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Geisinger Commonwealth Day - Honoring our past, embracing our future. Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine

Geisinger Commonwealth Day

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Honoring our past, embracing our future.

A brief history of Geisinger Commonwealth

  • 2004 – 2008: The “Founding Seven” begin talks about launching a medical school in Scranton. The “seven” include Charles Bannon, MD; Gerald Tracy, MD; Robert Wright, MD; Robert Naismith, PhD; Gerald Joyce; Atty. Mark Perry and Atty. Michael Costello. Their efforts secure the aid of area medical, business, financial, media, academic and political leaders.
  • 2006: A feasibility study is published by Tripp Umbach with an executive report titled, “A Roadmap for Medical Renewal and Economic Development.” It anticipates a medical school will yield 123 faculty members and 360 students with a $46 million annual local economic impact. The proposed school’s goals are to improve healthcare in the region, provide positive economic growth and increase educational opportunities for area residents.
  • 2007: The founding principles of the new medical school are finalized:
    • Distributive model of medical education using three regional campuses
    • Clinical education to begin during the first year of the curriculum
    • Clinical experience providing students with training in an interprofessional setting
    • Emphasis on selecting students with a propensity for community service
    • A research program focused on the healthcare concerns of the region
  • 2007: Application for accreditation submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Degree-granting status is awarded in October 2008.
  • 2008: Preliminary accreditation received from Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). Recruitment efforts for the charter class of 2013 result in 1,300 applications. And the first group of 13 MBS students completes their degrees in May 2010.
  • 2011: Medical Sciences Building on Pine Street opens. The first administrative offices of what was then The Commonwealth Medical College are in the Penn Security Bank building in downtown Scranton. Lackawanna College’s Tobin Hall is later used in conjunction with the bank offices. Once the 2009 classes of MD and MBS students arrive, Lackawanna College serves as the teaching site for the next two years. Lackawanna College and The University of Scranton provides research space prior to the opening of the medical sciences building in 2011.
  • 2014: The school receives full accreditation from both LCME and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The school will later again receive full accreditation from both bodies in 2019 for the maximum terms allowed.
  • 2017: Integration with Geisinger begins: 
    • Record numbers of our students now pursue research, many in Geisinger’s innovative programs.
    • A growing number of our graduates match to Geisinger residency programs.
    • Hundreds of Geisinger physicians now have faculty appointments at the medical school, and each year more and more of them become actively engaged in teaching our students.
    • Institute chairs now serve as departmental chairs in the medical school, furthering opportunities for basic science faculty and clinical faculty to work together to create a learning environment that produces physicians shaped in the Geisinger mold of care for the whole person. 
  • 2018: The Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program, an innovative approach to growing the primary care and psychiatry physician pipeline, is announced. The program accepts up to 45 students per class, helping them attend medical school with no tuition debt and a monthly stipend in exchange for a promise to work as a Geisinger physician after residency.
  • 2020: The School of Graduate Education moves classes online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Geisinger Commonwealth also enrolls 142 MBS students, larger than the charter MBS graduating class of 2010. 
  • 2021: Dr. Julie Byerley is named new president, dean and chief academic officer.
  • 2022: Geisinger College of Health Sciences is formed, an umbrella organization that encompasses our degree-granting programs (Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Geisinger School of Graduate Education and Geisinger School of Nursing), research, graduate medical education and all academic programs at Geisinger. 
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