Foster & Lynn Friess Donation to Northeast Regional Cancer Institute

Spirit of Hope Celebration Ambassador, Matt Beynon, presented the Cancer Institute with a $100,000 check in December as a year-end blessing from Lynnette and Foster Friess of Jackson, WY, to support the Cancer Institute’s Community-Based Cancer Screening Navigation Program. Foster Friess, a Wyoming businessman and philanthropist died on May 27th in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 81. 

Matt Beynon is part of the Board of Ambassadors, a group of community volunteers that hosts an annual Spirit of Hope Celebration in November at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Proceeds from the event benefit the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute’s Community-Based Cancer Screening Navigation Program. This program helps low income and un/underinsured individuals in northeast Pennsylvania get their recommended colorectal, breast, cervical, and lung cancer screenings. 

Lackawanna Students Earn National PBL Awards

Six Lackawanna College students competed alongside nearly 800 of the country’s top business students in the 2021 Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL) National Leadership Conference (NLC) held virtually between June 24-27. Several Falcons placed in the top ten in their respective categories. 

The students had previously competed and won between first and third place in state competitions, also held online in April 2021, qualifying them to advance to nationals. 

At the NLC, Business graduate Jillian Martin ’21, of Berwick, and Accounting major Brian Davis, of Scranton, partnered to earn fourth place in the business category. Current Professional Studies bachelor’s degree student Mason Kay ’19, of Clarks Summit, earned fifth place in Digital Media. Current Accounting bachelor’s major Sara Kellerman ’17, of Honesdale, obtained seventh place in Accounting for Professionals. Brittany Flynn ’21, of Mayfield, placed eighth in Sports Management and Marketing and ninth in Contemporary Sports Issues. Scranton native Kelly Kuzma ’21 also competed in the national event. 

College faculty and staff supporting PBL include advisor Carolyn Chupko, co-advisors Suzanne Cercone and Karen Lipnichan, and Pennsylvania PBL State Advisor Beverly O’Hora.  PBL is the college division of FBLA with over 8,000 members and more than 350 chapters, helping students prepare for careers in business. As PBL’s mission is to “prepare students to become community-minded business leaders in a global society through relevant career preparation and leadership experiences,” Lackawanna’s chapter is open to students of all majors. 

Two Geisinger Hospitals Ranked Among Newsweek’s World’s Best Smart Hospitals

Geisinger Medical Center and Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center made Newsweek’s 2021 list of World’s Best Smart Hospitals for their commitment to innovation and advancement in health care.

Only 250 hospitals worldwide were recognized, and Geisinger Wyoming Valley and Geisinger Medical Center ranked 119th and 149th, respectively. They are among only seven hospitals recognized in Pennsylvania and just 89 hospitals selected in the United States. Both medical centers are the only hospitals in their service areas to make the list, and they’re the only two Pennsylvania hospitals recognized outside of Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.

Ranked hospitals were evaluated on five criteria: digital surgery, digital imaging, artificial intelligence (AI), telehealth and electronic medical records.

More than 13,000 votes from hospital managers and health care professionals with backgrounds in health care technology were considered, and every nominated hospital was thoroughly researched and validated by a team of analysts at Newsweek.

Geisinger has long embraced utilization of technology to improve quality of care, catalyze research, and make communication with providers and use of services easier for the patients and members it serves.

Robotic-assisted surgeries allow a higher degree of precision, smaller incisions, less scarring, less pain and discomfort, and the ability to treat areas difficult to reach with the human hand. At Geisinger, the da Vinci Surgical System® is used for less-invasive general surgery, colorectal surgery, thoracic surgery, surgical oncology procedures, OBGYN procedures and urology surgery. Mako® robotic arm-assisted surgery is used to perform partial and total knee replacements and total hip replacements, and Geisinger is the sole provider of Mako joint replacement surgery in the region it serves.

“We value the use of digital systems in our surgical procedures because we know more precise, less invasive surgery leads to better outcomes and shorter recovery times for our patients,” said Ron Beer, chief administrative officer for Geisinger’s northeast region. “We’re honored to be among Newsweek’s World’s Best Smart Hospitals, because it’s a reflection of our continued effort to provide the best possible care, closer to home, for our patients and members.”

Advanced imaging is used in a variety of diagnostic and surgical procedures at Geisinger. These include the cardiac catheterization labs where severe heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues are identified and treated swiftly, and the Comprehensive Stroke Centers — namely Geisinger Medical Center and Geisinger Wyoming Valley — that care for patients with complex strokes and neurovascular conditions.

A robust electronic medical record and advancements in AI and machine learning are at the heart of research initiatives to detect risk of conditions like atrial fibrillation (A-fib) and even death. An innovative ECG Analysis Platform to detect A-fib risk, developed by Tempus in collaboration with Geisinger, was granted Breakthrough Device Designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this year. Geisinger is also using AI to improve imaging accuracy, diagnosis and follow-up care. A collaboration between Geisinger and Medial EarlySign to predict hospital admissions and complications was recently named runner-up out of more than 300 entries in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services AI Health Outcomes Challenge.

