Community Engagement & Equity Information

The Office of Government and Community Relations projects largely focus on Geisinger Commonwealth’s core values of respect, collaboration, generosity, partnership, and social responsibility. To date, the department’s external community projects have primarily focused on:

  • service to community
  • development of Geisinger Commonwealth’s Pipeline Program
  • development of Summer Enrichment Research Internship
  • student-led service initiatives

Our diversity projects focus on the advancement of Geisinger Commonwealth’s commitment to diversity and inclusion through the recruitment, admission and retention of highly-qualified female, African American/Black, Latino/Hispanic and Native American students, faculty and staff members. To further encourage graduate retention in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania we also focus on the recruitment of northeastern and north central PA and PA residents.

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity, inclusion and social justice through community engagement are core values embedded in Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s mission. Geisinger Commonwealth enhances its community engagement, scholarly and academic endeavors by striving for diversity at all levels and creates a climate of inclusion where faculty, students and staff benefit from the value added by an enriched academic and professional environment. The recruitment and inclusion of qualified women and traditionally underrepresented minorities in medicine and biomedical sciences, specifically African American/Blacks, Latinos/Hispanics and Native Americans as members of our faculty, staff and student body is a Geisinger Commonwealth priority. Geisinger Commonwealth also prioritizes the recruitment of students who are NEPA and/or PA residents. Geisinger Commonwealth’s leadership, faculty, staff and students share important responsibilities in the achievement and maintenance of an environment that reflects and sustains these important goals. The Chief Diversity Officer supports system-wide initiatives that enhance recruitment of a diverse student body, learning experiences, and promotes faculty and staff diversity continuously add value to the learning experiences of the Geisinger Commonwealth community. The Council on Diversity and Inclusion, led by the Vice President for Community Engagement & Chief Diversity Officer assesses progress and recommends progressive steps to maintain an environment that sustains excellence and embraces diversity as a key driver to achieve our goals. Some of our accomplishments include:

  1. Establishment of a scholarship for underrepresented minorities in medicine and biomedical sciences and/or disadvantaged and first-generation college and minority students who have been admitted to Geisinger Commonwealth.
  2. Establishment of a Summer Enrichment Research Internship for pre-matriculated disadvantaged and minority students.
  3. Innovative partnerships with regional and local organizations to increase interest and improve proficiencies of high school and undergraduate students in science, healthcare-related careers and medicine.
  4. Internship, service and volunteer opportunities for students throughout the region.
  5. The establishment of a Regional Education Academy for Careers in Health-Higher Education Initiative (REACH-HEI), funded by HCOP/HRSA to improve science proficiencies among economically disadvantaged students in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Monroe counties.
  6. Establishment of a student-led initiative – Science, Entertainment, Writing and Arts Group (SEWAG) to mentor, tutor and develop leadership among community children through the arts.

Geisinger Commonwealth on Non-Discrimination

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community and to ensuring that activities and employment decisions are based on individuals’ abilities and qualifications. Consistent with this principle and applicable laws, it is therefore Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine policy not to discriminate in offering access to its programs and activities or with respect to employment terms and conditions on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Such a policy ensures that only relevant factors are considered and that equitable and consistent standards of conduct and performance are applied. Any inquiries regarding Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine non-discrimination policies should be brought to the attention of: Ida L. Castro, JD, Vice President for Community Engagement & Chief Diversity Officer, 570-504-7000.

Diversity Leadership

Castro_IdaIda L. Castro, JD

Vice President for Community Engagement & Chief Diversity Officer

Ida L. Castro, JD, heads Geisinger Commonwealth’s diversity and inclusion and social justice efforts pertaining to leadership, students, faculty and staff, and initiates multicultural programming, activities and events to promote better understanding and sharing of experiences. VP. Castro reaches out to educational and community groups to create programs that advance the region’s interests and needs, with special attention to its rural, disadvantaged and minority populations. In addition, she engages the college community to build local, regional, statewide and national initiatives and support for Geisinger Commonwealth’s overarching mission and goals. Ms. Castro joined Geisinger Commonwealth in September 2008, with more than 25 years of experience in law, academia, not-for-profit and government agencies, including serving as the first Latina Chairwoman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – to which she was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1998. Ms. Castro is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico. She received her Master’s degree from Rutgers University and her Juris Doctorate from Rutgers School of Law. She was also awarded an honorary Doctorate in Human Letters by St. Joseph’s College.