Skip to main content
Physician speaking with patient in bed

Doctor of Medicine (MD) program

Medical students at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine are a part of the community and clinical curriculum is delivered regionally. Geisinger Commonwealth covers counties in northeastern and central Pennsylvania with five regional campuses headquartered in Atlantic CityDanville, Sayre, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. Each of these campuses is an integral part of the school’s distributive model of medical education and provides students with early clinical experiences in diverse settings.

Students spend time with real patients right away. Throughout their first two years, our students participate in the Family-Centered Experience (FCE) program. Students take a break from studying anatomy, physiology and molecular biology to meet with their assigned family – community volunteers who agree to allow medical students into their homes and lives to be up-close witnesses to what it’s like for a family to cope with chronic and debilitating illness.

During their pre-clinical years of medical school, our students have a chance to change a community and, in the process, gain the tools and learn the strategies necessary to enhance population health anywhere. In this phase of the MD curriculum, students spend time in a specific community, interact with partner agencies and healthcare facilities, and get to learn about the health status and needs of that community. In addition, they work with our community partners to address a community-identified health concern through a research project. A significant portion of this community experience will take place in the Community Health Improvement and Promotion (CHIP) course, which spans the first two academic years.

Geisinger Commonwealth is among the first medical schools in the U.S. to adopt the Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) model as the standard clinical experience for the entire medical school class in the third year. Third year at Geisinger Commonwealth follows an innovative longitudinal integrated curriculum with a hybrid of inpatient and outpatient experiences, virtual clerkships and a capstone experience. This hybrid model provides for continuity of outpatient care with dedicated outpatient faculty, and also allows for intensive inpatient training in core disciplines.

Each student also completes a minimum of 100 volunteer hours in the community, and many volunteer well beyond the minimum requirement. Service can address myriad important community challenges, such as expanding access to high-quality care, improving the education of our children, addressing the needs of the disadvantaged and supporting efforts to prevent domestic violence and child abuse.

Communication and technology

Geisinger Commonwealth places a strong emphasis on the development of effective communication skills that span the continuum of patient care through interprofessional collaboration. Each student is equipped with a mobile technology package which connects them with each other, with their professors and clinical preceptors, with group meetings and course material and with the library from any location.

Geisinger Commonwealth’s academic and research programs are housed within the Medical Sciences Building in Scranton, Pa., and community-based learning is experienced within our regional campuses.

The learning environment

Geisinger Commonwealth offers an MD program, distinctive for its personal education style and its community service component that grounds students in medical education, research issues and healthcare needs of the community.

The school functions with a distributive model of medical education with regional campuses – AtlantiCare (Atlantic City), Central (Danville), Guthrie (Sayre), North (Scranton) and South (Wilkes-Barre) – providing students with experiences in diverse clinical settings. Life-long learning, communication and collaboration are the foundation of Geisinger Commonwealth. With both basic science and clinical faculty, we focus on giving life to these educational values through commitment to student-centered learning and personal professional development. The strong research component of the MD program builds a solid foundation for collaborative relationships with allied health professionals and greater real world experience.

MD program educational objectives

  1. Medical knowledge: The competent graduate will have the necessary body of knowledge within the basic, clinical and cognate sciences (e.g. epidemiological and social behavioral) to be prepared for successful transition into graduate medical education training. Moreover, the graduate will have the skills that will enable the continual assimilation and utilization of the concepts and knowledge discovered throughout the years following medical school to optimize patient care.
  2. Practice-based learning and improvement: The competent graduate will be self-aware and understand his/her learning needs to continually optimize their professional performance and patient care. The graduate should be able to investigate, reflect, and evaluate his/her patient-care practices and to critically filter, appraise and assimilate evolving scientific evidence.
  3. Interpersonal skills and communication: The competent graduate will have essential verbal, nonverbal and written communication skills, as well as compassionate and culturally sensitive interpersonal skills that promote effective information exchange and collaboration with patients, patients’ families and professional associates.
  4. Professionalism: The competent graduate will have professional integrity with awareness of and commitment to the principles and responsibilities of the medical profession and a profound respect and unconditional regard for human dignity.
  5. Patient care: The competent graduate must be able to provide patient care that is compassionate, appropriate and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health. The graduate will be required to construct appropriate, fundamental management strategies (diagnostic and therapeutic) for patients with common health problems that may be emergent, acute or chronic, across the spectrum of disciplines, while considering costs for the patient and others. The graduate must be able to combine knowledge of basic biomedical, clinical and cognate sciences to accomplish the above.
  6. Systems-based practice: The competent graduate will have an awareness of the larger context and systems of healthcare and will aptly strive to contribute to system improvement. The graduate will have sensitivity and responsiveness to the interrelationships of the individual, their communities and the healthcare system.

Community-based, patient-centered, innovative education