Telemedicine has been a critical tool in some areas of care delivery for years at Geisinger, but the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic accelerated use of the technology across the system. Since March 2020, Geisinger has enhanced its capability to conduct telemedicine visits and now offers telehealth consultation in 72 specialties.

“When the pandemic began, we expanded our telemedicine capacity to keep our patients safe by making sure they were able to keep their primary care and regular specialty appointments without exposure to COVID-19 infection,” said Megan Brosious, chief administrative officer in Geisinger’s central region. “We already knew telemedicine works, but we’ve learned it has more applications than we thought, has vast potential to reveal new and innovative ways of caring for our patients and members, and aligns with our vision of making better health easier for the communities we serve.”

Johnson College Immersive College Experience Program

Johnson College is offering an Immersive College Experience to high school students enrolled in the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). This program will be held from July 19 through July 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Johnson College campus. Students will gain knowledge about the college application process, financial aid, how to succeed on and off a college campus, and will participate in STEM activities.

The interactive STEM activities will provide a learning experience that fosters creativity while teaching invaluable technical skills. They will include an introduction to programming, robotics, coding, and other aspects of STEM.

For more information and to register, email Tim Frank, Academic Program Specialist at Johnson College at This event is free for students enrolled in the OVR program.

FNCB Bank Announces Staff Promotions

FNCB, locally-based since 1910, today announced several staff promotions.

Keehna Murphy, Vice President, Credit Analyst Supervisor

Keehna Murphy has been promoted to Vice President, Credit Analyst Supervisor where she will oversee mentoring and training of credit staff as well as prepare, review and assess risk associated with commercial credit requests.

She joined FNCB in 2014 as a credit analyst. Prior to joining FNCB, she had extensive credit analysis experience in the community banking sector.

Ms. Murphy is a graduate of Union-Endicott High School (NY) and Marywood University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She earned an MBA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She resides in Clarks Green with her husband Mark and daughter Ella.

Ellen Pritchard, Vice President, Community Office Manager

Ellen Pritchard has been promoted to Vice President, Community Office Manager where she is responsible for managing the daily operations of the FNCB Bank Community Office in Honesdale.

She joined FNCB in 2006 as a Senior Customer Service Representative before being promoted to Community Office Manager of the Honesdale branch in 2010.

Ms. Pritchard is a graduate of Southeast High School (Bradenton, FL) and has completed numerous American Institute of Banking courses. She resides in Honesdale with her husband Dick.

Kelley Zionce, Assistant Vice President, Community Office Manager II

Kelley Zionce has been promoted to Assistant Vice President, Community Office Manager II where she is responsible for managing the daily operations of the Back Mountain FNCB Bank Community Office.

She joined FNCB in 2013 as a Customer Service Representative and held various positions before being promoted to Community Office Manager of the Back Mountain branch in 2018. Prior to joining FNCB she had more than 20 years of experience in banking.

Ms. Zionce is a graduate of Hanover Area High School and Luzerne County Community College with a degree in business administration. She is a 2018 graduate of Leadership Wilkes-Barre and is a board member of the Back Mountain Chamber of Commerce.

She resides in Wilkes-Barre and has three children: Marissa, Jonathon and Jillian.

Thomas P. Zurla, Assistant Vice President, Community Office Manager

Thomas P. Zurla has been promoted to Assistant Vice President, Community Office Manager where he is responsible for managing the daily operations of the FNCB Bank Daleville Community Office.

He joined FNCB in 2018 as a Retail Banking Training Coordinator before being promoted to Community Office Manager in 2020. Prior to joining FNCB, he spent 22 years with M&T Bank in various leadership positions.

He is a graduate of James Coughlin High School and attended Luzerne County Community College for business management. He is a 2021 graduate of Leadership Lackawanna and is an organist/cantor at various churches throughout NEPA.

He resides in Scranton with his husband Michael.

Louise Balbach, Assistant Vice President, Community Office Manager II

Louise Balbach has been promoted to Assistant Vice President, Community Office Manager II where she is responsible for managing the daily operations of the FNCB Bank Community Office in Exeter.

Ms. Balbach joined FNCB in 2013 and has held the positions of Customer Service Representative, Assistant Community Office Manager and Community Office Manager. Prior to joining FNCB, she had more than 35 years of experience in the banking industry.

She is a graduate of Scranton Technical High School and attended the University of Scranton. She has completed numerous American Bankers Association courses and is a member of the Wyoming Kiwanis, Wilkes-Barre Women’s Network and the Greater Pittston Women’s Network.

She resides in Exeter and has three children: Cassandra, Nicole, and Michael.

Diane Abbott, Banking Officer, Assistant Community Office Manager

Diane Abbott has been promoted to Banking Officer, Assistant Community Office Manager where she is responsible for helping manage the daily operations of the FNCB Community Office in Honesdale.

