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College of
Health Sciences

John L. Szarek, PhD, CHSE

Vice Chair of Curriculum
Education Director for Simulation
Professor and Director of Clinical Pharmacology
Department of Medical Education
Research & Scholarship
North Campus

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Medical Sciences Building
525 Pine St.
Office 3053
Scranton, PA 18509
Fax: 570-504-9663

John L. Szarek, BPharm, PhD, CHSE

Research interests

John L. Szarek, BPharm, PhD, CHSE, is professor of pharmacology, director of clinical pharmacology and vice chair of curriculum at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. He also is education director for simulation at Geisinger Commonwealth and is a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator. Dr. Szarek received his PhD in pharmaceutical sciences from University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, a bachelor of science in pharmacy from University of Illinois Chicago College of Pharmacy and a bachelor of science in biology from University of Illinois Urbana.

Prior to joining Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s faculty, Dr. Szarek spent 16 years on the faculty at Marshall University School of Medicine where he was actively involved in scientific research which resulted in numerous articles.

He spent five years in Dominica as the chair of pharmacology at Ross University School of Medicine. There he started and ran the simulation program for the second-year medical students. Dr. Szarek came to Geisinger Commonwealth from A. T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona where he was professor of pharmacology and director of human simulation.

Dr. Szarek has participated in many workshops on teaching and learning including two sponsored by the Harvard Macy Institute. Dr. Szarek received additional training in communication and teamwork and is a master trainer in Team Strategies & Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS). Dr. Szarek is one of the leaders of the interprofessional education (IPE) curriculum thread and has been actively involved in developing and leading IPE activities, including the use of simulation.

His interests focus on the use of technology in medical education. He has conducted workshops for medical school faculty on the local and national level on several topics including facilitating small group sessions, the use of simulation in medical education, question writing, flipped classrooms and presentation skills. Dr. Szarek is co-director of the Pharmacology Education Project, a web resource of the International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology.

Recent publications

Refereed publications (education-related)

  • Quesnelle K, Zaveri N, Schneid S, Blumer JB, Szarek JL, Kruidering M, Lee MW. Commentary: The Importance of Collaboratively Designing Pharmacology Education Programs. Pharmacol Res Perspect. 2021; 9:e00762. (
  • Quesnelle K, Zaveri N, Schneid S, Blumer JB, Szarek JL, Kruidering M, Lee MW. Design of a Foundational Sciences Curriculum: Applying the ICAP Framework to Pharmacology Education in Integrated Medical Curricula. Pharmacology Research & Perspectives 11 May 2021 (
  • Dong C, Szarek JL, Reed T. The Flipped Classroom and Simulation: A Primer for Simulation Educators. Med Sci Educ 2020; 30:1627–1632.
  • Piper BJ, et al. A Quantitative and Narrative Evaluation of Goodman and Gilman’s Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. Pharmacy 2020; 8:1-20.
  • Szarek JL, Cho Y, Waite GN, Mentoring Basic Science Faculty Using the Novel CSW Framework. In Mentoring in Health Professions Education: Evidence-Informed Strategies, edited by Fornari A, Shah D. Springer, 2021.
  • Jeffries WB, Huggett KN, Szarek, JL. Flipping the Classroom. In An Introduction to Medical Teaching, 3rd Edition edited by Huggett KD,
  • Jeffries WB, Quesnelle K. Springer, 2021. Jeffries WB, Huggett KN, Szarek, JL. Lectures. In A Practical Guide for Medical Teachers 6e edited by Dent JA, Harden RM, and Hunt D. Elsevier, Canada 2021.
  • Kozmenko V, Kozmenko L, Szarek JL, Kaye A. Simulation in Remote Areas. In  Clinical Simulation: Education, Operations, and Engineering 2e edited by Chiniara G. Academic Press, London 2019.
  • Faccenda E, Maxwell S, Szarek JL. The IUPHAR Pharmacology Education Project. Clin Pharm Therap 2019; 106:45-48.
  • Szarek JL, Boardman JM, White M, Holt JT. Integrated and flipped: 5 Year’s experience of integrating active learning in an integrated course. Med Sci Educ 2016; 26: 159-167.
  • Holt JT, Szarek JL. Organ Recitals: A large group active learning technique. In IAMSE Manuals: How-to guide for active learning. Edited by A. Fornari (Hofstra North Shore School of Medicine) and A. Poznanski (California Northstate University College of Medicine), IAMSE, Leiden, Netherlands and WV, USA, 2015.
  • Holt JT, Ghormoz, J, Sung Y-J, White MV, Szarek JL. Medical Student Benefit from Learning Objectives Correlates to Specific Myers-Briggs Types. Medical Science Educator 2015, 10.1007/s40670-015-0133-7.
  • Foote EF, Clarke V, Szarek JL, Waters SK, Walline V, Shea D, Goss S, Farrell M, Easton D, Dunleavy E, Arscott K. Development and Evaluation of a Regional, Large-Scale Interprofessional Collaborative Care Summit. Journal of Allied Health. 2015; 44(2): 23E-28E.
  • Holt JT, Ghormoz J, Sung Y-J, Szarek JL, White MW. Targeting Pedagogies for Appropriate Learners: Downloading Learning Objectives Increases Exam Scores for Men. Med Science Educ. 2015; 25: 45-51.
  • Szarek JL, Manetti W, Zielinski D, Heckman C, Shea D, Arscott K, Pellegrino A, Triano M, Spelman D. Trials and Tribulations in the Development of a Simulation-Based Interprofessional Education Activity. Med Sci Educ 2013; 23(3S): 542-553.
  • Foote E, Szarek JL, Arscott K, Brady J, Clarke V, Easton D, Farrell M, Goss S, Walline V, Waters S. A Large Scale, Collaborative Care Summit to Promote Interprofessional Learning: Ischemic Stroke. MedEdPORTAL; 2013. Available from:
  • Olenick M, Foote E, Vanston P, Szarek JL, Vaskalis Z, Dimattio MJ, Smego R. A regional model of interprofessional education. Advances in Medical Education and Practice 2011; 2:17–23.
  • Jeffries W, McMahon, KK, Rosenfeld GC, Strandhoy JW, Szarek JL, Wilson-Delfosse A. Pharmacology – in the Face of Revisiting Flexner’s View Of Medical Education. JIAMSE, 2010; 20(3):288–292.
  • Jeffries W, Szarek JL. Tag This Article! Today’s learners and the use of Web 2.0 in teaching. Molecular Interventions, 2010; 10:60–64.
  • Winston I, Szarek JL. Problem-based learning using a human patient simulator. Medical Education 2005, 39:526–527.Szarek JL, Winston I. Human Patient Simulators in Medical Students’ Preclinical Curriculum. In Integrating technology in higher education. Edited by M.O. Thirunarayanan (University Graduate School at Florida International University) and Aixa Perez-Prado (College of Education at Florida International University), University Press of America, Lanham MD, 2005.

