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Innovation and Research at Geisinger

Innovation and research have been integral elements of Geisinger's mission since its beginnings. Geisinger's vision statement begins: "To be the health system of choice, advancing care through education and research…" Research permeates all aspects of healthcare, from bench to bedside, from disease prevention and treatment to healthcare delivery.

We focus our innovation and research efforts on what can be done uniquely at Geisinger. We leverage our high quality patient care; fully integrated healthcare system; large, stable patient population; advanced electronic health record; and clinical data warehouse to create healthcare services and delivery which will improve quality of care while enhancing access and affordability.

Geisinger continues to build upon and enhance our national leadership role as a Learning Health System, with our focus on integrating innovation and research into the routine process of caring for patients. Geisinger demonstrates all of the key elements of a Learning Health System, such as its ability to capture, mine and analyze data through the electronic health record and enterprise-wide clinical data warehouse and use of ProvenCare initiatives in pioneering innovative, evidence-based strategies to improve quality and control costs.

CSO Message

Message from David H. Ledbetter, PhD
Executive Vice President & Chief Scientific Officer

David H. LedbetterWhy is research important to Geisinger? We have made tremendous progress at Geisinger in the last ten years in improving patient outcomes and reducing the total cost of care by a series of innovative programs. This improvement has come through the systematic application of current "best practice" guidelines. Further innovation and research is key to the development and implementation of the "next generation of best practices" with the goal of disease prevention as well as improved outcomes across a broad spectrum of clinical areas.

In 2009, we began a comprehensive research strategic planning process which confirmed and elevated the role of research in Geisinger's mission. It emphasized research that improves health and healthcare - not only for our own patients, but also patients nationally and globally through scholarly publications, presentations as well as dissemination through commercialization. Our board of directors and system leadership challenged us to conduct research that can be uniquely done at Geisinger - leveraging our high quality patient care, fully integrated healthcare system, large, stable patient population, advanced electronic health record and clinical data warehouse.

The theme of our research strategic plan is "Personalized Healthcare Research." We seek to develop and test innovative approaches that will enable us to identify the unique differences between patients - genetic, environmental or social - so that each patient receives the "right care at the right time in the right way" to increase quality and improve outcomes.

We encourage and support a broad range of research topics throughout our clinical enterprise as well as in our research centers and institutes. We especially encourage collaborative "team science" approaches to solving the biggest problems in healthcare. I look forward to working with you all to accelerate our progress on these ambitious goals.


History of Research at Geisinger

  • 1915 - Abigail Geisinger founds Geisinger Clinic and appoints Dr. Harold Foss as hospital's first director.
  • 1916 - Research concentrates on diabetes mellitus, heart disease and kidney disease.
  • 1920 - Dr. Foss asserts that Geisinger's most urgent needs include equipment and a research laboratory.
  • 1927 - Geisinger physicians treat sufferers of Bright's disease with a "liberal diet influenced by their natural appetites."
  • 1931 - Medical Library is first to be organized at a hospital in the area.
  • 1941 - Under the direction of Roy E. Nicodemus, MD, physicians present original work on the use of oxygen in the treatment of eclampsia.
  • 1952 - Research Laboratory, the first in the area, is established.
  • 1962 - The Institute for Medical Education and Research is established.
  • 1966 - First U.S. National Institutes of Health grant is awarded to Charles A. Laubach, MD, for his Coronary Drug Project; other Geisinger investigators receive funding from the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.
  • 1971 - Center for Health Services and Research and Development begins full operation.
  • 1970s - Ground-breaking research includes the Propranolol Myocardial Infarction Study, the immunotherapy of lung cancer and Dr. Christine Smull's work that proved the Pasteurella multocida infection could have human hosts.
  • 1982 - Geisinger endows $7.5 million to support Geisinger research; the number of research projects top 100.
  • 1983 - Geisinger Clinical Oncology Program receives a $250,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute through the Community Clinical Oncology Program.
  • 1985 - The Sigfried and Janet Weis Center for Research breaks ground.
  • 1986 - Howard Morgan, MD, appointed as Weis Center's first director.
  • 1999 - Clinical Trials Office established.
  • 2000 - David J. Carey, PhD, succeeds Dr. Morgan as director of the Weis Center.
  • 2003 - Geisinger Center for Health Research founded; Walter "Buzz" Stewart, PhD, MPH, becomes first director. Center emphasizes studies on population, rates of illness and disability within communities.
  • 2004 - Genomic Medicine Research Program initiated.
  • 2006 - Geisinger Center for Clinical Studies founded; Peter Berger, MD, become first director. Center focuses on increasing the number of studies that test new drugs, devices and techniques.
  • 2007 - $21 million Henry Hood Center for Health Research building opens, a state-of-the-art "green" building.
  • 2008 - Geisinger's Obesity Institute founded under direction of Christopher Still, DO.
  • 2010 - David H. Ledbetter, PhD, named the system's first full-time chief scientific officer and executive vice president.
  • 2011 - Geisinger's Genomic Medicine Institute founded under direction of Marc Williams, MD.
  • 2012 - Geisinger joins eMERGE (Electronic Medical Records and Genomics) Network Phase II.
  • 2012 - F. Daniel Davis, PhD, recruited as the first system-wide director of bioethics.
  • 2013 - Geisinger's Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute founded. The first ADMI Center, a Geisinger-Bucknell University collaboration, opens in Lewisburg. Christa Lese Martin, PhD, recruited as director.
  • 2014 - Geisinger's Institute for Advanced Application founded. Gregory L. Moore, MD, PhD, named director.
  • 2014 - Five-year collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to sequence at least 100,000 consented patient volunteers is launched in January and is proceeding ahead of schedule.
  • 2014 - Sharon Larson, PhD, recruited as director of behavioral research.
  • 2015 - Marylyn Ritchie, PhD, recruited as director of biomedical and translational informatics.
  • 2015 - Geisinger named to eMERGE Network Phase III.
  • 2016 - Center for Pharmacy Innovation and Outcomes established under leadership of Eric Wright, PharmD, and Mike Evans, RPh.