The Wright Center News

The Wright Centers Expand Presence in Luzerne County

The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education will increase access to high-quality, comprehensive, affordable primary health services and health care career development opportunities through relocation and expansion of their Kingston primary care and workforce development center into downtown Wilkes-Barre.

The Wright Center for Community Health recently completed the purchase and is repurposing a 34,460-square-foot building at 169 N. Pennsylvania Ave. The more than 3-acre site enables the nonprofit community health center to expand opportunities for regional residents to receive integrated, whole-person primary health care at one convenient location. The new primary care clinic will educate primary care physicians, medical students, and interprofessional health students from regionally and nationally affiliated academic institutions. The center will open Monday, Jan. 9, at 8 a.m.

“We are honored to have this opportunity in Luzerne County to expand the delivery of our mission to improve the health and welfare of the communities we serve through inclusive and responsive health services and the sustainable renewal of an inspired and competent workforce that is privileged to serve,” said Linda Thomas-Hemak, M.D., FACP, FAAP, president and CEO of The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education. “We are grateful for and inspired by Gov. Tom Wolf’s validating, generous Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program award.

“We are also grateful to and inspired by our supportive governmental and legislative leaders, Sordoni Construction, and all of our partners who made this development project in Wilkes-Barre possible. We look forward to giving back through the regional and local community benefit impact we deliver,” Dr. Thomas-Hemak added. “Together, we are building a preferred future in which everyone will benefit from a health system that prioritizes equity, quality, and affordability of comprehensive primary health care services and career opportunities.

“Our deep investment into Wilkes-Barre will enable The Wright Center to grow our operations and our collaborative, interprofessional relationships to ensure everyone in the service area has equitable access to whole-person primary health services, regardless of their ZIP code, insurance status, or ability to pay. We are equally committed to pipeline, community-driven partnerships to open up dream mapping about health care career opportunities, so the demographics of our future health care workforce can better and more inclusively reflect the demographics of our regional community,” she added.        

In 2019, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) designated The Wright Center for Community Health as a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike, providing resources that allow the nonprofit organization to further assist medically underserved rural and urban communities and vulnerable populations, including people who are underinsured and uninsured. With a sliding-fee discount program available, The Wright Center reduces barriers to care by ensuring health care is affordable for everyone in need, regardless of their ability to pay. The Wright Center’s network of clinics in Northeast Pennsylvania primarily serves patients from Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming counties.

The Wright Center is no stranger to Luzerne County. The enterprise has operated teaching health centers in Wilkes-Barre and Kingston for many years and partnered on several public health initiatives with community resource agencies. The Wright Center for Community Health has utilized its 34-foot mobile medical unit, better known as Driving Better Health, to further address barriers to quality care in several underserved communities, partnering with social service organizations and school districts in lower Luzerne County to deliver routine vaccinations, COVID-19 vaccinations, boosters, and testing to where people live, work, and study.

The first phase of the new clinical, educational and administrative center in Wilkes-Barre will be open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on holidays that occur Monday through Saturday.

The center has ample, off-street parking and is within walking distance of downtown Wilkes-Barre, the James F. Conahan Intermodal Transportation Center, and public transportation bus stops. It will offer family-friendly primary medical, behavioral, and addiction and recovery services across the lifespan, from pediatrics to geriatrics. Ultimately, its integrated services will offer patients the convenience of going to a single location to access full-service primary medical, dental, behavioral health, addiction and recovery services, and other supportive programs.

Over the next several months, The Wright Center will hopefully be adding more than 25 medical examination rooms, 30 behavioral health rooms, and 10 dental operators to increase access. The new facility will also include state-of-the-art conference and learning rooms, complete with audio-visual technology, computers, and more for provider care teams and learners, as well as dedicated space for partnering community resource agencies. The full project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

To make an appointment at The Wright Center for Community Health Wilkes-Barre Practice, call 570-491-0126 or go to

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Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, center, discusses how the new Wright Center for Community Health Wilkes-Barre Practice will improve the health and well-being of residents in Wilkes-Barre and Luzerne County.

