Geisinger Researchers Find Genomic Screening Can Identify Risk of Heart Disease

Researchers at Geisinger recently discovered that genomic screening can help identify patients who are at risk for heart disease associated with amyloidosis, the build-up of abnormal proteins in the organs and tissues.

Transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR) can be hereditary and lead to a spectrum of other diseases and conditions, including cardiomyopathy, a common precursor to heart failure. One known cause of ATTR is variation of the transthyretin (TTR) gene, so researchers hypothesized that identification of disease-causing variants could lead to discovery of undiagnosed disease.

New treatments for ATTR have improved survival rates, but diagnosis based on symptoms is challenging. Using data from the MyCode Community Health Initiative, which analyzes the DNA of consented participants to study a broad range of health and disease, and electronic health records, researchers studied patients with and without specific TTR variants to determine how often they showed signs of cardiomyopathy and compared those results to findings from cardiac imaging.

They identified 157 patients who carried a known disease-causing TTR variant among the 134,753 patients studied. Related heart-disease diagnoses, including cardiomyopathy and heart failure, were significantly more likely in those 60 and older, but only two of the 157 patients identified already had a clinical diagnosis of amyloidosis.

“We not only found that patients with variants identified by genomic screening had increased risk of heart disease after age 60 but also that the amyloidosis causing that heart disease is likely going to be undiagnosed without knowledge of the genetic variant,” said Brendan Carry, M.D., Geisinger cardiologist and one of the study’s lead authors. Dr. Carry, who co-leads the Geisinger multidisciplinary amyloidosis clinic with neurologist colleague David Avila, M.D., plans to evaluate and test high-risk patients who carry a TTR variant.

The research has positive implications for the future of population health as well as treatment of amyloid cardiomyopathy, heart failure, and other amyloid-related conditions.

“Historically, hereditary amyloidosis has been underdiagnosed, which can be a burden on families for generations,” said Christopher Haggerty, Ph.D., associate professor in translational data science and informatics at Geisinger and the senior author of the study. “A genetic-screening approach to identifying TTR gene variants has the potential to diagnose previously unrecognized cases of ATTR and identify patients at risk for developing cardiomyopathy and other diseases. If we can identify this risk earlier in a patient’s life, we’ll have opportunities to improve treatment.”

The full study can be read in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: CardioOncology, and patients interested in signing up for MyCode can find more information at

Revolutionary Education Center Offers Nurse Aide Class Certification

Revolutionary Education Center, located at 829 Scranton Carbondale Highway in Eynon, PA, is offering a monthly class for nurse aide certification.

The class is 120 hours and is eligible for state certification testing upon completion. The class is Pennsylvania Department of Education and Middle States approved, and may be eligible for funding through CareerLink.

For more information on the certification course, contact Joan Bonczek at 570-483-3600 x600.

The Wright Center for Community Health Announces Open Enrollment Event to Assist with Applying for Health Insurance Coverage

Area residents buying health insurance on Pennie, the state’s marketplace exchange, will have more plans to choose from and may pay lower premiums this year thanks to pandemic relief efforts. In order to help community members understand benefits available to them, The Wright Center for Community Health will offer free, in-person assistance on Friday, Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its Scranton Practice, 501 S. Washington Ave.

Wright Center certified assisters will provide free advice on health care coverage and help people sign up for a plan that meets their needs through Pennie, the replacement for as Pennsylvania’s official site for choosing health insurance plans. Enrollment is open through Jan. 15, 2022, though plans must be purchased by Dec. 31 for coverage to begin Jan. 1 of next year.

At the Dec. 10 event, Wright Center enrollment assisters will:

  • Explain benefit options;
  • Find the best plan to fit every budget, and
  • Check eligibility for financial assistance.

To schedule an appointment, call Kristen Welch, outreach and enrollment navigator at The Wright Center, at 570.209.3737 or email Please include your full name and phone number. Attendees are asked to enter the event through the patient entrance of the Scranton practice, located on the parking lot side of the building, where an enrollment table will be set up inside the lobby.

The Wright Center’s enrollment assisters are trained to help people identify and enroll in trusted affordable health insurance coverage options, providing them with a financial safety net and greater access to care. The confidential face-to-face meeting will help people better understand their options and assist them in the enrollment process.

“We know there are many residents in our area who remain uninsured and may not be offered coverage through work. Health insurance coverage is a basic human right and enrollment events like ours provide answers to the community regarding affordable health care options,” said Welch.

Anyone who suddenly lost their employer-sponsored coverage or is currently not insured should contact The Wright Center’s Enrollment Department as soon as possible by calling 570.591.5253. These individuals might qualify for a special enrollment period.

