Marywood University’s Student Health Services Take Steps to Stop the Impact of Covid-19 on Its Campus

Marywood University’s Student Health Services staff are doing their part in limiting the spread of COVID-19. With the help of Geisinger Health System and The Wright Center, Stephanie Jennings, CRNP, and Maura Smith, RN, director of Student Health Services at Marywood University, have received the first of the two doses in the vaccination process.

Ms. Jennings received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and will receive the second dose on January 12, while Mrs. Smith received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, and will receive her second dose on February 1, 2021.

Mrs. Smith said, “Neither I or Stephanie had any side effects following our vaccines, other than the side effect of hope. The sooner we can stop the spread, the sooner we can stop the impact on our campus community and beyond.”

Ms. Jennings, who works per diem with Geisinger Health System, was able to get inoculated through work, and The Wright Center is offering vaccines to those who are working in the healthcare field, which is how Mrs. Smith received her vaccine.

Mrs. Smith said, “We [Marywood University] hope to have a clinic on campus through a local pharmacy for the COVID-19 vaccines, similar to what we [Marywood University] offer to the campus community for flu shots, in the near future.”

The Wright Center for Community Health Receives Grant From Robert H. Spitz Foundation

The Wright Center for Community Health has received an $8,000 grant from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation to enable its Community Health Workers to assist patients who are coping with a variety of hardships that can impact their healthcare.

Grant funding will be used to help individuals overcome economic barriers, such as lack of nutritious food or transportation to medical appointments, so patients can focus on addressing health issues. The Wright Center’s Community Health Workers will also connect patients with a variety of community resources, such as GED programs and job training.

The Robert H. Spitz Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that supports initiatives and programs serving the residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania, is administered by the Scranton Area Community Foundation. Robert H. Spitz was born in Scranton and was a 1955 graduate of Scranton Central High School and the University of Miami. Before retirement, Mr. Spitz had been employed by the U.S. Department of Labor and owned several local restaurants. The Robert H. Spitz Foundation was established from his estate in 2015.

The Wright Center was one of 42 nonprofit organizations in Northeast Pennsylvania selected to receive grants during the Spitz Foundation’s 2020 funding cycle, which collectively distributed $771,000.

Pictured, from left, are care team members from The Wright Center for Community Health: Sydney Rentsch, Community Health Worker; Keri Macknosky, Certified Community Health Worker; Kari Machelli, R.N., Director of Case and Care Management Services; Kayla Kincel, Community Health Worker; and Whitney Cooper, Community Health Worker.

Northeast Regional Cancer Institute Names Chair for 18th Annual C.A.S.U.A.L. Day

Tom R. DePietro, PharmD was recently named chair for the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute’s 18th Annual C.A.S.U.A.L. (Colon cancer Awareness Saves Unlimited Adult Lives) Day.  

Tom R. DePietro is a pharmacist/owner of DePietro’s Pharmacy. After earning his Doctorate of Pharmacy from Temple University School of Pharmacy in 2009, Tom worked for a large chain pharmacy and quickly realized patients could be better served. Three years later, in 2012, Tom opened an independent pharmacy in his hometown of Dunmore. DePietro’s Pharmacy has been recognized numerous times by the Scranton Chamber of Commerce as “Business of the Year”, “Best Practices in Community Involvement”, and “Best Practices in Customer Service.” DePietro’s has also been voted Reader’s Choice “Best Local Pharmacy” for the past 8 years. Individually, Tom has been recognized for his philanthropy by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, NEPA Chapter. Tom is also actively involved in promoting the profession of pharmacy and serves on the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association Independent Pharmacy Owner Committee and is on the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Care Network.  Every day, Tom plays numerous roles as a business owner, a pharmacist, community supporter, father, husband, and friend. Tom serves on the Board of the Greater Scranton YMCA and he also serves as the Chairman of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority. Tom resides in South Abington Township with his wife Eugenia and two daughters, Dominica and Adriana.

