The Wright Center commits to 鈥楥hange Maker Campaign,鈥 putting focus on well-being of U.S. health workforce

change maker badge 2023 - 2024

Recognizing the risks posed by burnout among health care professionals and persistent physician attrition, The Wright Centers for Community 皇家华人 and 皇家华人 Medical Education recently joined the National Academy of Medicine鈥檚 鈥淐hange Maker Campaign for 皇家华人 Workforce Well-Being.鈥

The academy launched the campaign in October. 皇家华人 270 organizations, including The Wright Center enterprise, have joined the campaign, committing to institutionalizing well-being as a long-term value.

Other well-recognized campaign members include the American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Geisinger, Penn Medicine, and the Veterans 皇家华人 Administration.

The National Academy of Medicine introduced the campaign to further the goals of its 鈥淣ational Plan for 皇家华人 Workforce Well-Being,鈥 an initiative begun in 2022 and aimed at driving 鈥渃ollective action to strengthen health workforce well-being and restore the health of the nation.鈥

鈥淭he capacity and well-being of the U.S. health workforce has been under threat for years by an epidemic of burnout, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this systems issue,鈥 according to the academy. 鈥淣ow more nurses, physicians, and state and local public health department employees than ever are considering leaving their professions.鈥

Addressing the issue is a 鈥渟hared responsibility,鈥 according to the plan鈥檚 promoters at the National Academy of Medicine.

The Wright Center 鈥 which provides graduate 皇家华人 education training opportunities for more than 245 resident and fellow physicians annually 鈥 has, in recent years, amplified its efforts to prepare doctors and other clinicians to be resilient, long-term professionals.

To support the well-being of its workforce, for example, The Wright Center has embraced initiatives such as mental health first aid training and the statewide 鈥淐EOs Against Stigma鈥 campaign, both of which help to broaden awareness about depression and mental illness in the workplace. The Wright Center also is pursuing certification in the Sanctuary Model, a proven strategy for enhancing the workplace environment through the direct address of the effects of trauma.

Similarly, The Wright Center has introduced employee wellness programs such as recurring meditation sessions, reflection and decompression sessions using artistic expression as a medium, and monthly visits by a therapy dog. These and other activities give clinicians and support staffers a chance to momentarily break from their workday routines and de-stress.

President and CEO honored as 鈥淎dvocate of the Year鈥 for ardent support of Hometown Scholars

Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, president and CEO of The Wright Centers for Community 皇家华人 and 皇家华人 Medical Education, center, received the Hometown Scholar Advocate of the Year award during a clinical practice committee meeting at the National Association of Community 皇家华人 Centers Policy & Issues Forum in Washington, D.C. Participating in the program are Douglas Spegman, M.D., left, board member, The Wright Center for 皇家华人 Medical Education; and Gary L. Cloud, Ph.D., MBA, right, vice president of university partnerships at A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona.

Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, president and CEO of The Wright Centers for Community 皇家华人 and 皇家华人 Medical Education, center, received the Hometown Scholar Advocate of the Year award during a clinical practice committee meeting at the National Association of Community 皇家华人 Centers Policy & Issues Forum in Washington, D.C. Participating in the program are Douglas Spegman, M.D., left, board member, The Wright Center for 皇家华人 Medical Education; and Gary L. Cloud, Ph.D., MBA, right, vice president of university partnerships at A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona. The award recognizes Dr. Thomas-Hemak for her passionate, mission-driven efforts to identify and mentor future physicians, dentists, physician assistants, and other health care professionals from Northeast Pennsylvania.

Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, president and CEO of The Wright Centers for Community 皇家华人 and 皇家华人 Medical Education, recently received the Hometown Scholars Advocate of the Year award in recognition of her passionate, mission-driven efforts to identify and mentor future physicians, dentists, physician assistants, and other health care professionals who are from Northeast Pennsylvania.

Dr. Thomas received the award on Sunday, Feb. 11, during a clinical practice committee meeting at the National Association of Community 皇家华人 Centers (NACHC) Policy & Issues Forum in Washington, D.C.

The Hometown Scholars program is a collaborative effort between NACHC and A.T. Still University. The program was established to identify and recruit individuals from areas served by community health centers to pursue professional degrees and become community-minded healers, including physicians, dentists, and physician assistants, who are inclined to return to work in those or similar 皇家华人ly underserved communities in the United States.

