- To ring in the New Year, Geisinger Health System CEO Dr. David T. Feinberg announced the opening of The Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine in Scranton, PA, at 12:01 AM. The school debuts with programs that focus on improving community welfare and population health management while training a new generation of providers in the techniques and strategies of precision medicine.*
Editor's note: The "new" Geisinger medical school follows the recent regulatory approval an integration agreement between Geisinger Health System and The Commonwealth Medical College.
Feinberg believes that integrating the healthcare delivery system with the medical school environment can benefit both those involved with the school as well as local community health.
“This significant and highly anticipated integration will benefit more than just our patients, students, faculty and employees. It will benefit the health of our entire community, both literal and financial,” he said in a press release.
The Geisinger Commonwealth School looks to create one of the first community-based medical schools with deep commitments to population health. These commitments include the launch of the Springboard Healthy Scranton project to bring national and community leaders from several industries together to address the social determinates of health. The project will develop community-based partnerships to improve access to healthy dietary choices, and develop enrichment programs for disadvantaged youth.
Medical school students participating in the Springboard initiative will gain a more thorough understanding of patient challenges in the community, added Feinberg, and will aid the development of ongoing collaborations.
“Not only are students already required to work on projects that address specific health needs of the community, the college itself maintains an impressive network of community partnerships, which we fully intend to nurture and maintain,” he said.
In addition to population health initiatives focused on socioeconomic issues, the new school will leverage Geisinger’s existing expertise in precision medicine and medical research.
As the owner’s of one of the largest genomic biobanking and precision medicine databases, MyCode, Geisinger is looking to use that resource to build a Graduate Studies Program where the next generation of genomic experts will help shape the future of precision medicine and the future of medicine as a whole.
“Our vision for the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine includes a thriving School of Graduate Studies where new master's degree programs will train the next wave of genomic scientists,” said Feinberg. “Additional degrees leveraging the health system's unique capabilities will include information technology and population health to prepare students for fascinating careers – some yet to be imagined—across the vast spectrum of healthcare.”
Feinberg believes the future looks bright for The Geisinger Commonwealth Medical College and the well-being of the community of Scranton.
“Any scientist eager to access the world's largest collection of bio genomic data will seek us out,” he said. “Any student serious about learning how medicine will be practiced in the future will hope for a Geisinger Commonwealth acceptance letter. Any patient who once believed Philadelphia was the epicenter of advanced medicine will turn the car around and head back north on the turnpike.”
“Perhaps most importantly, because our work is in, of and for the community, we believe together we will build stronger families and neighborhoods, making northeastern Pennsylvania not only richer in jobs and resources, but in health and wellbeing too.”