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Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

Surgeon’s leadership team features Wilkes-Barre native

DANVILLE, Pa. – Just days before the novel coronavirus pandemic reached Pennsylvania, Gerhard Ziemer, M.D., Ph.D., joined Geisinger as director of pediatric cardiac surgery and adult congenital heart surgery. Certified registered nurse practitioner and Wilkes-Barre native Cherish Boehm has also signed on to help lead the program. 

Dr. Ziemer is a cardiothoracic surgeon who cares for children and adults with congenital and acquired heart disease. He specializes in reconstructive heart and valve surgery and aortic surgery. In 1989, Dr. Ziemer was the first to successfully perform the Ross procedure — replacement of a damaged aortic valve with the patient’s own pulmonary valve, and replacement of the pulmonary valve with a donor valve — in a newborn. 

The wide range of procedures Dr. Ziemer can provide includes complex, primary and multi-stage repair in newborns and primary and repeat surgeries in adults with congenital heart disease. 

Dr. Ziemer earned his medical degree at Kiel University Medical School in Germany. He completed residencies in general surgery and cardiothoracic and vascular surgery at Hannover Medical School Hospitals in Germany. While completing a residency in congenital and cardiovascular surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, he also served as a fellow at Harvard Medical School. 

Before coming to central Pennsylvania, Dr. Ziemer held leadership positions at universities in Germany and at the University of Chicago and treated children for many years during humanitarian relief efforts in South America (Peru) and Central Asia (Kazakhstan).

Dr. Ziemer served on the founding governing council of the World Society for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery, the scientific board of the German Pediatric Heart Center Foundation, and as the founder and first president of the European Congenital Heart Surgeons’ Association. He also served as an examiner for cardiac surgery for the European Board of Thoracic Cardiovascular Surgeons from 2005 to 2017. He speaks English, German and Spanish. 

Originally from Wilkes-Barre, Cherish Boehm honed her skills as a traveling nurse in California, namely Modesto and Los Angeles, and Hawaii. While practicing in Los Angeles, she worked at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. 

Following her most recent certification, Ms. Boehm has returned to her home state to work alongside Dr. Ziemer and the rest of the congenital heart team at Geisinger. 

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.

Dr. Gerhard Ziemer
Dr. Gerhard Ziemer
Cherish Boehm, CRNP
Cherish Boehm, CRNP

For media inquires:

R. Matthew Mattei
Senior Communications Specialist

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