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New COVID-19 Vaccine Available at The Wright Center

Children and infants as young as 6 months old can now receive the updated coronavirus vaccines at several of The Wright Center for Community Health’s primary care practices, increasing their defense against sickness during the upcoming holiday season and new year.

Nationally, health officials have in recent weeks reported a surge of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus, more commonly known as RSV. Hospitals in some areas have returned to operating at or near capacity levels due to the sharp rise in seasonal illnesses. Meanwhile, certain cold medications are in short supply, and officials in several large U.S. cities are again urging indoor masking.

Lackawanna and Luzerne counties were classified as “low” for community spread of COVID-19 as of Dec. 8. New cases, though, had trended higher in the weeks since Thanksgiving. And, Susquehanna County’s community level is currently “high,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 “As winter’s official start draws near, and more activities are conducted indoors, we hope to see more families taking the opportunity to safeguard their health, especially now that adults, children, and even many infants are eligible to get the most up-to-date vaccines,” said Dr. Jignesh Sheth, chief medical officer of The Wright Center for Community Health.

Vaccines are the most powerful tool against the highly contagious virus, with demonstrated effectiveness during the pandemic in reducing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

The updated boosters, also called bivalent vaccines, offer protection against the original strain of COVID-19 as well as the now-prevalent omicron sub-variants that account for most new infections in the United States.

The Moderna-made pediatric booster is available for individuals ages 6 months through 5 years. Children are eligible for the Moderna booster two months after completing their final primary series dose. Similarly, the Pfizer bivalent vaccine has been approved for children ages 6 months through 4 years old; it will be given as a third primary dose.

People can schedule appointments by visiting The Wright Center’s website at and using the express online scheduling service or by calling 570.230.0019. Locations currently offering the updated pediatric boosters include the Kingston Practice, the Mid Valley Practice in Jermyn, and the Scranton Practice. A patient may choose to receive the booster shot with or without a vital sign assessment and/or primary care office visit, for which out-of-pocket expenses might be billed by the patient’s health insurance provider.

Adults and children 6 months and older also are encouraged to get an annual flu shot. All available flu vaccines in the U.S. for the 2022-23 season are the quadrivalent variety, meaning they are designed to protect against four different flu viruses. Appointments to receive the flu vaccine can be made at any of The Wright Center’s locations in Northeast Pennsylvania.

The Wright Center for Community Health, headquartered in Scranton, is a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike that operates eight primary care practices in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wayne counties.

The Wright Center provides comprehensive primary and preventive health services – including medical, dental, behavioral health, addiction and recovery, and infectious disease services – that cover the lifespan from pediatrics to geriatrics. The Wright Center’s sliding-fee discount program ensures health care is affordable for everyone in need. No patient is turned away due to an inability to pay.

The Wright Center Presents Healthy MOMS Program to Participants at Conference

Maria Kolcharno, LSW, director of addiction services, and Marcella Garvin, Healthy Maternal Opiate Medical Support program lead case manager, at The Wright Center for Community Health, recently collaborated on the presentation, “Healthy MOMS: It Takes a Village,” at the Family Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s National Family Week Conference at Mohegan Pennsylvania.

The presentation provided a forum to discuss the variety of services available in the region and the best practices to advocate and link mothers with substance use disorder to supportive programs for them and their young children.

“The presentation focused on the strong foundation we are building of healthy mothers in our community. It’s a collaborative effort among many organizations across nine counties,” said Kolcharno, who also addressed basic facts about addiction, and how mothers can connect with the program and how they gain independent through their own recovery.

The Wright Center for Community Health, for example, recently collaborated with Maternal and Family Health Services to share a lactation specialist who serves as a mother’s coach after the child is born. “This population wouldn’t normally get a lactation coach,” said Kolcharno, who is a key leader of the Healthy Maternal Opiate Medical Support program. “A lot of insurance companies will not cover this service. By offering it, we are seeing healthier babies and mothers.”

The Healthy MOMS program is part of The Wright Center for Community Health’s Opioid Use Disorder Center. It was co-founded with multiple agencies to assist women who are pregnant and have a substance use disorder. Healthy MOMS provides prenatal, perinatal, and postpartum care, including medication-assisted treatment to women coping with a substance use disorder. The program strives to break the stigma associated with addiction while building patients’ self-esteem during and after their pregnancies, ideally engaging them in recovery support services. Currently there are 149 mothers active in the program, with 204 babies born through the program. Since its founding, more than 300 mothers have participated in the program.

For more information about the Healthy MOMS program, call 570.995.7821 or text healthymoms to 555888. Information about the program and its partners is also available at Go to for information about the Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence.

New Pediatrician joins The Wright Center for Community Health Scranton Practice

Dr. Prachi Agarwal, a board-certified pediatrician, will join The Wright Center for Community Health Scranton Practice, 501 S. Washington Ave., beginning in January.

The Wright Center for Community Health provides primary and specialty care for children of all ages, from newborn check-ups and well visits to vaccinations, school physicals, and overall anticipatory guidance through a child’s developmental stages.

Dr. Agarwal earned her medical degree at KLE University, Belgaum, India. She completed her pediatric training and graduated with excellence from Rutgers Health/Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, New Jersey. She is an active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and possesses certifications from the Brazelton Touchpoint Parenting Program and the Neonatal Resuscitation Program.

The Wright Center was designated a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike in 2019. It offers high-quality, affordable integrated health care at its network of primary care practices in Northeast Pennsylvania, providing patients with the convenience of going to one location to access medical, dental, and behavioral and mental health care, plus addiction treatment and other supportive services. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Agarwal at the Scranton Practice, go to to use the express online scheduling system or call 570-941-0630.

Precision Software Seeking New Hires

Precision Software Innovations is a fast-growing Cloud-Based Point of Sale Company that provides a complete technology solution to restaurateurs, located in the heart of Jessup, PA. Our goal is to completely revolutionize the restaurant-related software industry. This past year we have met with all types of restaurants across the US thanks to food and restaurant tradeshows across the nation, and to expand our network we have to first expand our office. Precision is looking to expand their reach and wants you to join their rapidly growing company. We are currently seeking individuals who have experience in sales and technical support. Aside from technical experience, we also look for experience in restaurants, along with a multitude of other skills. Everyone in our office wears multiple hats and brings a lot to the table on a daily basis, making Precision what it is today. Working for Precision you will join a passionate, close-knit team who cares about their customers, along with gaining valuable experience in technology solutions and establish connections across the US and Canada. We also offer a ton of benefits to our employees, including flexible schedules, health & life insurance and paid time off. If you are interested in joining the Precision Team and to learn more about our current openings, send your resume over to We can’t wait to meet you!

Tobyhanna Army Depot Recognizes Employee of the Quarter

Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) employs nearly 3,500 of northeastern Pennsylvania’s best and brightest individuals, so choosing just two employees to be honored as Employee of the Quarter (EOQ) is no easy task. Although there are many great candidates that help our world class business run daily, this quarter Donna Derenick of the C4ISR Directorate and Olivia Corum of the Production Management Directorate have been selected as the junior and senior honorees respectively.

Derenick began her career at TYAD nearly 13 years ago and takes pride in her current role as a Secretary within the C4ISR Sensors Division. She is responsible for keeping time, the management of branch and division tasks, calendar meetings and appointments for employees and consistently provides proper coverage, communications, and successful on-time completion of all division deadlines.

Derenick has never been one to back away from a new challenge or opportunity to support her team. During her tenure at TYAD, she has completed multiple different developmental assignments, most recently having spent 120 days in the Resource Management Directorate’s Financial Analysis Division. In addition to her duties as secretary. Derenick also currently serves as her division’s safety star point. Recently, she ensured periodic safety briefings were communicated and documented for audit compliance and also inspected/updated all division safety requirements, leading to zero-findings on the division’s recent ISO 45001 internal audit.

Chief of the C4ISR Sensors Division Russell Wright said Derenick is always there whenever the team needs a hand.

“She is always willing and able to take on new responsibilities to help others, backfill critical roles as needed and always goes an extra step in supporting the mission,” said Wright. “Whether she’s providing training, volunteering for the Combined Federal Campaign or sitting in wherever help is needed, she is a true team player.”

