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Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) announced that it has received a $45,000 grant from the PPL Foundation.

These funds will support the school’s successful Regional Academy for Careers in Health – Higher Education Initiative (REACH-HEI). REACH-HEI is a community engagement program that provides disadvantaged and underrepresented in medicine (URM) students with academic enrichment, mentoring and guidance to encourage them to choose careers in healthcare. The program has yielded significant results, with the majority of attendees completing a four-year undergraduate degree and many seeking further professional education, including some REQACH-HEI students who have even been accepted to GCSOM.

The PPL Foundation funds will leverage prior investments from the foundation and other sources to add a year-long “Girls in Science” initiative that will target girls who are in grades seven and eight and are either economically disadvantaged or diverse. The program will provide engaging programming and career exploration designed to encourage a future in the life sciences. REACH-HEI aims to break the difficult pre-teen peer pressure that may detract girls from pursuing the sciences by creating an important network of like-minded girls.

“We are grateful to the PPL Foundation for supporting our efforts to build a stable pipeline for the region’s future healthcare workforce,” said Ida Castro, GCSOM’s vice president for community engagement and chief diversity officer. “By investing in the region’s youth, the foundation’s grant not only enriches the lives of youngsters, it ensures the entire community will be well care for in the years to come.”

The PPL Foundation awards annual grants through a competitive application and review process. This year, the PPL Foundation received more than 70 applications requesting nearly $4 million during a highly competitive grant cycle. GCSOM’s REACH-HEI program was one of 13 organizations to be selected for a grant.

“The PPL Foundation is proud to team up with nonprofit organizations throughout Pennsylvania that are tackling tough issues in our communities with innovative solutions,” said Ryan Hill, president of the PPL Foundation. “They are working every day to make our communities safe, strong and sustainable by expanding access to high-quality pre-k education, sparking students’ interest in exciting new career paths and providing the resources people need to move out of poverty.”

About Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) is a member of the Geisinger family. GCSOM offers a community-based model of medical education with campuses in Danville, Lewistown, Scranton, Sayre and Wilkes-Barre. Geisinger Commonwealth offers Doctor of Medicine (MD) and a portfolio of graduate degrees. The school’s innovative curriculum, focused on caring for people in the context of their lives and their community, attracts the next generation of physicians and scientists from within its region, as well as from across the state and the nation. Geisinger Commonwealth is committed to non-discrimination in all employment and educational opportunities. Visit

About Geisinger
Geisinger is among the nation’s leading providers of value-based care, serving 1.2 million people in urban and rural communities across Pennsylvania. Founded in 1915 by philanthropist Abigail Geisinger, the non-profit system generates $10 billion in annual revenues across 134 care sites - including 10 hospital campuses, and Geisinger Health Plan, with 600,000 members in commercial and government plans. The Geisinger College of Health Sciences educates more than 5,000 medical professionals annually and conducts more than 1,400 clinical research studies. With 26,000 employees, including 1,600 employed physicians, Geisinger is among Pennsylvania’s largest employers with an estimated economic impact of $14 billion to the state’s economy. On March 31, 2024, Geisinger became the first member of Risant Health, a new nonprofit charitable organization created to expand and accelerate value-based care across the country.  Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.

PPL Foundation donation to GCSOM REACH-HEI 2018
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) announced that it has received a $45,000 grant from the PPL Foundation. Gathered to accept the grant are, from left Salomey Mensah, University of Scranton student and REACH-HEI intern; Akhondi Saghar, GCSOM graduate assistant; Syon Bennett, Anastasia Flores, Alexandria Webster and Giselle Rojas, all REACH-HEI participants, with Alana Roberts, regional affairs director for PPL; Ida Castro, JD, GCSOM vice president for government & community relations and chief diversity officer; Jane Kanyock, GCSOM director of corporate and foundation relations; and Maureen Murtha, GCSOM REACH-HEI program director.
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Elizabeth Zygmunt
Director, Media and Public Relations 
Office: 570-504-9687
On Call: 570-687-9703
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