Imagine being free to serve the communities you love, working in a system driven by kindness, excellence, learning and innovation — without the burden of medical school debt. The Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program relieves the burden, giving you the opportunity to pursue your dreams without worry.
Table of contents Introduction .................................................................................................... 1 Scholar spotlight: Frank Monney, MBS ’19 2 Plans for healthier communities 3 Scholar spotlight: SooYoung VanDeMark, MBS ’20 5 Unique, primary-care focused programs 6 Scholar spotlight: Tyler Schubert ......................................................... 7 Primary Care 3+3 Accelerated Program 8 Apply 9 Scholar spotlight: Shauna Wassmus back cover
Medical students like you share the same dream: A career that builds lifelong personal relationships with patients and places you at the center of your community as a trusted source of knowledge and compassion.
Geisinger supports the ideals of its future doctors by putting primary care and psychiatry where they belong — at the forefront of every innovation and technological advance we make. Through the Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program, we back that pledge with relief from all medical school tuition and fees, as well as a $2,000 per month stipend during your years at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.
The Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program: What happens when better health is built on primary care?
Growing up in Cameroon, Frank Monney learned to connect doctors and hospitals with death and trauma.
As a Black man in medicine, I realized that Geisinger is encouraging diversity in all aspects. It’s not just lip service; it shows through every activity. The school celebrates, encourages and understands the value of diversity in healthcare. I felt it from the first day of my master’s program — that Geisinger wants to do right by its community and its people — and I continue to feel it today as a medical student.”
Frank Monney, MBS ’19
“I had several close relatives die for lack of access to care at the most basic level,” he said, noting his early negative impressions had persuaded him to avoid medicine as a career.
To prepare for medical school, Frank chose first to get a master’s degree in biomedical sciences from Geisinger. That’s when he fell in love with Geisinger and its approach to medicine. “While I was a graduate student, I got involved in a lot of community service.
“I learned that medicine doesn’t always have all the answers, but doctors and scientists never stop looking for them. It was a big turning point for me.”
Citing programs like the school’s annual cultural bazaars and community immersion projects, Frank said there was only one place he wanted to go for medical school. “I like to be involved in my own community. I like being a mentor and role model for youth in the area. I want to stay here and do more,” he said. That is also why Frank applied for the Abigail Geisinger Scholars program and is looking forward to his future as a physician in Geisinger’s region. “Geisinger Commonwealth is young, but just look at the strides it’s made already. There is complete cohesion between the stated mission and the developed programs. Geisinger truly is concerned with the health of its population, and I want to be a part of that.”
Frank’s love of science led him to study biological sciences with a concentration in STEM education at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where — fortunately — positive research experiences changed his mind. “I conducted research with a shadowing component at the University of Connecticut,” he said.
‘Geisinger lives its mission. I want to be a part of that.’
In 2017, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s Richard Levin, MD, offered a blunt observation: “Doctors enter the profession to help and care for humans,” he said. “They do not sign up to be scribes or billing agents.” His statement struck at the heart of what plagues modern medicine, and particularly primary care and psychiatry — namely, inefficiencies and bureaucratic barriers that frustrate both doctor and patient and make good healthcare anything but easy.
Geisinger’s plans for healthier communities
Thanks to Geisinger’s redesign of primary care, a team led by J. Edward Hartle, MD, chief medical officer, has restored the bond between primary care doctor and patient that should be at the heart of good health. According to Dr. Hartle, the redesign had two simple goals: to make primary care a joy to practice for doctors and to ramp up the level of care patients received in primary care settings. For patients, this means more intermediate care services, such as IV infusions, and behavioral health services available right in the clinic.
For physicians, primary care redesign removed excessive administrative burdens that negatively affect provider Today,well-being.Geisinger’s transformed clinics are frustrationfree zones staffed by interdisciplinary teams that make primary care easier for patients and more rewarding for doctors. For example, patients long annoyed by having “homework” like getting lab work or a prescription handed to them after a visit can now get all these services and more in one visit.
Everyone has more time with their doctor, and seniors even get things like social activities and a gym at special Geisinger 65 Forward Health Centers. And the physician inbox that once nagged clinicians with constant electronic chatter is now a responsibility shared among team members.
“When I started my career, before primary care redesign, it was up to the physician to get everything done for the patient,” said Kim Kovalick, DO, a family medicine physician at Geisinger Kingston. “Now, we have a care team that collaborates in the care of our patients. From the moment I walk in the door, I have many team members who help me provide great care. For example, a nurse will give recommended immunizations before I even walk in the room. They order blood work and preventive screenings such as mammograms and DEXA/bone density tests. We can take more time with patients with complicated medical conditions and have a team approach to make sure the patient has all the resources they need.”