Tom’s involvement with the Cancer Institute began with his generous support to the Annual Spirit of Hope Celebration hosted by the Spirit of Hope Board of Ambassadors. As an Ambassador, Tom has been the presenting sponsor for four years. Additionally, Tom has supported C.A.S.U.A.L. Day for many years as a retail location.

C.A.S.U.A.L. Day, set for Thursday, March 25, 2021, is a dress down day to raise awareness for colorectal cancer in northeast Pennsylvania.  On this day, participants dress casual while wearing a specially designed face masks, silicone wrist-bands and/or t-shirts.

The focus of this awareness campaign is to have a casual conversation about colon cancer. All proceeds from the event stay in NEPA and go towards the Cancer Institute efforts to raise awareness and support to support colorectal cancer prevention, early detection education and screenings.   For more information about C.A.S.U.A.L. Day and how you can participate, please call the Cancer Institute at (570) 941-7984 or visit

Johnson College Offers Pennsylvania State Vehicle Safety Inspection Course Starting January 26

Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program will be holding a Pennsylvania State Vehicle Safety Inspection course on campus January 26, 28, Feb 2, 4, 2021 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Space is limited. The total cost of the course is $200 for cars and light trucks. There is additional $75 fee for other vehicle categories. To learn more or to enroll, visit or contact the Continuing Education Department at 570-702-8979 or

The Pennsylvania State Vehicle Safety Inspection course requirements include 12 classroom hours, a written test and a two-hour tactile test scheduled independently with the instructor. All must be completed before receiving certification from PennDOT. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis according to the date of payment. Class size is limited to 12 students so participants are encouraged to register early. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid operator’s license for each class of vehicle they intend to inspect. Classes will be held in the Automotive Center of the Weaver Building on the Johnson College campus.

For additional information on Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program, please call 570-702-8979, email, or visit

PennDOT Extends Expiration Dates on Commercial Driver Licenses, Commercial Learner’s Permits

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that expiration dates for commercial driver licenses and commercial learner’s permits will be extended for Pennsylvania residents in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

The following products’ expiration dates will be extended:

  • The expiration date for a commercial learner’s permit scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020, through February 22, 2021, is extended through February 22, 2021.
  • The expiration date for commercial driver licenses scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020, through February 22, 2021, is extended through February 22, 2021.

Expiration extension deadlines on non-commercial driver license, photo identification cards, learner’s permits and camera cards ended on August 31, 2020.

For a list of open driver license and photo license centers and the services provided, as well as their hours of operation, please visit  

Customers may continue to complete various transactions and access multiple resources online at Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver’s license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and schedule a driver’s exam. There are no additional fees for using online services.

PennDOT will continue to evaluate these processes and will communicate any changes with the public.

Additional COVID-19 information is available at For more information, visit or

Geisinger Announces Top Baby Names for 2020

Welcome to the world, Ava and Liam, Geisinger’s most popular baby names of the eventful year, 2020!

Liam climbed up one spot from last year and beat Noah to the No. 1 spot for boys, while Ava jumped over Emma, Olivia, Harper, Charlotte and Amelia to take the No. 1 spot for girls.

Geisinger welcomed 4,945 babies in 2020 (as of Dec. 21, 2020) and has tabulated the most popular names. Babies are delivered at five Geisinger hospitals in Pennsylvania, including Geisinger Medical CenterGeisinger Community Medical CenterGeisinger Wyoming Valley Medical CenterGeisinger Bloomsburg Hospital and Geisinger Lewistown Hospital.

