In Memoriam

We honor the memory of the following individuals who played instrumental roles in Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (Geisinger Commonwealth) community. 


AxlerIM DAVID AXLER, PhD, ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR STUDENT AFFAIRS
Dr. David Axler served as Geisinger Commonwealth’s Associate Dean for Student Affairs from 2009 to 2012, overseeing the recruitment of our first three classes. In addition, he served as Professor of Microbiology and Immunology. Dr. Axler had over 40 years of academic medical experience, including teaching microbiology and immunology to health professions students.

BinderIM LOUIS BINDER, MD, FOUNDING ASSOCIATE DEAN OF STUDENT AFFAIRS
Dr. Binder had a distinguished career in academic emergency medicine. He was the fifth President of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) and was instrumental in the founding of its well-regarded journal, Academic Emergency Medicine. He was a teacher and mentor to many medical students and emergency medicine residents at several medical schools. At Geisinger Commonwealth, he contributed to preparations for our charter class and was known for his enthusiasm for our mission and commitment to medical student education.

FRONCZKIEWICZIM SHARON E. FRONCZKIEWICZ, ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
Mrs. Sharon Fronczkiewicz was Administrative Assistant for the Associate Dean of Technology & CIO supporting the operations for the Department of Informational Technology Services from 2009 to 2012. Each and every day she demonstrated her dedication and commitment to Geisinger Commonwealth and was an invaluable member of the LCME accreditation team. Sharon was seen as more than a colleague but a dear friend and confidant to the entire ITS department.

MillerIM MARK MILLER, PhD, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ANATOMY
Dr. Mark Miller was one of the earliest faculty members at Geisinger Commonwealth, serving from 2009-2010. Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1975, Dr. Miller eventually left baseball and returned to college to pursue an academic career. Dr. Miller was an accomplished anatomist who often pushed medical students to greater levels of understanding in the Gross Anatomy Lab.

Patel_AC-IM ASHOKKUMAR C. (A.C.) PATEL, MD EDUCATION DIRECTOR FOR PSYCHIATRY
Dr. Patel was a key leader in Psychiatry for the region, serving as the Medical Director of the Scranton Counseling Center, the Community Medical Center behavioral health unit, and the Sleep Lab of Northeastern Pennsylvania. He was a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Board of Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Board of Sleep Medicine. He served as a past president of the Northeast Chapter of the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society and enjoyed actively contributing to the scholarly aspects of his discipline through presentations and clinical trials participation. At Geisinger Commonwealth, he was an early clinical faculty member and in 2010 was named the Education Director in Psychiatry. In this role, he led the establishment of the clinical curriculum in Psychiatry for the longitudinal integrated clerkship and for the MD4 year. His leadership was also instrumental in the development of the behavioral sciences curriculum in the preclinical years.

OBrien RICHARD O’BRIEN, MD, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AND FACULTY ADVISOR OF Geisinger Commonwealth’S EMERGENCY MEDICINE INTEREST GROUP
Dr. O’Brien was an emergency physician at Tyler Memorial Hospital in Tunkhannock and at an urgent care center in Wilkes-Barre. He was the medical director of the EMS program at Luzerne County Community College. Dr. O’Brien was a spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians, and was a recipient of the group’s Communications Lifetime Achievement Award. He also wrote a monthly column, “Tales from the ER” for the magazine Bottom Line Health.

Dr. O’Brien was as passionate about teaching as he was about Geisinger Commonwealth, which he called “a phenomenal institution.” He said he taught because of “the joy of seeing students evolve into doctors.”


SidariIM

JENNIFER SIDARI, MD ’13, CHARTER CLASS GRADUATE
Just weeks after Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine celebrated its first ever MD graduation ceremony, one of its promising new doctors, Jennifer Sidari, passed away unexpectedly on May 29, 2013, leaving a tremendous void where her extraordinary talent, passion, and ambition should have been. A member of Geisinger Commonwealth’s charter class and a graduate of the University of Scranton, Jennifer was a compassionate and joyful friend, classmate, and doctor who deeply cared for the welfare of others and worked tirelessly for their benefit.Locally, Jennifer volunteered at the Care and Concern Clinic in Pittston, Pennsylvania. She operated a pediatric clinic in Haiti this past spring and had also taken trips to South Africa and Oakland, California to work with HIV-infected children. Set to begin her residency training in pediatrics at the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital in Danville, Pennsylvania in early June, Jennifer always loved children and was anxious to make a difference as a pediatrician. Despite her shortened life, Jennifer was already recognized for her accomplishments. She was nominated by the American Medical Association for its Physicians of Tomorrow Award, and Geisinger Commonwealth honored her with its Global Pride Award, established in memory of Jennifer’s mentor, Dr. Raymond Smego. While she received many accolades, Jennifer will most be remembered for her selflessness, her smile, and her loving spirit.

Jennifer is survived by her parents, two siblings, her fiancé, and many extended family members, all of whom hope Jennifer’s life’s work will be continued by her Geisinger Commonwealth classmates. The Jennifer Sidari, M.D., Scholarship Fund was established at Geisinger Commonwealth in her memory. Donations may be sent to the Development Office, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, 525 Pine St., Scranton, PA 18509.


SmegoIM RAYMOND SMEGO, MD, ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Dr. Raymond Smego was a Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Educational Development at Geisinger Commonwealth during our critical founding years from 2008-2012. Dr. Smego had a distinguished career in international academic medicine spanning over three decades. He was a noted expert in medical education, global health, and infectious diseases.

Click here to make a gift in memory of any member of the Geisinger Commonwealth family.