She added, “If patients have multiple medical problems — congestive heart failure or diabetes, for example — we have case managers who can help educate them about their disease process. We also have dietitians and medical pharmacists to help educate our patients. All these team members have helped to not only reduce physician burnout, but also improve overall care.”
Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program creates a student community focused on doing good
SooYoung VanDeMark, MBS ’20
SooYoung gets from learning in a 65 Forward clinic, she said her own well-being benefits from the Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program. “Not having that crushing debt and receiving the monthly stipend really do help your mental health. And, in my class, there are 44 other scholars. It’s nice to be among other students who have the same attitudes as I do about genuinely doing good in our immediate community. We all say that on our applications, but sometimes you wonder if people will continue on that path. The scholars program keeps us on track and reinforces that as we progress in our education and experiences. Being a part of the scholars program is one of my favorite things about Geisinger Commonwealth.”
“I got into it late,” she said. “And a lot of it had to do with watching the ways in which my grandparents died.”
For SooYoung VanDeMark, medicine is a second career.
Her grandmother received hospice care while her grandfather died in a hospital against his wishes. “He didn’t want to die in a hospital, but my parents didn’t know what to do. To this day, my dad has regrets.”
That experience and the fact that her own parents are now retired and navigating the health system inspired SooYoung to pursue medicine with a particular interest in primary care. “I am passionate about the older population,” she said. “As a society, we really push older people aside.” That’s why she specifically asked for her longitudinal clinical experience (LCE) to take place at 65 Forward, Geisinger’s clinics designed for older patients. “From the moment you step into 65 Forward, it doesn’t feel like a medical facility,” she said. “Even in the waiting room, a patient stopped to chat with me — it’s so much better than a regular waiting room where everyone seems pressed for time. Pharmacists, health coaches, doctors, nurses and staff are all in a communal workspace. It’s easy for them to communicate and coordinate with each other and interact with the patient. And everyone knows who the patients are. There’s no rush. They have longer appointments. Everything about it just feels better, like this is the way medicine is meant to be Alongdelivered.”withthesatisfaction
MyCode Community Health Initiative
We immerse our students in these unique, primarycare-focused programs:
In 2019, 82% of our first-year Abigail Geisinger Scholars took part in clinical research, studying everything from vaccine hesitancy in a federally qualified health center to barriers to care resulting in “no shows” for disadvantaged urban populations.
Geisinger at Home™
Research centered around primary care
Fresh Food Farmacy®
Teams of doctors, nurses, dietitians, social workers and other medical professionals help keep patients with difficult-tomanage cases healthier and better connected to care by delivering it right to their doorstep.
LIFE Geisinger LIFE Geisinger is a program for adults 55 and older designed to give patients the support they need to live at home independently while using comprehensive daily living and health services. An experienced team coordinates care based on individual needs, offering caregivers relief and support.
Geisinger 65 Forward These primary care clinics are tailored to meet the unique needs of those age 65+. People get longer appointments, social activities, wellness classes and VIP-level, personalized care. Everything the patient needs is under one roof in a calm, relaxing environment. That’s what makes these sites more like a spa than a clinic.
This program offers nutritious groceries for eligible patients referred by their physician to help better control their diabetes in light of food insecurity. The program also supplies food for the patients’ families. Eligible patients and their families can enjoy better health, which is a priority for Geisinger.
This precision-medicine project analyzes the DNA of registered patient-participants, improving healthcare by finding ways to diagnose medical conditions earlier — even before symptoms appear — and developing new ways to manage these diseases.
Tyler Schubert Student researcher: MyCode and primary care led me to Geisinger
“The Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program was the most notable factor that drew me to Geisinger. I like that the health system is committed to solving the physician maldistribution problem. However, MyCode was the second determining factor,” he said, referring to the system’s precision medicine project and its biobank of more than 300,000 participants. Now accepted to both the Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program and the school’s Medical Research Honors Program, Tyler is working on an NIH NHLBI-funded study on familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) with Laney Jones, PharmD, MPH. The purpose of the study is to build awareness and systems that will encourage clinicians to screen patients early for FH, a genetic condition that affects one in 250 people and can cause onset of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease at a young age if not treated.
Tyler Schubert had a solid medical school application — a degree from Franklin and Marshall College, experience working in a behavioral health hospital and basic science research experience in labs at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine.
Tyler is helping Dr. Jones’ implementation science team analyze qualitative data from clinician interviews and direct observations and synthesizing it “so we know where the pain points are in moving FH screening into the primary care setting,” Dr. Jones said. “From our talks, I know Tyler wants to do med-peds and incorporate genomics into his practice. Geisinger is one of the best places to do this kind of work. And because he is an Abigail Geisinger Scholar, our study directly relates to the work he will do when he comes back to Geisinger after residency. He’s making great connections here and learning how we use genomics to facilitate better health. It all seems like a perfect fit.”
Abigail Geisinger Scholars accepted to the Primary Care 3 + 3 Accelerated Program complete medical school in three years, followed by a three-year Family Medicine Residency at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital, a three-year Kistler Family Medicine Residency at Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre or a threeyear Internal Medicine Residency at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.
Longitudinal Clinical Experience (LCE) at participating residencies early in the curriculum summer immersion program with participating residencies Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) during clerkship in either Family Medicine or Internal Medicine meet all medical education program objectives
Primary Care Accelerated Program medical school and residency in 6 years
Rigorous programming aimed at time efficiency and robust experiences Advising and mentoring by primary care physicians and residents Peer collaboration and fellowship Direct progression into the Family Medicine Residency at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital, the Kistler Family Medicine Residency at Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre or the Internal Medicine Residency at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center
Accelerated training allows students to earn their medical degree in 3 years immersion/orientation with staff/faculty and our residency programs
This means students in the Primary Care 3 + 3 Accelerated Program enter residency one year earlier than their peers, allowing them to start serving their community sooner. Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center was Hospitals”2022Fortune/Merative’s#9rankedonthe“25TopTeachinglist.
Medical school completion in 3 years
• Receive a $2,000 per month stipend.
Students not selected for the Abigail Geisinger Scholars program will also be considered for regular admission into the MD Program.
Deirdre AssociateJonesDirector of Admissions
• Family medicine
• Internal medicine
Abigail Geisinger Scholars will:
Students are selected to participate in this program based on the following selection criteria: financial need; merit; mission alignment; and likelihood of staying at Geisinger beyond the service obligation.
Interested in applying?
Meet the team
• Complete the question regarding primary care and/or psychiatry and provide any updates to your experiences that align with the Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program.
Kim Kovalick, DO Assistant Dean, Primary Care Anja Landis, MD Director, Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program Admissions
Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program
• Psychiatry Our scholars program frees medical students from the financial concerns that often derail their dreams.
• Answer “yes” to the first question on the Geisinger Commonwealth secondary application regarding interest in applying for the Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program.
Submit an American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®) primary application and Geisinger Commonwealth secondary application.
• Become a Geisinger-employed physician in one of the specialties listed above upon completion of residency training. One year of service equals one year of support, with a two-year minimum.
To learn more, visit geisinger.edu/abigailscholars.
Michelle Schmude, EdD, MBA Associate Dean, Admissions, Enrollment Management and Financial Aid
How the Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program works: Geisinger believes that the future of medicine lies in robust primary care — care that anticipates and prevents disease, focuses on wellness and recognizes mental health and well-being as fundamental to stronger, more resilient communities. That’s why the Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program focuses on the following specialties:
• Graduate without tuition debt.
“I’ve been going to work at the Fresh Food Farmacy,” she said. “It’s so incredible. I’m not just there to pack groceries, I’m meant to think about how people’s lives are affected by things outside of a doctor’s office. And I’ll always keep that in mind and question what else is happening in a patient’s life.”
When it came time to look for a medical school, however, Shauna admits to some feelings of disappointment. “It seemed that so many schools placed a lot of emphasis on metrics like MCAT scores,” she said. “That’s important, but I cared more about the values and beliefs of the school. So, I started to read the mission statements and really looked into how those were being supported. That’s how I found Geisinger Commonwealth and the Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program.”
Geisinger College of Health Sciences 525 Pine Scranton,St.PA 18509 Call: firstname.lastname@example.orgGeisinger.edu/GCSOM570-504-9068
Scholar spotlight 532457-533759-8/22-HD/SL
Shauna Wassmus has immersed herself in community and in service for years. As an undergrad at Boston College, she spent every spring break — not on a Florida beach — but in some of the nation’s most disadvantaged communities. She built houses for Habitat for Humanity and worked in food pantries, tutored in afterschool programs and helped organize clothing drives. As a sophomore, she worked in a Boston healthcare clinic that provided foot care for the homeless population. “We provided foot baths and clean socks. It was amazing to see how transformative this basic care was. People with infections and blisters had their pain relieved and were able to get around a bit better. This is what sparked my interest in primary care,” she said.
Shauna Wassmus a service
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