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DANVILLE, Pa. – Geisinger’s division chief of pediatric emergency medicine, Sarah Alander, M.D., received the Amanda Wertz Memorial Emergency Medical Services for Children Award from Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration Wednesday at a special presentation at Geisinger Medical Center.
The award is presented annually to an emergency medical services provider who has made a difference in the lives of children in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“It’s an honor to be nominated for this special award and to be recognized by the Commonwealth and
the Wertz family,” Dr. Alander said. “This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our pediatric emergency medicine team that strives to improve patient care and advance the practice of caring for children in our communities."
Since joining Geisinger in 2018, Dr. Alander and the team have been driving force behind creating a pediatric emergency zone at Geisinger Medical Center. The zone is a child-friendly space designed to calm and ease the minds of children and their families during an emergency.
Dr. Alander has also worked to improve pediatric readiness in all Geisinger emergency rooms to care for sick and injured children. This work involves training staff to be ready for children in emergency situations and providing each ER with specialized pediatric equipment. Under her leadership, Geisinger decreased predicted mortality for critically ill children by 30% to 50%.
She serves on Pennsylvania’s Emergency Medical Services for Children Steering Committee, leading statewide initiatives to improve the state’s pediatric readiness. Dr. Alander has also led quality improvement work through the national collaborative, Improving Pediatric Sepsis Outcomes, that includes more than 60 children's hospitals. Under Dr. Alander's leadership, Geisinger was recognized as a top performer for improvement in all collaborative key metric areas.
“Dr. Alander is an outstanding leader, impacting not only our programs, but the lives of all of our pediatric patients,” said Ronald Strony, M.D., department chair of Geisinger emergency medicine. “She’s dedicated and compassionate, and her work is personal. Our communities and patients are fortunate to have her as an advocate and leader in the industry.”
The Amanda Wertz Memorial Emergency Medical Services for Children Award was established in memory of Amanda E. Wertz, a child with special health care needs who died suddenly in 2001 at the age of 14. Her parents, Patrick and Elizabeth Wertz, were active paramedics for many years. The award honors an emergency medical services provider who has made a difference in the lives of children in accordance with the mission of the Pennsylvania Emergency Medical Services for Children Program.

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.


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