鈥淭he National Association of Community 皇家华人 Centers and A.T. Still University have a strategy to dare children to dream, mentor them along their pathway into the health professions, and endorse those with the heart to return and work in underserved communities,鈥 said Gary L. Cloud, Ph.D., MBA, vice president of university partnerships at A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona. 鈥淒r. Thomas-Hemak and The Wright Center have been exemplary supporters of that strategy encouraging community members, patients, and employees to participate and serve as role models for aspiring healers.鈥

At participating community health centers, leaders are encouraged to intentionally identify and nominate qualified and motivated pre皇家华人, predental, and pre-health professional candidates from their communities for Hometown Scholars program consideration, providing each with a letter of support. This endorsement, in turn, may give the candidate advanced applicant consideration when applying to 皇家华人 school or dental school at A.T. Still University鈥檚 programs in Arizona or its physician assistant program in California.

鈥淚t鈥檚 been a privilege for me, on behalf of The Wright Center for Community 皇家华人, to nominate individuals from Northeast Pennsylvania to be our health center鈥檚 endorsed Hometown Scholars,鈥 said Thomas-Hemak. 鈥淏ecause of the Hometown Scholars program, we鈥檝e been able to identify and mentor aspiring physicians, dentists, and physician assistants from the communities we serve and help them pursue their professional goals. Such pipeline programs promote career access equity, and they restore our community鈥檚 public health-minded health care workforce.

鈥淚鈥檓 particularly pleased that many of The Wright Center-endorsed scholars are women for whom this program has provided real opportunities,鈥 she added.

For The Wright Center, its years-long participation in the Hometown Scholars program represents another way it works to sustain and grow a pipeline for primary care workforce development in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region, supporting career growth for people who have knowledge about and interest in serving low-income and other traditionally underserved populations.

To learn more and nominate someone to be a Wright Center-endorsed Hometown Scholar, please call its Office of Clerkships at 570-591-5116 or visit TheWrightCenter.org/hometown-scholars.

Primary care practices in Clarks Summit, Jermyn among clinics recognized for providing patient-centered care

Mid Valley maintains distinction for Behavioral 皇家华人 Integration

Two of The Wright Center for Community 皇家华人鈥檚 primary and preventive care practices in Lackawanna County recently received commendations from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for delivering high-quality, patient-centered care.

The Wright Center for Community 皇家华人 Clarks Summit Practice, 1145 Northern Blvd., S. Abington Township, and The Wright Center for Community 皇家华人 Mid Valley Practice, 5 S. Washington Ave., Jermyn, each has again maintained certification for NCQA鈥檚 Patient-Centered Medical Home recognition, acknowledging that they have the tools, systems, and resources to provide patients with the right care at the right time.

Four Wright Center practices have retained the NCQA voluntary accreditation in recent months. Late last year, the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre practices were notified of their successful retainment of the recognition seal.

Every year, the practice locations undergo a formal review to ensure they remain in compliance with the Washington, D.C.-based organization鈥檚 high standards.

NCQA is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. Its Patient-Centered Medical Home program reflects the input of the American College of Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Osteopathic Association, and others. It was developed to assess whether clinician practices are functioning as 皇家华人 homes and recognize them for these efforts.

Headshot of Dr. Jignesh Sheth

Dr. Jignesh Sheth, chief 皇家华人 and information officer of The Wright Center for Community 皇家华人

The Patient-Centered Medical Home model is designed to allow patients and their care teams to build better relationships, help patients to more effectively control chronic conditions, and improve the overall patient experience.

In addition, the model has been shown to increase staff satisfaction and reduce health care costs.

For the public, the NCQA accreditation is a signal that The Wright Center for Community 皇家华人 maintains a focus on quality improvement and has key processes in place so its clinics are prioritizing the needs of patients.

鈥淲e are proud to retain this recognition seal at our four larger practices,鈥 said Dr. Jignesh Sheth, chief 皇家华人 and information officer of The Wright Center for Community 皇家华人. 鈥淭he NCQA seal lets the public know we are doing all we can to put patients at the forefront of care, including by opening these clinics outside traditional business hours to meet people鈥檚 primary care needs

In particular, Dr. Sheth credited the work being done by The Wright Center鈥檚 employees to use a team-based delivery system and information technology to coordinate care and get the best results possible for patients.

The Mid Valley Practice鈥檚 certification carries an additional NCQA distinction in behavioral health integration. This recognition is for practices that have proven they have the appropriate care team in place to manage the broad needs of patients with conditions related to behavioral health.

