Gala 2019 honorees
Jason Dinko, MD '14
Learn more about our 2019 honorees
Gerald P. Tracy, MD
Any community would be fortunate to claim Dr. Gerry Tracy as its champion. Luckily, that honor goes to the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school and a brilliant cardiologist, Dr. Tracy could have gone anywhere. He chose to return to Scranton to care for his neighbors – a commitment he would fulfill in myriad ways beyond the exam room. In addition to preserving the health of his patients, Dr. Tracy devoted himself to encouraging the region’s young people to dream big – and in a way that would benefit the region. He founded Great Valley Cardiology and was instrumental in forming the Medical Alumni Council at The University of Scranton, which created a network of doctors who could mentor pre-med students. However, by the early 2000s, Dr. Tracy began to worry that this wasn’t enough. The Pennsylvania Medical Society had issued a report confirming that Pennsylvania was moving toward a critical physician shortage and Luzerne and Lackawanna counties were forecast to be particularly hard hit. Dr. Tracy and other like-minded physicians joined a small group of seven concerned community leaders to discuss establishing a medical school in Scranton. For his efforts in founding The Commonwealth Medical College, he was the 2017 recipient of the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s Distinguished Service Award. The award was first given in 1956 to Jonas E. Salk, MD and since then the society has recognized just 26 Pennsylvania physicians and two non-physicians. In his career, Dr. Tracy has received many other accolades, but the gratitude of his community is undoubtedly his most cherished honor.
Edith P. Mitchell, MD, FACP, FCPP
The overarching theme of Dr. Edith Mitchell's life and career is service dedicated to the well-being of others. Dr. Mitchell first felt called to serve as a child growing up in rural Tennessee. She recalls her great-grandfather being cared for by an African-American doctor who made house calls. She said the healthcare disparities she witnessed – African-American people received care at segregated hospitals at the time – inspired her to become a doctor. To help pay her tuition, Dr. Mitchell served in the Missouri National Guard and ultimately achieved the rank of brigadier general – the first female physician to reach that rank. Today, she uses her platform as an oncologist and researcher at Sidney Kimmel/Thomas Jefferson University to address health disparities and expand access to new cancer treatment options. Her leadership of Jefferson’s Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center enables low-income women to have access to new technology and treatments. She has led impactful research on therapies for cancers of the breast, colon, pancreas and other organs. The list of honors she has received, organizations she has led, papers she has published and panels she has served can more than fill a book. For example, she has served as president of the National Medical Association and is one of 28 experts to serve on the National Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel. We are fortunate that Dr. Mitchell was named to the board of The Commonwealth Medical College in 2014 and continues to serve on GCSOM’s Community Advisory Board.
Noble C. “Bud” Quandel
Noble C. “Bud” Quandel has spent a career emulating his namesake, a forward-thinking great-grandfather who founded a small building materials firm in Minersville in 1882. Today, Quandel operates from sprawling headquarters in Harrisburg and its name is ubiquitous at building sites throughout the Mid Atlantic – including GCSOM’s own Medical Sciences Building and Geisinger St. Luke’s new facility in Orwigsburg. Yet Mr. Quandel runs the company from the smartly appointed office he continues to occupy in Minersville, mere yards from the site where his ancestor operated a lime kiln. “A local newspaper wrote a story about my great-grandfather that said he always operated in an ‘upright manner,’” Quandel said. “I think that’s still important.” Just as important, he said, as the other secret to Quandel’s success – its remarkable ability to innovate. From producing “quicklime” for local building projects, Quandel branched out into producing concrete and providing its own construction services. It later added consulting services and instituted an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) that gave all its workers financial interest in the company’s success. Now, as Mr. Quandel prepares to hand the reins to a fifth generation, he said innovation is virtually synonymous with evolution. “If you trace the history of innovation at our company,” he said, “you’ll see that it’s not necessarily the strongest that survive – it’s those most able to adapt.”
Jason Dinko, MD ’14
Jason Dinko, MD, is from White Haven in Luzerne County. A member of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s MD Class of 2014, Jason clearly embodies the ideals of the school’s founders. He has a great love for his community and a desire to serve his neighbors, demonstrated by his choice of a medical specialty our region badly needs – primary care. He has also always expressed a desire to stay close to home. Jason earned his undergraduate degree from Marywood University and was accepted to what was then The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC). He completed a family medicine residency at a health system near Pittsburgh and is now a family medicine clinician for Geisinger. His patients are unanimous in praising his courtesy, concern and communication skills – hallmarks of the kind of patient-centered care the GCSOM curriculum emphasizes so successfully. He is being honored with the school’s first founders award for fulfilling the original mission of our founders – to replenish and strengthen the physician workforce in our region.