DANVILLE — Mark Seeley, a Geisinger pediatric orthopedic physician received the Pennsylvania Medical Society's November Everyday Hero award at a midday presentation ceremony Monday at the Woodbine facility.
The idea behind the Everyday Hero award, said Katie Jordan, membership liaison, Pennsylvania Medical Society, "is to shine a spotlight on our physicians in Pennsylvania that are doing great things every day because it is the right thing to do. Many times those kind acts go unrewarded, unnoticed.
"We decided to shine a spotlight on those people who aren't shining a spotlight on themselves," she said. "The award looks at physicians who are doing great things for their patients and their communities, giving back, without being asked and without wanting any recognition."
Seely first heard about the award via an e-mail, he said.
Seely was "a little uncomfortable with all the accolades thrown at him during the presentation.
"It's unnecessary," he said. "I love what I do. And I've been fortunate enough to surround myself with people that are a lot better than myself. It makes the job even easier to deliver quality care because of the people around me."
He treats many conditions in his current role – including pediatric sports, trauma, and congenital hip issues. “In a rural area, you treat everything,” he says.
Seeley, who has been with Geisinger for nearly five years, gave considerable credit to the team he works with.
"The physician component of everything is such a small piece of it. From the time someone checks in to the time they check out, they've encountered anywhere from four to six different people. And the nice thing about my team is everyone is on their A-game. They are thinking about how we can make this person's care better and how can we make the child feel comfortable given the circumstances."
They are not having their best day when they come to meet us, Seeley said, "so any little thing has a great impact upon their experiences that day. But also the type of care you are giving can be tremendously impacted by the people around the patient."
Even after a full day of patient care, Seeley frequently makes the hour and a half drive from his home base in Danville to Geisinger Commonwealth Medical School in Scranton. There, he serves as faculty adviser to members of the school’s Student Musculoskeletal Society, and he has made quite an impression on the medical students there.
It was seven students from the group that nominated Seeley for the award.
One of the students, Max Cornell, a third-year medical student said, "he has been a great mentor, not only to me but countless others. We were kind of a ragtag group before Dr. Seeley came to us. I didn't really know anything about orthopedic surgery. We didn't have too much clinical experience, being first-year medical students. He took us under his wing, starting in our first-year anatomy lab. He'd come up after he finished a full day of clinic and he would teach us basic anatomy. He dedicated his time to something that was way below his pay grade, and we really appreciate it. He still helps with all the research projects, helping us apply for residency and letting us meet all the physicians in Danville. He's become a real role model to look up to."
When asked why being an educator and mentor is so important to him, Seeley said his mother, a retired physical education teacher, was his inspiration. “My passion for teaching comes from my mom," he said.
Besides teaching medical students and residents, he advises Bucknell University's mechanical engineering students. He takes on four students each year, and they work to design a solution to a problem Seeley encounters frequently within his patient population.
Last year, the engineering students designed an elbow brace for patients that also controlled a video game. The brace provided Seeley with valuable information on range of motion.
“When you watch the excitement in their eyes, it’s so rewarding,” he said of his work with Bucknell students.