Selected invited/peer-reviewed presentations

  • Szarek JL, Horsley L, Callendar D, Reed T. Designing simulation-enhanced interprofessional education: Application of a 6-step model. IAMSE 2021 virtual conference, June 2021
  • Szarek JL, Cho Y, Waite GN. Quantitative Educational Methodologies. 11th Annual Our Mission to Teach Educational Scholarship: Making Your Work Count Twice. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Geisinger Health System, Danville, PA, USA, Feb 27, 2020.
  • Szarek JL, Reed T, Horsley TL, Guthridge J, Callender D. Designing simulation-based interprofessional education for novice to experienced teams. Workshop, IMSH 2020, San Diego CA, Jan 2020.
  • Shoemaker M, Woll N, Thompsom M, Slampak-Cindric A, Szarek J. Building Competencies in Health Professions: The Patient Safety Curricular Resource. Podium presentation, ABMS Conference 2019, Chicago IL, September 2019.
  • Quesnelle KM, Kruidering M, Zaveri N, Blumer J, Schneid S, Szarek JL, Lee M. Themes and Threads, Oh My: Managing a Longitudinal Discipline Across an Integrated Curriculum. Focus Session IAMSE 2019, Roanoke VA, June 2019.
  • Szarek JL, Reed T, Horsley TL, Manetti W, Callender D. Designing simulation-based interprofessional education for novice to experienced teams. Workshop, IMSH 2019, San Antonio TX, Jan 2019
  • Szarek JL, Waite G, Borham K, Parmelee D, J Moore. To attend or not to attend, should that be a question? Class Attendance in the Age of Active Learning and Flipped Classrooms. Problem Solving Session, TGME 2018, Austin TX, Nov 2018.
  • Szarek JL. Taxonomy and structure of the Pharmacology Education Project website; part of symposium, Introducing the IUPHAR Pharmacology Education Project - WCP2018, Kyoto Japan, July 2018.
  • Szarek JL. Interprofessional Education: An overview and approaches to IPE in health professions education. WCP2018, Kyoto Japan, July 2018.
  • Reed T, Horsley L, Quinones D, Szarek J, Dong C. Applying the flipped classroom model to interprofessional simulation. Collaborating Across Borders VI, 1-4 October 2017, Banff, Alberta Canada.
  • Szarek JL, Gnecco S, Callender D. M. Sheakley. Strategies for Implementing Simulation in Preclinical Medical Education. Podium presentation, IMSH 2017, Orlando FL, Jan 2017.
  • Szarek JL, Zalon M, Subasic K, Arscott K, Callender D. Developing an Interprofessional Simulation-Based Learning Activity for Health Professions Students. Podium presentation, IAMSE 2016, Netherlands.
  • IAMSE Symposium – Flipping the Classroom: Imperative or Passing Fad? Huggett KN, Szarek JL, Richards B, Jeffries WB. AMEE Glasgow Scotland September 2015
  • Active Learning 2.0: The Flipped Course. University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington VT, 29 April 2016.
  • Internet-based solutions to alleviate shortages of pharmacology faculty in developing countries. Symposium Co-chair. Question writing for any occasion: Use of questions in assessment and learning. WCP2014, Cape Town SA
  • Interprofessional Education. Part of a pecha kucha presentation sponsored by the IPE Affinity Group, IMSH 2014, San Francisco CA, 28 January 2014.
  • Preparing learning people: Don’t be afraid . . . you can do it. Plenary presentation and workshop as part of the 2014 Spring Symposium and Faculty Development Day-Active Learning: Teaching based on Learning. Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans LA, 2 April 2014
  • Transformations driving changes in medical education: What we can do to adapt. Seminar presented at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany, 21 June 2013


Bachelor in Pharmacy – University of Illinois College of Pharmacy, Chicago, IL
Bachelor in Biology – University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
PhD – University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, Lexington, KY

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