Mission and history
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine educates aspiring physicians and scientists to serve society using a community-based, patient-centered, interprofessional and evidence-based model of education that is committed to inclusion, promotes discovery and employs innovative techniques.
Originally known as The Commonwealth Medical College, Geisinger Commonwealth was established through the grassroots efforts of visionary people who foresaw what a community-based medical school would bring to the region — then worked to make it a reality.
Known as the “Founding Seven,” they included area physicians Charles Bannon, MD, Gerald Tracy, MD, and Robert Wright, MD; businessmen and community leaders Robert Naismith, PhD, and Gerard Joyce; and attorneys Mark Perry and Michael Costello.
Their vision was to create a unique medical education experience that focused on caring for people in the context of their lives and in their community, with the goal of providing more physicians and improved healthcare resources in rural northeastern and central Pennsylvania — a state with more medically underserved regions than many other states in the U.S.
After acquiring funding from such sources as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and other state, federal and private philanthropic sources, the Commonwealth Medical Education Corporation was formed.
Welcomes first class in 2009
The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) was incorporated in 2008 and welcomed its first class of Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree students and Master of Biomedical Sciences (MBS) degree students in August 2009.
Integrates with Geisinger in 2017
After gaining full accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the Liaison Committee for Medical Education in 2014, TCMC integrated with Geisinger and became known as Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine on Jan. 1, 2017.
Launches College of Health Sciences in 2022
In Sept. of 2022, the academic enterprise at Geisinger came together under the umbrella of Geisinger College of Health Sciences. All educational programs — including the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine; Geisinger School of Graduate Education; Geisinger School of Nursing; Academy of Educators; training programs for fellows, residents, and other learners in the health professions; plus the powerhouse research institute at Geisinger — are aligned under this umbrella.
Geisinger Commonwealth now has regional campuses in five locations that are integral to the college’s community-based education: Atlantic City, Danville, Lewistown/State College, Sayre, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Emphasis on community engagement
Community engagement is part of the fiber of Geisinger Commonwealth. More than 2,400 clinical faculty members throughout the region provide students with early clinical experiences and training across the four years of medical education.
In addition, families throughout the region are generous in allowing students to follow them so they can appreciate the social context and the impact of illness on the lives of patients. Students are required to pursue research projects in quality improvement and community health.
Learn more about our history
We are grateful to Gerald P. Tracy, MD, for authoring an in-depth history of Geisinger Commonwealth’s first 10 years — from discussions about creating a medical college to graduating the second class of medical doctors: The Commonwealth Medical College: A History of the First Ten Years (2004–2014).