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Jacob and Seth Linker, MD, find family at Geisinger

From the moment he finished his otolaryngology residency at the University of Tennessee, Seth Linker, MD, said he was eager to come home to Pennsylvania. “I was ready to hang up a sign,” he said, referring to his initial idea to launch a private practice, “But then Geisinger reached out to me and said, ‘Come where your focus is patients not business, where you’ll have a network of other doctors in every specialty you can count on.’” That message resonated, Dr. Linker said, adding, “Now, 22 years later, I’m still here.”

Dr. Linker has never regretted his choice. “My colleagues all do well together. If you are just about ‘me, me, me,’ then this isn’t the place for you. Geisinger really does have the atmosphere of a family,” he said.

Dr. Linker’s other family is his wife, Susan, his twin sons Sam and Jacob and daughter, Hannah. “Once when Jacob was about four years old, he rounded with me wearing a little white coat. But that was just for fun and because he looked so cute. Never in a million years did I think he would be a doctor-in-training at Geisinger.” Ironically, neither did Jacob. Yet today he is a member of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s MD Class of 2024.

“I had a strong idea that I wanted to become a doctor when I was in high school. My dad was an influence on my choice, but not because he pushed me into medicine. It was because he always just told me, ‘Do what makes you happy.’ I had a class at Abington Heights High School that had to do with biology and sports. We learned first-aid techniques and basic anatomy and I just loved it so much,” Jacob said. “That’s when I decided.”

As he began to consider combining sports and medicine into a profession as an orthopedic surgeon, he finally started asking his father for career advice. “He was always a good role model for me, especially in the way he treated his patients when they called him at home. He is so good at listening – he’s great at diagnosing. It’s impressive. And when I told him I wanted to go to medical school, he laid out for me what I had to do and gave me his insights.”

One such insight was to attend GCSOM. “During my preclinical years of medical school, I rarely interacted with patients,” Dr. Linker said. “Most of my experience with patient care was on-the-job training during my years as a resident. I knew that wasn’t the case at GCSOM. I recognized the education here is different. It’s so responsible and all-encompassing. It’s a 360-degree education. I told Jacob, ‘If you go there, you will be a complete physician.’ Now, he talks to me all the time about what he is learning and after just a few weeks of the curriculum, he said to me, ‘You were right, Dad.’”

“I grew up in the Geisinger system,” Jacob said. “I was always exposed to Geisinger’s values, but now I notice them in my dad more than ever. This is why I want to be at this school and in this system. It’s the epitome of medical care.”

Jacob Linker and Seth Linker, MD
Jacob Linker and his father Seth Linker, MD