Family helping family
How Geisinger doctors shaped the future for two aspiring physicians
When Gino Warnick’s job was sent overseas in 2006, his goal was simple: to gain similar employment — quickly. The Hanover Township resident and his wife, Mary Jean, had two children to worry about. So, when Geisinger Wyoming Valley called him back about a mechanic’s position, his only thought was that he had regained a paycheck. Little did he know that his open and friendly disposition would not only be welcome but also matched and exceeded by his new Geisinger colleagues.
“I do facilities maintenance work,” Gino said. “Mechanical, lighting, HVAC. Sometimes I would be in Dr. Casale’s office working and we would just end up talking.” The conversations often centered on Gino’s two children, Eugene (Gino) and Justina. Gino, the elder child, was in high school and had expressed an interest in pursuing a career in medicine. When Dr. Casale learned this, he and several physician colleagues offered the Warnick children sustained shadowing and mentoring experiences. Even today, as the younger Gino navigates his first year as a Geisinger Orthopaedic Surgery resident, Dr. Casale remains a source of insight and guidance.“
Dr. Casale took the time to set up Gino’s first shadowing opportunity. He helped us get the clearances needed for Gino to get into the OR,” his father said. The younger Gino describes the moment as pivotal. “Shadowing a surgeon is what made me want to become a doctor,” he said. “Being a first-generation-to-college student, I had no idea what went into a doctor’s day. But when I saw the OR, I just loved it.”
When Gino’s second child, Justina, decided she, too, wanted to become a doctor, he looked to another Geisinger doctor for guidance. This time radiologist Scott Sauerwine, MD, was tapped for the mentorship role. “Justina absolutely loved Dr. Sauerwine. He impressed her so much that we had to look at his alma mater, Juniata College, when Justina was searching for a college.” Although Justina ultimately chose Dickinson College and primary care, the advice and guidance she received was influential in her decision to study at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. “I feel like Geisinger is my home and, as an Abigail Geisinger Scholar, I know it will be my home for a long time,” Justina said.
Gino himself is now using the tuition reimbursement Geisinger offers to pursue a bachelor’s degree himself in Operations and Project Management. “Geisinger took a chance on me when I was an unemployed millwright. They’ve been good to us. And I couldn’t be prouder of my kids. My son is in his residency and that’s quite an accomplishment. And Justina has free tuition at the medical school. I have to thank all the Geisinger doctors who helped to shape their futures.”