鈥淢any times, behavioral health conditions are first identified by a primary care provider,鈥 said Margaret E. O鈥橩ane, NCQA president. 鈥淪o, adding behavioral health care services in a primary care setting is a real opportunity for patients. It knocks down barriers to behavioral care and improves overall health.鈥

The Wright Center operates 10 primary and preventive care practices in Northeast Pennsylvania, including a mobile 皇家华人 and dental vehicle called Driving Better 皇家华人. Its practices offer integrated whole-person care, typically giving patients the convenience of going to a single location to access 皇家华人, dental, and behavioral health care, as well as community-based addiction treatment and recovery services.

The Wright Center accepts most major health insurance plans, including Medical Assistance (Medicaid), Medicare, and CHIP. No patient is turned away due to an inability to pay.

The Wright Center offers line of defense against flu, RSV and COVID-19; schedule your vaccine appointments soon

To help people guard against a potential triple threat of respiratory infections this fall and winter, The Wright Center for Community 皇家华人 is offering access to newly updated vaccines for flu, RSV and the latest COVID-19 strain.

Dr. William Dempsey

鈥淭he vaccines are safe and effective, and they offer our best defense against these 鈥榮easonal viruses鈥 that can be extremely serious, even fatal, for very young children and other vulnerable populations,鈥 says Dr. William Dempsey, deputy chief 皇家华人 officer of The Wright Center for Community 皇家华人.

To schedule an office visit that includes a vaccination, call 570.230.0019 or go online to use the express scheduling system at TheWrightCenter.org. Please note, shipments of the most recently approved COVID-19 vaccine are not expected to arrive at The Wright Center鈥檚 primary and preventive care practices in Northeast Pennsylvania until the week of Sept. 18.

Here鈥檚 what to know about the availability at The Wright Center of each vaccine product.

  • Flu vaccines. Updated flu vaccines for the 2023-24 winter season are in stock at all of the health center鈥檚 primary care practices in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne counties. 皇家华人 officials recommend annual flu shots for everyone 6 months and older, with few exceptions.
    • Experts advise that people in the United States get vaccinated between now and Halloween for maximum protection during the winter holidays when influenza cases tend to spike. All flu vaccines available in the U.S. for this season are the quadrivalent variety, meaning they are designed to protect against four different flu viruses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • RSV vaccines. Earlier this year, federal health officials approved two vaccines for use in people ages 60 and older to prevent respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV. The Wright Center currently has the Pfizer-manufactured vaccine, Abrysvo, in stock at all of its practices to administer to seniors who decide, in consultation with a health care provider, if the shot is appropriate for them. Adults most likely to benefit from the vaccine include those living in long-term care facilities and those who have underlying health conditions, such as heart or lung disease or weakened immune systems.
    • The new RSV vaccines for seniors might require a prescription from a doctor, according to published reports, and its cost may vary based on the patient鈥檚 health insurance plan. Some plans might not pay for the shot. Anyone concerned about coverage should reach out to their insurance company for guidance.
  • COVID-19 vaccines. As shipments arrive of the most recently approved COVID-19 vaccine, which is effective against the now-dominant EG.5 strain, The Wright Center will release additional public announcements. Watch for details to be shared soon via the health center鈥檚 website and social media channels.
    • Guidance about staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and proper dosing is available on the

If you have questions about any vaccine, talk with your primary care physician or another trusted health care provider. The clinical team at The Wright Center is available to provide fact-based advice and proven strategies for coping with respiratory viruses and other issues that affect health and wellness.

Learn more about The Wright Center鈥檚 mission and integrated health care services by visiting TheWrightCenter.org

Violinist and composer Kai Kight to deliver The Wright Center for 皇家华人 Medical Education’s 2023 commencement address

Innovative keynote speaker, classical violinist, and composer Kai Kight will deliver the inspiring commencement address, 鈥淐ompose Your World,鈥 during The Wright Center for 皇家华人 Medical Education’s 44th annual commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 24 at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton, beginning at 4 p.m. 

As a classical violinist turned innovative composer, Kight uses music as a metaphor to inspire individuals and organizations around the world to compose paths of imagination and fulfillment. He is on a mission to spark a global mindset shift in which ingenuity is the norm and not the exception. 