Ms. Abbott joined FNCB in 2006 and has held the positions of Teller, CSR, Personal Banker and Assistant Community Office Manager. Prior to joining FNCB, she was a banker with Farmers & Merchants Bank and Harleysville National Bank.

She is a graduate of Honesdale High School and has completed numerous banking courses.

She resides in Honesdale with her husband Jeff. They have two children: Jonathan and Morgan.

Justin Kravitz, Banking Officer, CRM Marketing Specialist

Justin Kravitz has been promoted to Banking Officer, CRM Marketing Specialist where he is responsible for the administration of the Bank’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

Prior to joining FNCB in 2018, he held project management and marketing positions at several northeastern Pennsylvania companies. 

He is a graduate of Forest City High School and Wilkes-University with a bachelor’s degree in integrated media. He resides in Fell Township with his wife Rebecca and children Jaylee, Alexandria, Savannah and Levi.

Michael Cioffari, Banking Officer, Technology Services Analyst

Michael Cioffari has been promoted to Banking Officer, Technology Services Analyst where he provides technical support for bank employees, management of Citrix environment as well as server infrastructure and Windows desktops.

Prior to joining FNCB in 2007, he was employed by MetLife in Clarks Summit. 

Mr. Cioffari is a graduate of Mid Valley High School and Keystone College with an associate degree in computer science and a bachelor’s degree in information technology. He resides in Throop.

RailRiders Community Home Run Derby

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders are proud to partner with T-Mobile for the Community Home Run Derby at 6:00 P.M. on Thursday, July 29, at PNC Field. 100 participants will have the chance to swing for the fences to win great prizes from T-Mobile and the RailRiders.

“We are looking forward to bringing this great, new event to PNC Field,” said Katie Beekman, the General Manager of the RailRiders. “T-Mobile is a tremendous partner, including their support of our Hometown Heroes program and now this Community Home Run Derby. We really do think fans will have a great time with this new event and the chance to hit home runs like our RailRiders.”

Registration is open to the first 20 participants in five age groups: 16-19, 20-24, 25-30, 31-35 and ages 36 & up. Each participant will receive 15 swings and a variety of targets will be placed around the field with points accrued based on distance. The top three point-winners from each category will move on to the final round. One champion will be crowned in each of the five age groups.

Hopeful participants can register now and contestants will be taken on a first-come, first-serve basis based on age groupings. Visit now to register on the T-Mobile Community Home Run Derby page.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is playing in Worcester through July 4 and opens a seven-game, six-day set against the Syracuse Mets on July 6. Single-game tickets for the upcoming homestand are available now online at

Geisinger Names Dr. Christa Lese Martin Chief Scientific Officer

Geisinger has named Christa Lese Martin, Ph.D., its chief scientific officer.

Dr. Martin, the founding director of Geisinger’s Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute (ADMI), will lead Geisinger’s systemwide clinical research initiatives, including more than 500 research faculty and staff members specializing in precision health, genomics, data science, population health, implementation science, health services, bioethics, and clinical trials.

“Our vision at Geisinger is to learn from every patient to maximize better health for all,” Dr. Martin said. “Geisinger has a long history—more than 100 years—of excellence in research, and I look forward to leading us into the next phase as we integrate our research discoveries into routine clinical care.”

Dr. Martin brings extensive experience in clinical and research genetics to the role. Before joining Geisinger in 2013, she was an associate professor in the Department of Human Genetics at Emory University and operations director of Emory Genetics Clinical Laboratory. Throughout her career, her research has taken a “genetics-first” approach to neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism, intellectual disability, and schizophrenia, with a goal of developing precision health-driven treatments.

Under her leadership, Geisinger’s Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute has grown to serve more than 9,000 patients and their families, leveraging leading-edge clinical research to improve outcomes for patients with developmental conditions. She is also part of the leadership team for the MyCode Community Health Initiative, Geisinger’s groundbreaking precision health program. In 2018, she was named associate chief scientific officer (CSO) at Geisinger and has served as interim CSO since December.

Dr. Martin has played a leading role in developing Geisinger as a learning health system, bridging research discoveries and clinical medicine and bringing precision health into everyday care. Today, Geisinger is home to more than 1,000 ongoing research studies, including clinical trials, and Geisinger faculty and staff published more than 750 papers and articles in 2020. The Research Institute receives more than $41 million in external funding annually.

Dr. Martin received her Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State University and completed her Ph.D. in Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh. She completed postdoctoral training at the University of Chicago’s Department of Human Genetics, where she remained on faculty as an assistant professor and director of the Clinical Cytogenetics Laboratory before joining Emory University in 2004.

Dr. Martin is a principal investigator of several National Institutes of Health-funded awards, including the Clinical Genome Resource (ClinGen) and Genes to Mental Health (G2MH) consortia. She serves on multiple national committees, including the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) Secondary Findings Working Group, which she co-chairs. She is board certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ABMGG) as a clinical genetics laboratory director. In 2019, she was invited to join the prestigious Carol Emmott Fellowship program for women leaders in healthcare.