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Geisinger researcher one of 21 women selected for prestigious national program

DANVILLE, Pa.Christa Lese Martin, Ph.D., Geisinger’s associate chief scientific officer and director of the Geisinger Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute, has been invited to join the Carol Emmott Fellowship program. Martin joins 20 other accomplished female leaders, representing health organizations from across the United States, in the fellowship’s class of 2020.

The Carol Emmott Fellowship provides support and resources to exceptional women leaders in healthcare. Fellowship recipients complete a 14-month program with hand-selected mentors and a nationwide network of senior executive leaders in the field. Fellows are nominated by their sponsoring organizations and compete for acceptance into the program with a proposed impact project to advance a specific area of health. They continue to work for their organizations during the fellowship, building networking relationships with other top leaders and exercising leadership skills as they implement their impact projects. 

“The Carol Emmott Fellowship program provides an outstanding opportunity to improve healthcare for all by leveraging the strengths and talents of female leaders in the field,” Martin said. “I am honored to join this group of exceptional women.”

Martin is part of the leadership team for Geisinger’s MyCode Community Health Initiative, a groundbreaking precision health program with more than 250,000 participants that is integrating genomic medicine into routine healthcare. 

She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State University and completed her doctorate in human genetics at the University of Pittsburgh. She completed postdoctoral training at the University of Chicago and remained on faculty as an assistant professor and director of the Clinical Cytogenetics Laboratory. Before joining Geisinger, Martin was an associate professor in the department of human genetics at Emory University and operations director of Emory Genetics Laboratory. 

Martin’s fellowship project will expand Geisinger’s Population Health DNA Screening Program to identify more individuals at risk for genetic diseases and evaluate how the results impact related medical costs. Population-based DNA screening involves testing all patients for disease-causing changes that occur in a defined list of genes.

“For many years, genetic testing has been used as the standard of care in individuals who have a personal or family history of certain conditions, like cancer or heart disease, to look for changes in their DNA that increase their risk for disease,” Martin said. “Now, our experience from MyCode has shown that we can practice anticipatory medicine through broad-based DNA screening of all patients – not only those who have had a personal or family history – to determine who is at risk for certain genetic conditions. The next critical step is to determine how to support the use of this screening test more broadly and incorporate it into routine healthcare.”

About Geisinger
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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