The Wright Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike. All patients are provided access to health care regardless of their ability to pay. People who are not insured or lack adequate coverage might be eligible for the sliding fee discount program, which allows The Wright Center to reduce fees for eligible patients, depending on household income and family size. Visit for more information.

Crystal Windows Named a Top New York Area Private Firm

Recognizing the company’s continuous growth, national manufacturer Crystal Window & Door Systems was named by leading business publication Crain’s New York Business to the 2021 List of New York’s Largest Privately-Owned Companies. Based on 2020 revenues, the list includes the largest 125 privately-held businesses headquartered in the New York metro area of New York City, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties, and Bergen, Hudson, Essex, and Union counties of northern New Jersey. This is the first time in its 31-year history that Crystal has been included.

“With hundreds of thousands of private businesses in the New York region, including many that are the largest in the nation, it is quite a recognition for Crystal to be on this prestigious list,” said Steve Chen, President of Crystal Windows. “Especially with the challenges of the pandemic during the past year and a half, it is noteworthy that Crystal continued to serve its customers across the country efficiently and effectively.”

Crystal is the only manufacturer on the list in New York and one of only five companies on the list that are headquartered in Queens, NY.

The top three companies on the list – Hearst, Bloomberg, and Horizon Media – are in the media and information services sector. In addition, many of the region’s largest developers, real estate investors, and construction firms such as the Trump Organization, Hunter Roberts, STV, Procida, DeMattis, and Tishman Speyer are represented as well. One quarter of the listed companies are headquartered in New Jersey.

“Crystal is proud to be a true manufacturer in New York City,” said Chen. “Our location in the heart of Queens keeps us close to our construction and real estate customers, as well as the numerous home improvement companies in the region. We provide jobs for over 350 New York residents at our facility, and we contribute significantly to the local economy. It is a win-win situation for Crystal and for New York.”

Tobyhanna Modernization Efforts Support Future Warfighter Needs

Tobyhanna modernization efforts support future warfighter needs
Electronics Engineer Mark Sgobba briefs Maj. Gen. Edmonson during the QUB. (Photo Credit: Thomas Robbins)

Modernization and growth were the main points of discussion during this week’s quarterly update brief (QUB) at Tobyhanna Army Depot.

Maj. Gen. Robert Edmonson, Commanding General of the U.S Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), and Command Sergeant Major Kristie Brady spent three days with Team Tobyhanna during a wide-ranging visit that included tours, interactions with the workforce, and briefings on current Tobyhanna modernization initiatives.

Much of the QUB focused on the recent visit of the Organic Industrial Base (OIB) Modernization Task Force. The cross-functional Task Force team toured TYAD on November 8, the first in a series of visits to the 23 depots and arsenals within the OIB.

Their mission is to determine what is required to support the Army Materiel Command (AMC) 15-year OIB modernization strategy, launched earlier this year by AMC Commanding General Edward Daly. The phased plan focuses on ensuring the OIB is prepared to support all future Army requirements.

While some of the Task Force’s stops will be conducted with a critical eye, those involved say the team came to Tobyhanna to learn.

Tobyhanna modernization efforts support future warfighter needs
Maj. Gen. Robert L. Edmonson addresses Tobyhanna personnel during a recent visit. (Photo Credit: Thomas Robbins)

“The Task Force was focused on how the Army can capitalize on the nearly $1B in modernization efforts that have transformed TYAD’s facilities and ensure we are prepared to support warfighter requirements today, tomorrow and into the future,” said Katlin Edmunds, adding that the depot is further investing in four focus areas that support its future vision: to provide full-spectrum support for the Department of Defense’s communications and electronics readiness needs.

“We will not stop growing – we continue to evolve our C5ISR readiness, cable, radar, and systems integration capabilities to expand our footprint,” she said. Edmunds leads the Strategic Initiatives Office.

During the visit, Edmonson urged Team Tobyhanna to challenge their existing perspectives and ensure the organization is consistently focused on supporting future warfighter needs.

“This [the OIB Task Force effort] is bigger than us, and it will have significant effects for years to come. Our focus must not be on what is best for us – but rather, what is best for America’s warfighters.”

Gen. Daly will brief Congress in early 2022 on the OIB Modernization Strategy. The briefing will include findings from the OIB Modernization Task Force as well as funding recommendations to best support emerging warfighter requirements and Army Futures Command 31+4 modernization initiatives.

Tobyhanna modernization efforts support future warfighter needs
Tobyhanna personnel pose with CECOM personnel during the recent quarterly update brief. From L to R: SFC Brent Leverette, CECOM CSM-Enlisted Aide; CPT Ashley Cooper, Aide-de-Camp to Commanding General; Command Sgt. Maj. Kristie Brady; Maj. Gen. Robert L. Edmonson, CECOM Commanding General; Tobyhanna Deputy Commander Frank Zardecki; Depot Commander Daniel L. Horn; Morgan Monts, Financial Management Analyst, CECOM; and Depot Sgt. Maj. Michael J. Wiles. (Photo Credit: Thomas Robbins)

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post-production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 3,700 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.