The top 10 baby names across all of Geisinger’s hospitals in Pennsylvania are:

1. Ave
3. Emma
4. Harper
5. Olivia
6. Evelyn
7. Aurora
8. Amelia
9. Charlotte
10. Isabella

1. Liam
2. Mason
3. Noah
4. Owen
5. Oliver
6. Lucas
7. Wyatt
8. Jackson
9. Carson
10. Carter

Below are some of the top names at individual Geisinger hospitals:

Geisinger Medical Center, Danville – 1,821 babies 
1. Emma
2. Harper
3. Charlotte
4. Riley
5. Isabella

1. Liam
2. Oliver
3. Owen
4. Noah
5. Mason

Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, Wilkes-Barre – 1,749 babies
1. Ava
2. Sophia
3. Madison
4. Ella
5. Luna
6. Harper

1. Liam
2. Noah
3. Ethan
4. Jacob
5. Wyatt
6. Lucas

Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital, Bloomsburg – 406 babies
1. Evelyn
2. Harper
3. Aurora
4. Paisley
5. Piper

1. Mason
2. Lincoln
3. Benjamin
4. Grayson
5. Carson

Geisinger Lewistown Hospital, Lewistown – 496 babies
1. Lilian
2. Anna
3. Ellie
5. Piper

1. Owen
2. Mason
3. Carter
4. Layne
5. William

Geisinger Community Medical Center, Scranton – 473 babies
1. Aurora
2. Alice
3. Noelle
4. Abigail
5. Melanie

1. Noah
2. Oliver
3. William
4. Jackson
5. Luca

These results combine different spelling variations of the same name. For example, the ranking for Liam includes variations like Liamm, and Oliver includes variations such as Olliver.

At Geisinger, obstetrician/gynecologists and certified nurse-midwives work together to comfort and care for mothers-to-be and their babies, and expectant moms can tailor their birth plans according to their preferences. Midwives facilitate natural birth plans, and OB/GYNs will be on duty at all hours to intervene when needed.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic contributed toward the change in the way families made decisions in 2020.

“Most people are largely still afraid of becoming pregnant during this pandemic,” said Dr. J. Manuel Arreguin, chief of obstetrics and gynecology in Geisinger’s northeast region. “There’s so much that we are still learning from this virus. Unfortunately, there’s lots of misinformation, too, that dissuades our families from concluding that this is the right time to have more children.”

With locations throughout central, northeast and western Pennsylvania, Geisinger’s pregnancy and childbirth team provides comprehensive care for moms and little ones. Visit to find out more.

Marywood University Offers Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate Program

Marywood University’s Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusion (OEI) recently announced that it will offer a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Certificate Program for staff and faculty members. The DEI Certificate Program is a cohort model designed to increase the level of awareness, understanding, and action for equity by creating an inclusive community that reinforces the University’s core values and mission.

Attendees of the DEI Certificate Program will attend at least five DEI workshops and/or events, submit a diversity statement, present a reflective portfolio/e-portfolio; and participate in an Intercultural Development Inventory Assessment. The program will be offered in the fall and spring semesters beginning the week of January 18, 2021, with competition of the certificate to occur one calendar year from the chosen start. Continuing education and ACT 48 credits are available where applicable.

DEI represents a healthy campus climate at Marywood that proactively prepares students for the global marketplace and faculty and staff to be leaders for inclusive excellence. The overarching goal of this certificate is to foster active engagement of Marywood’s faculty and staff with its student body and to promote an environment of opportunity and success for all members on campus. Participants who obtain the certificate will gain the competencies necessary to enact systemic change at Marywood and in higher education.

For additional information about Marywood University’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate Program, please contact Yerodin Lucas, Ph.D., director of the office of institutional equity and inclusion and Title IX coordinator, at

Application Deadline for EIDL Extended

The SBA recently announced that the deadline to apply for a COVID-19 pandemic Economic Injury Disaster Loan has been extended to December 31, 2021.

To date, SBA has approved $197 billion in low-interest loans, which provide U.S. small businesses, non-profits, and agricultural businesses working capital funds. Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications will continue to be accepted through December 2021, pending the availability of funds.

Loans are offered at affordable terms, including a 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profit organizations, a 30-year maturity, and an automatic deferment of one year before monthly payments begin. All eligible small businesses and nonprofits are encouraged to apply.

Learn more and apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan