December 09, 2016, BY Matt Hughes

John Bravman
Bucknell University President John Bravman. Photo by Bill Cardoni

Bucknell University President John Bravman has been elected chair of the Geisinger Health System Foundation Board of Directors, an appointment that will deepen the University's already robust relationship with the nationally recognized health system, headquartered in nearby Danville, Pa.

"Geisinger has established itself as an extraordinary and innovative leader in health services. I treasure our partnership, and I am deeply honored to serve in this new capacity," said Bravman, who has served on Geisinger's board since 2012. "Bucknell and Geisinger share a commitment to our communities and a vision for innovation and excellence that benefits not just our respective constituents, but society as a whole."

Geisinger is one of the nation's largest health service organizations, serving more than 3 million residents throughout 45 counties in central, south-central and northeast Pennsylvania, and has been widely recognized for its innovative use of electronic health records and development of groundbreaking care-delivery models. Its physician-led system comprises approximately 30,000 employees, including nearly 1,600 doctors, 12 hospital campuses, two research centers and a 510,000-member health plan. Expanding its partnership with this innovative health-care provider will strengthen Bucknell's already highly regarded programs in the life sciences and biomedical engineering, as well as in the social sciences, other engineering disciplines and elsewhere.

Collaborations between the University and Geisinger include the Geisinger-Bucknell Autism & Developmental Medicine Center, the Bucknell Geisinger Research Initiative, and numerous research partnerships between Bucknell faculty and Geisinger clinicians. Bucknell students in diverse disciplines — such as psychology, biomedical engineering, civil & environmental engineering and sociology — gain opportunities to partner with Geisinger's physicians and researchers on projects that tackle real-world problems to improve clinical care. Undergraduate students are helping Geisinger develop better tools for diagnosing autism, creating a surgical simulator to train residents and programming systems to better integrate operating-room technology, among other collaborations.

Geisinger Health System President and CEO Dr. David Feinberg, who joined Bucknell's Board of Trustees in July, said he expects Bravman's leadership will help Geisinger provide even more comprehensive and integrated health care and enhance its patient experience, much as his guidance has led to even deeper, more fully integrated living-learning experiences for Bucknell students.

"John Bravman is a highly respected, dynamic and innovative leader with a long history of success," Feinberg said. "He is guiding Bucknell through an extraordinary period of growth and achievement, and the Geisinger family looks forward to his leadership as our board chairman."

Bravman has served as Bucknell's 17th president since 2010. In that span he has overseen the launch of the public phase of the WE DO Campaign, the largest comprehensive capital campaign in Bucknell's history, with a goal of raising half a billion dollars for strategic University initiatives. Under his guidance Bucknell opened Academic West, its first new academic building in nearly a decade, in 2013, as well as a new residential quad, the South Campus Apartments, in 2015. The University will establish a third college, the College of Management, in July 2017, positioning Bucknell to offer another truly distinct, interdisciplinary undergraduate experience.

Under Bravman's leadership the University has seen the highest number of applicants in its history, with nearly 11,000 students applying for admittance to the Class of 2019, a nearly 40 percent increase from the previous year. He has also formed both the President's Diversity Council and the President's Sustainability Council, reaffirming and strengthening Bucknell's commitment to these core institutional and educational values.

"With John Bravman as our new board chair, we are in great hands moving forward," Feinberg said.