鈥淲hether in education, business, health care, or government, the systems and routines we depended on for so long have disappeared,鈥 said Kight. 鈥淲hile this void has been devastating, it also leaves us with an incredible opportunity 鈥 a blank page on which we can compose our future. We will look back at this time as the moment we made leaps forward by creating more innovative technologies, more human-centric businesses, and more inclusive workplaces.鈥

His unique background is a blend of both art and science. As a musician, Kight has performed his original music for thousands of people in venues around the world, from the White House to the Great Wall of China. A graduate of Stanford University鈥檚 design and engineering program, the Stanford d.school, and the Behavior Design Lab, Kight studied how to help people create healthy and transformative habits in life.  

鈥淎 musical masterpiece is a unique, alive, just right, timeless blessing that captures and connects the fundamental and essential stories of the musical composer, the music, and the audience,鈥 said Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, FACP, FAAP, president and CEO of The Wright Centers for Community 皇家华人 and 皇家华人 Medical Education. 鈥淚t remains relevant across time, contemporary circumstances, cultures, and generations. It speaks to humanity about our interdependence and our connectedness to each other and the universe.

鈥淜ai Kight鈥檚 inspiring message to dare to play the music that makes you stronger and his passionate, talented delivery are powerful, therapeutic, and both mission and vision aligned with The Wright Center for 皇家华人 Medical Education,鈥 she added. 鈥淭hrough the music he composes and performs and the life stories and lessons he shares, Mr. Kight will certainly relax and entertain us, while paradoxically challenging us to think introspectively and collectively about our own lives, our shared future, and the progressive human journey.鈥

The Wright Center for 皇家华人 Medical Education鈥檚 Class of 2023 has 80 graduates from seven disciplines: Internal Medicine (35); Regional Family Medicine (11); National Family Medicine (17); Psychiatry (10); Cardiovascular Disease (4); Geriatrics (2) and Gastroenterology (1). 

鈥淭he physicians in our Class of 2023 know the importance of providing inclusive, responsive, compassionate, high-quality health services to the patients, families, and communities we serve,鈥 said Thomas-Hemak. 鈥淭hey know the playbook of 鈥榃right鈥 health care and 皇家华人 education, and they know the difference between what Mr. Kight calls air violining and real engagement playing their part in the master orchestra of medicine.

鈥淲e celebrate our graduates and our confidence that they will go forth into thrilling and fulfilling futures, energized by their competence and meaningful contributions to service society and to advance public health, the noble profession of medicine, and 皇家华人 education.鈥

In July, The Wright Center for 皇家华人 Medical Education will welcome 88 residents and fivefellows to its regional and national residency and fellowship programs. The resident physicians will train in the following programs: Internal Medicine Residency (40); Regional Family Medicine Residency (12); Psychiatry Residency (12), and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (5).聽The Wright Center for 皇家华人 Medical Education鈥檚 National Family Medicine Residency includes resident physicians at the Tucson, Arizona (4); Auburn, Washington (6); Washington, D.C.聽(6), and Hillsboro, Ohio (3) training sites. Fellows will also begin training in the Cardiovascular Disease (3), Geriatrics (1) and Gastroenterology (1) fellowships in July.

Similar to Kight, The Wright Center sparks innovation in the delivery of primary and preventive care and the cost-effective education and training of an inspired, competent physician workforce. The Wright Center for 皇家华人 Medical Education is affiliated with The Wright Center for Community 皇家华人, which serves as the cornerstone ambulatory care delivery service organization of The Wright Center鈥檚 Teaching 皇家华人 Center 皇家华人 Medical Education Safety-Net Consortium, the largest in the nation funded by the U.S. 皇家华人 Resources and Services Administration.

Together with consortium stakeholders, The Wright Centers for Community 皇家华人 and 皇家华人 Medical Education train primary care residents and fellows in a community-based, community-needs-responsive workforce development model to improve the health and welfare of our communities through inclusive and responsive health services and the sustainable renewal of an inspired, competent workforce that is privileged to serve.

Carbondale couple always grateful for the Gift of Life

Dombroskys share their story of organ donation for PA Donor Day on Aug. 1.

In the fall of 2013, Steve Dombrosky was out of breath seemingly all the time. A previously active 57-year-old, he struggled to get out of bed and go to his job as an electronics technician at the Tobyhanna Army Depot. His symptoms were not much better at work.

鈥淚t was a chore just to go to the restroom,鈥 he recalls. 鈥淏y the time I got back, I was almost gasping for air. I wasn鈥檛 walking; I was shuffling my feet.