Johnson College Offering Computer Information Technology Course to Scranton School District High School Students

Johnson College is now enrolling high school students from the Scranton School Districts into a 15-week Computer Information Technology course starting January 18, 2022. The course will be held Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. on the Johnson College campus in Scranton, PA. The course costs $500 per student and includes tuition and books. Space is limited.

The introduction of JAVA is presented in this course so that students can design and develop dynamic object-oriented programming projects. Some of the topics include inheritance, decision structures, arrays, and the creation of classes using data objects. The languages used to implement object-oriented content are C# and C++. In addition, this course helps to demonstrate strategies and prepare models that can be used as a project foundation so that advanced tools can be further applied to construct application software contents.

For more information and to register, contact the Johnson College Enrollment Department at 570-702-8856 or

WVIA Now Live on Directv Stream

WVIA announced today that it is now live streaming on DIRECTV STREAM. A dedicated live channel for WVIA is already available to all local DIRECTV STREAM customers, supplemented with additional PBS on-demand programming that will continue to expand PBS’s digital footprint and offer viewers additional ways to stream PBS content. 

“As viewer habits continue to evolve, PBS remains committed to making our award-winning, national and local content available to all Americans across as many platforms as possible. This partnership will allow PBS and our member stations to expand our digital footprint and reach more viewers with content that inspires, educates, and entertains,” said Ira Rubenstein, PBS Chief Digital and Marketing Officer. 

“Entertainment is personal and should serve every member of the household, which is why we’re partnering with PBS to deliver DIRECTV STREAM customers more choice, more control and a more convenient way to access the content they care about most,” said Rob Thun, Chief Content Officer for DIRECTV.  

Relationships like this one ensure that on-demand content from PBS favorites including AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, FRONTLINE, GREAT PERFORMANCES, MASTERPIECE, NATURE are available to as many viewers as possible. In addition, PBS KIDS channel has recently joined both the DIRECTV STREAM and DIRECTV lineups, helping to extend the PBS mission of preparing young children for success in school and life through trusted, educational media, available anytime and anywhere. Now, even our youngest of viewers can access their favorite series, including DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD, MOLLY OF DENALI, ODD SQUAD, PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC and WILD KRATTS, among many others, via DIRECTV and its on-demand menu or using the same capabilities on DIRECTV STREAM.   

In addition to DIRECTV STREAM, WVIA content is available on all WVIA-branded PBS platforms, including and, as well as the PBS Video app and PBS KIDS Video app. WVIA members are also able to view an extended library of quality public television programming via Passport.

Geisinger Lung Cancer Screening Program Promotes Early Detection

Geisinger’s lung cancer screening program, launched over the last year, is the best way for at-risk patients to receive annual screenings key to the early detection of lung cancer.

When detected early, lung cancer is easier to treat, and screenings are an important diagnostic tool in the process. Cancer screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies are familiar to many patients, but fewer know they might be eligible for yearly lung cancer screenings.

Lung cancer is responsible for the most cancer-related deaths in men and women in the U.S, and lung cancer screenings are non-invasive diagnostic tests that can help detect cancer in its earliest stages.

During the screening, a specialized scanner is used to take a detailed computerized picture of the lungs. This low-dose CT scan is painless and uses 75 percent less radiation than a traditional CT scan. Screening takes only a few minutes, and regular activities can be resumed immediately following the scan.

“Think of lung cancer screening the way you think of any other preventive exam,” said Matthew Facktor, M.D., thoracic surgeon and director of the lung cancer screening program at Geisinger. “It’s necessary for staying on top of your health, and your doctor can help you decide if a screening is right for you.”

Patients are eligible for yearly lung cancer screening if they do not have lung cancer symptoms and meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are between the ages of 55 and 77
  • Have a 30-pack-year history of smoking (smoked an average of one pack per day for 30 years, two packs per day for 15 years, etc.)
  • Currently smoke or quit smoking within the last 15 years

After the scan, results are analyzed by the comprehensive screening program and shared with both patient and doctor, who will collaborate if further testing is needed.

“You and your doctor will work together to create a plan around your particular needs,” said Dr. Facktor.”

For more information about lung cancer screening at Geisinger, visit or call 570-600-6883.

The Wright Center for Community Health Receives Federal Funding to Support Telehealth Services

The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau recently awarded a nearly $500,000 grant to The Wright Center for Community Health in collaboration with Endless Mountains Health Systems to support telehealth infrastructure that serves patients in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties.

