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Preventive Medicine Program

The vision for preventive medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth

Americans spend more money on healthcare than any other nation. Even so, we lag behind every other developed nation in the prevention of disease and illness.

We need to get back to the basics. We need to recognize that wellness is the foundation of prevention. My colleagues and I want to spark a preventive medicine interest at Geisinger Commonwealth School of medicine through transformative medical education and community awareness. Among other things, Geisinger Commonwealth’s Preventive Medicine Program will include exploration of how a sensible and data-driven approach to nutrition may quickly enhance wellness. Other facets of preventive medicine include exercise, stress reduction, smoking cessation and a renewed focus on mental health and substance abuse issues.

Having personally benefited from plant-based nutrition, I can attest to its life-altering results. My own discovery of the intimate relationship between personal habits and wellness inspired this program, which began with the naming of an advisory board. The inaugural board consists of medical, academic and business sector innovators who have also experienced more abundant health through healthy life style choices.

Please join us. Your support will help to promote innovative approaches to achieving optimum health and wellness for our community.

– Robert W. Naismith, PhD
Clinical Professor, Department of Clinical Sciences
Trustee and Past Chair, Geisinger Commonwealth Board of Trustees

Transform community health and wellness

Contribute to Geisinger Commonwealth’s Preventive Medicine Program.

Preventive Medicine Advisory Board

Robert W. Naismith, PhD
Stanley Dudrick, MD 
Andrea Feinberg, MD
Jean Hayes, RN
Linda Thomas-Hemak, MD
Ronald Kukuchka
Samir B. Pancholy, MD
Sonia Lobo Planey, PhD, Chair 
Lisa Rigau, RN, MS
Mushfiq Tarafder, PhD, MPH, MBBS
Brandi Woo, MD Class of 2020

Message from the president and dean

In a recent report, The Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development in Wilkes-Barre found the northeastern region to be a predominantly hard-living, overweight population. Poor lifestyle choices are contributing to a rise in illness, disease, mental health issues and poverty in our local communities.

As a regional advocate for community health and wellbeing, Geisinger Commonwealth is taking the lead to reverse these trends. Our Preventive Medicine Program is aimed at protecting, promoting and maintaining health and wellbeing, with initial focus on nutritional education. Medical research shows that prudent dietary choices can lower body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and known risks for diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

I am excited about the launching of Geisinger Commonwealth’s preventive medicine initiative. Its advisory board comprises individuals who hold significant expertise in preventive medicine and understand the compelling need for this initiative in northeastern and central Pennsylvania. It is Geisinger Commonwealth’s goal to create an endowed Preventive Medicine Lecture Series, and ultimately to expand and sustain the program through an endowed faculty chair in preventive medicine.

Over time, with education and awareness, the program will prevent illness, disease and premature death. With your support, we will fundamentally influence healthier lives, cardiovascular wellness, diabetes and cancer prevention, and medical and insurance cost savings.

Join us to transform community health and wellness in the 17 counties Geisinger Commonwealth serves.

– Steven J. Scheinman, MD
President and Dean of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine

Steven J. Scheinman, M.D.
Steven J. Scheinman, MD

Preventing illness and disease

As an innovative medical education institution charged with preparing the next generation of healthcare professionals, Geisinger Commonwealth has a responsibility to inform our students, educate the general public and prevent unnecessary disease in our local communities. In response to this challenge, Geisinger Commonwealth has established the Preventive Medicine Program, initially focusing on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. The program is designed to mitigate disease progression, lower healthcare costs and generally improve health, wellness and quality of life for residents of northeastern and central Pennsylvania.

Early components of the program include a lecture series and community education. Within the Preventive Medicine Lecture Series, thought leaders will give medical students, residents and physicians the tools needed to provide high-quality patient care and make healthy decisions for themselves and their families. Community healthcare professionals, researchers, media representatives, chefs, restaurateurs and the community at large will be encouraged to get involved.

The Community Education Program will inform, remove biases and engage diverse audiences, from medical providers to interested members of the community. Events will encourage healthy behaviors, including exercise and an emphasis on a healthy diet, while sharing the deleterious effects of substance abuse. One important goal of the program is to advance regional, disease-centric research collaborations.

Preventitive medicine

Continuing education credits approved for physicians 

Geisinger Commonwealth is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Geisinger Commonwealth will review and assign all Preventive Lecture Series presentations eligible CME credit.

Continuing education credit is also available for other healthcare professionals.

Your impact on community wellbeing

Partnering with Geisinger Commonwealth to support the Preventive Medicine Program is an unprecedented opportunity to impact the Campaign for Scholarships and Innovation and the future health of our region.

Your gift, of any amount, in support of the Preventive Medicine Lecture Series will empower local families and communities through an understanding of effective, life-changing nutrition and other healthy habits and behaviors.

Two giving opportunities – Preventive Medicine Fund and Endowment for Preventive Medicine Lectureship – will provide current funds to develop the program and endowment funds to sustain the program for generations to follow. Donate to the Preventive Medicine Program today!

To learn more about the Campaign for Scholarships and Innovation, contact Marise Garofalo, vice president for Institutional Advancement, at 570-207-3689 or email

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Preventive Medicine Lecture Series

Special thanks to our co-host The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education.

Upcoming lectures

Michael Baime, MD
Join us on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, 5:30 p.m., to learn about “Mindfulness for Life” featuring Michael Baime, MD, director of Penn Program for Mindfulness, University of Pennsylvania Health System. Register here.

Past lectures

Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., MD
The inaugural Preventive Medicine lecture was held on April 20, 2016, with Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., MD, author and advocate of a whole-foods, plant-based diet. If you missed the presentation – “The Nutritional Reversal of Cardiovascular Disease: Fact or Fiction?” – watch Dr. Esselstyn's lecture online.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell
Dr. T. Colin Campbell presented “Why is Nutrition Ignored in Medicine?” at Geisinger Commonwealth on November 30, 2016. Dr. Campbell is the coauthor of the best-selling book The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health, and author of the New York Times bestseller Whole, and The Low-Carb Fraud. He is the founder of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and the online Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate in partnership with eCornell. Watch Dr. Campbell's lecture online.

Doug Lisle, PhD
Doug Lisle, PhD, renewed evolutionary psychology, presented “The Psychology of Healthy Eating and the Pleasure Trap” on April 26, 2017. Dr. Lisle shared his experience and insights into behavior change, specifically how certain factors can affect your desires and behaviors. He is the founder of a new method of approaching human psychology and wellbeing. He describes this approach as Esteem Dynamics, whose core insights are adapted from a revolutionary biological approach to psychology. Watch Dr. Lisle's lecture online

Kim Williams, MD 
Kim Williams, MD, is the chief of cardiology at Rush University Medical Center and past president of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Williams presented his lecture – “Taking the Die out of Diet” – on Oct. 5, 2017 at Geisinger Commonwealth. Watch Dr. Williams' lecture online.

Gail A. Cresci, PhD
Gail A. Cresci, PhD, Pediatric Institute & Lerner Research Institute, Departments of Gastroenterology & Pathobiology, Cleveland Clinic, presented "The Gut Microbiome and Health: How Tending to the Health of Your Gut Microbiota Improves Overall Health" on April 18, 2018. Watch Dr. Cresci's lecture online.

Future lectures

Our Preventive Medicine Lecture Series is meant to improve your wellbeing. If you have suggestions for future topics, email us at