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A circular red symbol, with "Penn State College of Medicine" in a ring around the edge, with "The Bond Society" in the middle.
Circular logo with Penn State College of Medicine around the outside and The Davis Society in the middle
A circular green symbol, with "Penn State College of Medicine" in a ring around the edge, with "The Mortel Society" in the middle.
A circular yellow symbol, with "Penn State College of Medicine" in a ring around the edge, with "The Vastyan Society" in the middle.
A circular blue symbol, with "Penn State College of Medicine" in a ring around the edge, with "The Waldhausen Society" in the middle.

In 2013, the College of Medicine launched learning communities for incoming medical students.  This is a joint collaboration between the Office of Student Affairs and Office of Medical Education.

Learning communities are groups sharing common values, learning together and from each other.  While the societies will help develop a stronger network and camaraderie between students and faculty with various social events throughout the year, the primary goals for creating them were:

  • To provide a more structured model for the clinical skills and advising program;
  • To provide an infrastructure of a supportive academic environment;
  • To provide students with a structured and contiguous relationship to support professional role formation and guidance toward resources in times of trouble; and
  • To create a wellness program for students.

Collectively known as the George T. Harrell’s Societies, the four were named to honor Dr. Judith Bond, Dr. John Waldhausen, Dr. Al Vastyan, and Dr. Rodrigue Mortel.

Each society has a faculty society head, approximately seven to eight society advisor coaches (each clinical faculty member is assigned to five first-year, five second-year, five third-year, and five fourth-year students).  Society Advisor Coaches help students with clinical skills instruction, advising/coaching, mentoring, and career planning.

University Park Curriculum Society

The University Park Curriculum of Penn State College of Medicine focuses on early patient care and seminar-based, inquiry-driven learning. It began as a clinical campus in 2012 and expanded to a four-year MD curriculum in 2017.

In 2022, the University Park Curriculum honored Dr. Dwight Davis, senior associate dean for Admissions and Student Affairs at Penn State College of Medicine, by naming their society after him. Davis has overseen admissions at the college since 1994, and in 2022 stepped down from that role after 28 years of exemplary service. As an Under-represented in Medicine physician, cardiologist and dean, Davis has demonstrated significant perseverance throughout his academic career, has been recognized with multiple teaching awards and has mentored numerous students. His dedication to teaching, learning and mentorship demonstrates excellence in the very attributes that define the University Park Curriculum.


The heads of the societies are Dr. Michael Flanagan (Davis), Dr. Nicole Hackman (Bond), Dr. Emily Link (Waldhausen), Dr. Bernadatte Gilbert (Vastyan), and Dr. Lilia Reyes (Mortel).

A headshot of Dr. Michael Flanagan against a blue backdrop.

Michael Flanagan, MD

A headshot of Dr. Bernadette Gilbert against a blue backdrop.

Bernadatte Gilbert, MD

A photo of Nicole Hackman, MD, in her white lab coat

Nicole Hackman, MD

A headshot of Dr. Emily Link against a blue backdrop.

Emily Link, MD

A photo of Lilia Reyes, MD, in her white lab coat

Lilia Reyes, MD