The $491,814 grant was made available through the federal COVID-19 Telehealth Program: Round 2. The Wright Center was also the recipient of $629,051 in grant funding for Round 1 of the program.

The new round of grant funding supports the purchase and installation of secure telehealth devices and supporting systems. The new technology will expand and enhance telehealth capacity for both health care systems, including check-ins, triage, care delivery and follow-up appointments with video conferencing and telehealth audio calls at regional community health practices in Northeast Pennsylvania.

“We are extremely grateful for this generous federal award to enhance access to and the delivery of essential health services related to COVID-19,” said Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, president and chief executive officer of The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education. “These crucial resources will have a long-term, positive impact on enhancing access to primary preventive care and chronic disease management services for patients, including those with substance use disorder.

“We are equally thrilled to have partnered with Endless Mountains Health Systems on this initiative and to be delivering these critical resources to the rural community they serve.”

Endless Mountains Health Systems, a federally designated critical access hospital, is a not-for-profit 25-bed acute care hospital with emergency services and ancillary services. Critical access hospitals, while vital to the health and welfare of the communities they serve, are challenged often in accessing the resources and capacity to set up their own telehealth infrastructure.

Including Endless Mountains Health Systems as a strategic partner and pursuing support for their technology needs enhanced The Wright Center’s grant application and vital regional health system connectivity.

A successful FCC Round 1 recipient, The Wright Center’s partnership with Endless Mountains Health Systems further extends impactful telehealth reach in rural Pennsylvania during the pandemic. The new funding stream enhances access for patients served by Endless Mountains Health Systems by providing them an opportunity to tele-connect with their health care providers.

In addition, the technology will be compliant by federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards for patient-doctor interaction. Telemonitors, kiosks and related mobile devices will serve as the patient-doctor platform for the exchange of electronic health records, telehealth visits and information services, while enhancing the platform between patient portals and digital applications that support scheduling, show rates and follow-up telehealth visits for COVID-19-related services.

Overall, telehealth services facilitate public health strategies, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, by increasing social distancing and offering additional flexibility for patients and providers that can save time and resources. E-visits also afford continuity of care, which can prevent negative consequences due to delays in preventive, chronic and routine care.

Marywood University Presidential Society Dinner Honors Alumni Benefactors

Pictured from left to right are Barbara Cawley, Sister Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D., Marywood University President, and Mary Ellen Coleman.

At its recent Presidential Society Dinner, Marywood University honored Barbara Cawley ’63 and Mary Ellen Coleman (H)’68 with the Presidential Mission Medal. Presidential medal recipients are servant leaders who embrace a commitment to Marywood’s core values of Catholic identity, respect, empowerment, service, and excellence. They inspire others to serve and advance Marywood’s commitment to excellence and empowerment through education..

Additionally, Barbara Sowinski, M.A. ’00; the late Ann Marie Janders, M.S.L.S. ’68; and The Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation were inducted into the Saint Alphonsus Society, which honors benefactors whose lifetime commitments to Marywood have reached or exceeded $500,000.

Cawley’s leadership, devotion, talents, and support have made a lasting impact at Marywood. She was taught, mentored, supported, guided, and counseled by the IHM Sisters in Catholic grade school and high school, as well as throughout her college days and professional opportunities at Marywood. Her career has featured high-profile leadership positions in both corporate and educational settings, including her distinctive service at Marywood, first as Director of Development, then as Vice President of Development, Alumni Relations, and Public Relations, and, more recently, as Alumni Engagement and Development Liaison and Advocacy Committee Liaison to corporate, foundation, and government offices. Her accomplishments are not solely in

the professional milieu; Cawley’s community involvement is prolific, meaningful, and lifelong, encompassing numerous civic, cultural, and charitable organizations and events.

Coleman has contributed her professional expertise, community influence, and generous personal resources in support of Marywood and its mission. Her considerable professional achievements, including a long, successful career in the out-of-home media industry, are framed by her highly effective leadership in numerous charitable, civic, and professional organizations. She is known for being astute, professional, caring, and dependable, meeting life’s challenges and uncertainties without hesitation and with a riveting passion for helping others. Her passionate involvement with Marywood spans several decades, including serving for nine years as Director of Development, another nine years as a member of the Board of Trustees, and, presently, more than ten years as an Advancement and Alumni Engagement Consultant.

Presidential Mission Medal recipients inspire others to serve and advance the University’s commitment to excellence and empowerment through education.

Sister Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D., Marywood University president, said, “These women have humbly, wholeheartedly, and graciously lived the Marywood mission and, in so doing, have helped transform Marywood. Commitment to helping others is at the very core of their existence. On behalf of the campus community, I thank Barbara and Mary Ellen for their unwavering advocacy for the present and future success of this great institution.”