path,” she said.
Automm worked as a scribe in an emergency department and took an EMT course. “I loved the medicine but the interactions with patients were too short. I started to think family medicine might be the thing for me,” she said. Because she is a scientist trained to look for evidence, Automm first tested her theory by working in an internal medicine practice office in New York City. During that time, she also volunteered at Weill Cornell’s Victim Advocacy Program, where she served as an advocate for survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse. Both experiences persuaded her that medicine – primary care, in particular – was the right choice.
“The advocacy training was amazing. It taught me how to listen. I learned you don’t always have to have something to say. Sometimes silence communicates best. Also, I saw that if I wanted to make an impact, primary care was where I could do that. I can connect with people over time and be a voice for those who don’t have one,” she said.
The Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program is a dream come true for Automm and it arrived just as she found her true calling. “I look forward to serving people, especially those who may struggle with complex medical problems or whose treatment might be affected by financial constraints. I grew-up in a low-income household, so I know the problems firsthand,” she said.
Automm Lombardo, MD Class of 2023
Automm Lombardo, MD Class of 2023 and Abigail Geisinger Scholar

Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program

Geisinger wants its smart, hardworking medical students to be free to practice medicine the way every future doctor imagines it — through meaningful, long-term relationships with people who become more like family. And we all want our family members to stay healthy and strong so they can live their best lives, unburdened by disease. That’s why we created the Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program.

Here’s how it works:

  • Selected students graduate without tuition debt and receive a $2,000 per month stipend.
  • Upon completion of residency training, program participants become Geisinger-employed physicians. Specialties include family medicine, internal medicine, medicine-pediatrics and psychiatry.
  • 1 year of service equals 1 year of support, with a 2-year minimum.