Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine is committed to supporting our communities through service. We are indebted to the northeast and central regions for their vision in creating our school of medicine. That debt makes us responsible for ensuring that our collective efforts address the communities’ most pressing needs. We have embedded service to community in our curricula by incorporating Community Health Research Projects (CHRP), our Longitudinal Community Health Investigation projects (L-CHIP) and placing our medical students with community physicians and families. We also require each of our medical students to complete at least 100 hours of service addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) over the course of their four-year medical academic experience. The overall goal of this requirement is to encourage our students’ community engagement by working with community-based organizations and initiatives to address SDOH and improve the community’s overall health by improving their quality of life.
Other goals of this requirement are to enhance students’ medical education through meaningful service-learning experiences, to address community needs and to build relationships and goodwill with our community members, leaders and organizations.
To this end, Geisinger Commonwealth has developed the following guidelines:
- At the beginning of each academic year, Geisinger Commonwealth makes available information pertaining to prominent community needs and area service organizations; however, as interests and passions vary from person to person, we give our students the flexibility to identify their own service projects and organizations.
- Students who voluntarily participate on qualifying internal committees that are critical to Geisinger Commonwealth’s development and future, can dedicate up to 50 hours to institutional service.
- Service hours must be performed within Geisinger Commonwealth’s catchment area in northeast and central Pennsylvania and certain parts of New Jersey.
- Prior to beginning the community service, students must seek approval and complete and submit a non-preceptor or preceptor project application based on the particular social determinant of health the project is addressing.
The student service hour program is administered by and through the vice president of community engagement/chief diversity officer (CDO) and the associate dean for student affairs.
Service opportunity agencies
Northeast and central Pennsylvania are home to hundreds of nonprofit organizations that aid the health and wellness of our communities. Most nonprofit organizations welcome student volunteers for various projects and programs throughout the year. The following is a partial list of organizations in our local communities that welcome Geisinger Commonwealth student volunteers.
- American Cancer Society – Wilkes-Barre
- Better Tomorrows at Village Park Apartments
- Boy Scouts of America
- Boys and Girls Club of NEPA
- Camp Victory
- Care and Concern Clinic
- Friends of the Poor
- Geisinger Community Medical Center (hospital elder life program)
- Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center (cuddling infants)
- Gino J. Merli Veteran's Center
- Habitat for Humanity
- Jewish Community Center
- Lackawanna Blind Association
- Lackawanna County Children's Library
- Lackawanna County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)
- Meals on Wheels of NEPA
- NeighborWorks NEPA
- St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen
- United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA
- Women's Resource Center
For additional information on nonprofit organizations in our area that offer service opportunities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.