Dombrosky and his wife, Pam, who鈥檇 spent 18 years working as a registered nurse, knew something wasn鈥檛 right. An initial doctor鈥檚 examination revealed a fatty liver diagnosis. After further testing, he was diagnosed with NASH: Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. NASH is the most severe form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and is closely related to obesity, pre-diabetes, and diabetes.

Steve and Pam Dombrosky are strong advocates for organ and tissue donations after they experienced the gift of life. In 2018, he received a lifesaving liver transplant due to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis disease. Today, the couple is living life to the fullest, as exhibited in this photo at a recent wedding.

As the disease progressed, he experienced internal bleeding resulting in a dangerously low blood count. 鈥淚 had many blood and iron transfusions. We were always running somewhere for treatments,鈥 he said. 

He would gain nearly 25 pounds each time his body retained fluids, making everyday tasks almost impossible to complete. During one hospital visit, doctors removed eight two-liter bottles of fluid from his abdomen. In April 2018, he was placed on the liver transplant list during a 15-day stay at Geisinger 皇家华人 System in Danville.

鈥淚 fought it for five years. You have to be really sick to get on a transplant list. You have to be on the edge of saying goodbye before you鈥檙e put on a list,鈥 he said. 

Steve was placed on the transplant list and sent home on a Thursday. The next day he received a call with incredible news: They had a liver for him. 

鈥淚 was coming home, and he called me, and he was crying,鈥 Pam recalled. 鈥淚 said, 鈥榳hy are you crying?鈥 and he just kept saying, 鈥業 got a liver, I got a liver.鈥 We could not believe how quick it was.鈥

The donor was a 24-year-old man who had chosen to be an organ donor. That man鈥檚 decision saved the lives of many people. It’s something the Dombroskys will never forget.

鈥淲e cried and cried for him; we grieved for him every day,鈥 Pam said, overcome with emotion. 鈥淧eople need to become organ donors. There鈥檚 not much to it, just checking a box on your driver鈥檚 license.鈥

Steve wasn鈥檛 the first person on the list for the transplant. The first patient was too sick for the operation, and the second patient refused it due to the possibility of a hepatitis infection due to the donor鈥檚 age. Doctors explained to Steve that the chance of infection was minimal and that they were prepared to treat him for hepatitis if needed.

鈥淧eople don鈥檛 get the chance that I got. I鈥檝e always been sort of a gambler. I knew this was my shot. If I say no, I鈥檓 going to be a goner,鈥 he said. 鈥淢y name is not going to come back around on that list before I’ve passed away. There are days I feel 24 years old again, and I believe that鈥檚 from our donor.鈥

The Dombroskys encourage everyone to become organ donors. 

鈥淢y thinking is, when the good Lord comes for you, he doesn鈥檛 want your body; he’s only coming for your soul,鈥 said Steve. 鈥淪o why not give the gift of life? If I could give someone eyesight, a heart, a kidney, or a skin graft, then there鈥檚 a part of me still living, and I think that’s just fantastic.鈥

Steve and Pam are both grateful to the donor and his family, as well as all of the 皇家华人 professionals and organizations that have helped them on this journey. 

They were among the first recipients of monetary support from The Cody Barrasse Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by the family and friends of Cody Barrasse, a 22-year-old Moosic resident who died after being struck by a car. Barrasse was an organ donor; eight individuals received his life-saving organs. The foundation helps to offset the costs that many organ donor recipients face and supports a scholarship in his name at Scranton Preparatory School.

Steve and Pam Dombrosky are grateful for the gift of life after Steve received a lifesaving liver transplant in 2018 due to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis disease. The couple received support from The Cody Barrasse memorial Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps to offset the costs of organ transplantation.

Steve, now 62, has combined his passion for cars with a part-time job, working for a friend with a small automotive dealership. He takes care of mostly everything around their home, including having dinner ready when Pam comes home from her job in the accounting department at The Wright Centers for Community 皇家华人 and 皇家华人 Medical Education in Scranton, where she started working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

鈥淓veryone has been wonderful 鈥 at CMC, in Danville, and here at The Wright Center,鈥 said Pam. 鈥淲hen I read the email (at The Wright Center) about Organ Donor Awareness Month, I wanted to share our story.鈥

For anyone unsure of becoming an organ donor, Steve has one thing to say: 鈥淵ou can consider yourself a hero; you gave a better life to someone else, and that says a lot about who you are. It’s a never-ending battle for these people waiting on transplant lists, and you can help in so many ways,鈥 he said.

For more information about organ donations and how to become an organ donor, visit the website or the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation ().