Student
    placeholder

    New Program Gives Students Clinical Experience

    Five area college students are gaining clinical exposure and an inside look at medical school thanks to a new program at was designed to increase the chances for talented local students to gain acceptance to medical school and to remain in the region to care for their neighbors. Seen from left are Mahad Muhammad, University of Scranton student; Geisinger surgeon, Erin Miller, DO; program founder, Michelle Schmude, Ed.D., GCSOM’s associate dean for admissions, enrollment management and financial aid and associate professor; Christina Carachilo, University of Scranton student; Parita Ray, University of Scranton student; Katherine (Kate) Musto, University of Scranton student; Michael Kovalick, Wilkes University student; and program founder and University of Scranton alumnus, Joseph Bannon, MD, a Geisinger surgeon and clinical faculty member at GCSOM.
    July 25, 2019

    Four University of Scranton students are among the five area college students gaining clinical exposure and an inside look at medical school thanks to a new program at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM). The Abigail Geisinger Pre-Medical Clinical Experiences Program was designed to be another way to increase the chances for talented local students to gain acceptance to medical school and to remain in the region to care for their neighbors.

    University of Scranton alumnus Joseph Bannon, MD, a surgeon and clinical faculty member at GCSOM created the program with Michelle Schmude, Ed.D., GCSOM’s associate dean for admissions, enrollment management and financial aid and associate professor.

     “Geisinger is very much committed to our community and an important part of our mission is education,” Dr. Bannon said. “This program allows us to provide some of the best and brightest local college students and aspiring physicians a valuable clinical experience. At the same time, it enables us to showcase to our future physicians at an early age, the latest in medical innovation and technology and some of what the Geisinger Health System has to offer right here at home.”

    Clinical experiences, including shadowing, are an essential element to a successful medical school application.

    “To be competitive, a medical school applicant has to demonstrate a sincere interest in medicine, which typically means direct and indirect exposure to medicine. It’s very difficult for students to cold call physicians in the hopes one will agree to provide that experience. Physician shadowing is just one of the things our program will provide, along with structured sessions on topics like financial aid for medical school, the business of medicine and the intricacies of AMCAS, the American Medical College Application Service,” Dr. Schmude said.

    The five-week program began July 8. Students attend the program daily and are assigned attending physicians at Geisinger Community Medical Center for shadowing and mentoring. The intent is to expose participants to a wide range of medical specialties. The students will also have the opportunity to attend regular conferences like Tumor Board, where physicians discuss interesting medical cases. Prior to accessing clinical areas, the students received rigorous training in HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding personal medical information.

    Selection to the program is competitive. The students chosen must live in the counties within Geisinger’s footprint, be enrolled at one of three participating universities (King’s College, Wilkes University or The University of Scranton) and be academically qualified. “The most important qualification in choosing participants, however, is how well the student aligns with Geisinger’s mission, so we really look for a commitment to service, particularly a desire to serve our local communities,” Dr. Schmude said.

    The four University students chosen to be among the first participants in the Abigail Geisinger Pre-Medical Clinical Experiences Program are listed below.

    Parita Ray of Scranton is a junior biology major at the University. She agreed that the program’s mission resonates with her and said, “It’s also an amazing chance to shadow different specialties within medicine. I was having difficulty finding shadowing experiences just by calling myself, so I am very excited to take part in this program.”

    Christina Carachilo of Carbondale is a sophomore neuroscience major at the University and, as an emergency medical technician (EMT), she already has some clinical experience. “I am with a patient until we drop them off at the Emergency Department,” she said. “I am really eager to see what happens after our patients go through those doors. I want to see the next step.”

    Katherine (Kate) Musto of Pittston, is a senior biology major and full-tuition Presidential Scholar at the University. She has strong ties to GCSOM, having one brother now attending the school and another who graduated from GCSOM and is now a practicing primary care physician in West Wyoming. “I want to be a doctor practicing in my own community,” she said. “That’s why this program was such a draw for me.”

    Mahad Muhammad of Mountain Top is a biology major at Scranton. “I’ve worked as a volunteer at Ultra Urgent and Family Care in Kingston, but mostly I only see the business side of medicine. I am looking forward to witnessing patient interactions and to be in room when medicine is practiced,” he said.

    Back to Top