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Community Engagement and Equity

Diversity, inclusion and social justice through community engagement are core values embedded in The Commonwealth Medical College’s mission. TCMC is committed to advance and sustain an academic and work environment that values differences. TCMC accomplishes this by promoting: 

  • inclusiveness for all members of the TCMC community
  • diversity to fulfill the commitment of educating students who will function and thrive in a pluralistic and global society
  • discovery and scholarship which addresses issues of diverse communities

TCMC enhances its community engagement, scholarly and academic endeavors by striving for diversity at all levels and creates a climate of inclusion where faculty, students and staff benefit from the value added by an enriched academic and professional environment.

Diversity is one of the key drivers to the fulfillment of our mission to graduate excellent physicians prepared to serve diverse patient populations and reduce prevalent health inequities in northeast Pennsylvania (NEPA) and elsewhere.

To ensure TCMC physician graduates are culturally competent and enhance their interest in the elimination of health inequities in the region, TCMC adds value to the learning experiences of all participants by providing a diverse and inclusive learning environment. The recruitment and inclusion of qualified women and traditionally underrepresented minorities in medicine and biomedical sciences, specifically African American/Blacks, Latinos/Hispanics and Native Americans as members of our faculty, staff and student body is a TCMC priority. To further TCMC’s commitment to replenishing the physician workforce in northeast Pennsylvania, we also focus our student diversity goals to include NEPA/PA residents, economically disadvantaged and first-generation college students.

TCMC’s leadership, faculty, staff and students share important responsibilities in the achievement and maintenance of an environment that reflects and sustains these important goals. The Office of Community Engagement and Equity (OCEE) supports system-wide initiatives that enhance recruitment of a diverse student body, learning experiences, and promote faculty and staff diversity and continuously add value to the learning experiences of the TCMC community. The Council on Diversity and Inclusion, led by the Vice President for Community Engagement and Equity assesses progress and recommends progressive steps to maintain an environment that sustains excellence and embraces diversity as a key driver to achieve our goals.

TCMC’s commitment to diversity and social justice is anchored by the need to eliminate prevalent health inequities in the region. OCEE engages faculty, students and communities to identify areas of common interest and develop strategies to address these health inequities through service, research and promotion of graduate retention in the area. Some of the initiatives led by OCEE include:

  1. Establishment of a scholarship for underrepresented minorities in medicine and biomedical sciences and/or disadvantaged and first-generation college and minority students who have been admitted to TCMC.
  2. Establishment of a Summer Enrichment Research Internship for pre-matriculated disadvantaged and minority students.
  3. Innovative partnerships with regional and local organizations to increase interest and improve proficiencies of high school and undergraduate students in science, healthcare-related careers and medicine.
  4. Internship, service and volunteer opportunities for students throughout the region.
  5. The establishment of a Regional Education Academy for Careers in Health-Higher Education Initiative (REACH-HEI), funded by HCOP/HRSA to improve science proficiencies among economically disadvantaged students in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Monroe counties.
  6. Establishment of a student-led initiative - Science, Entertainment, Writing and Arts Group (SEWAG) to mentor, tutor and develop leadership among community children through the arts. 
  7. OCEE also collaborates with universities, community colleges, non-governmental and community organizations to develop initiatives that further improve the healthcare experience for the region’s disadvantaged communities and decrease health disparities.

Contact Information:
525 Pine Street 
Scranton, PA 18509
Phone: 570-955-1313
[email protected] 


Ida L. Castro, JD
Vice President, Community Engagement and Equity

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