Although there are many things, she enjoys about her job at TYAD, at the end of the day, she just loves helping others.

“There are many people that come together to make the depot operate. It isn’t up to one person to make the business run so I like to help out wherever I can so that others can do their work to the best of their ability,” said Derenick. “I like to do the best job that I could do so that it helps everybody in the long run. I just really enjoy helping others.”

Derenick said she was pleasantly surprised to learn of her selection as EoQ.

“I know there’s so many deserving people across the depot, so I feel very grateful and honored to have been selected and I hope more people continue to be recognized,” said Derenick. “At the end of the day it’s a nice feeling to be appreciated and recognized just for doing something I enjoy.”

Corum joined Team Tobyhanna five years ago and currently is part of one of TYAD’s newest organizations, the Business Intelligence Team. Among her responsibilities is helping the team develop new visual tools that supervisors can use to see how their shops are performing in easily digestible ways. She also helps to maintain existing business intelligence tools currently used on the depot.

Corum’s work has proven to be of tremendous benefit to depot operations. She recently served as project manager and designer of TYAD’s Command Dashboard, an analytical dashboard that monitors the health and productivity of the organization. Her experience and effort have led to significant cost savings and is projected to result in even more savings over time. She has also served as co-creator and a trainer on multiple different performance dashboards in use across TYAD, all with the goal of providing the right data at the right time in the right format so managers and users can make well-informed, actionable decisions.

Chief of the Business Intelligence Team Matthew Raup said that Corum’s tremendous work ethic and selfless service make her not only a great asset to his team, but to TYAD as a whole.

“Ms. Corum executes the duties of her position description thoroughly and effectively, yet still finds time both on and, voluntarily, off duty to assist, build, and enhance multiple Tobyhanna Data Analytics tools,” said Raup. “She is an entirely approachable and endlessly helpful member of the Tobyhanna Team and always makes herself available to assist and share her expertise with anyone who asks.”

Corum said her favorite part about working with the Business Intelligence Team is the opportunities to creatively come to new solutions when it comes to supporting our Nation’s Warfighters.

“It is very exciting to see how the things we do impact the Warfighter on a regular basis. If you look at project management for example, we can see how the tools that we’ve created are allowing users to manage projects more efficiently, which means we have the opportunity to get workload out the door faster and onto the battlefield where they’re needed most,” said Corum. “Having opportunities to be creative when it comes to finding ways to visually see results and make an impact is very rewarding.”

Like Derenick, Corum said that she was surprised to learn of her selection and feels honored to have been chosen amongst a large workforce.

“It feels great to be recognized for what you’re working on especially when it is something you enjoy doing,” said Corum. “Although I certainly didn’t expect an award, it is very nice to see that people across the depot notice each other’s hard work.”

The Employee of the Quarter awards and other employee recognition programs align with Tobyhanna’s long-range strategic plan, TOBY2035 – specifically the Investing In Our People line of effort. The plan aims to posture the depot for success in the coming years as the Department of Defense’s premier worldwide C5ISR readiness provider.

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 3,100 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, 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.

Marywood University Announces 2023 Summer Camps

Even though winter days are here, Marywood University is looking forward to summertime with its 2023 Summer @ the Wood camps program. Pick your passion from 10+ camps, featuring sports activities, creative pursuits, and scientific interests.

The 2023 schedule presently includes academic camps on architecture, art of comic books/graphic novels, biotechnology, environmental stewardship, and music, as well as athletic camps for boys/girls basketball, esports, girls lacrosse, softball, swimming, and girls volleyball.

For more details, including camp dates, registration information and deadlines, camp descriptions, and associated fees, visit

Some camps are currently open for registration, while others will open after the first of the year. Several feature early bird registration rates. It is possible that other camps may be added to these initial offerings. If so, information will be listed on the camps website at:

Geisinger’s “Paws to Reflect” program selected for national funding

Geisinger was selected to receive grant funding for Paws to Reflect, an innovative program aimed at combating burnout and trauma in the nursing field, during the first ever NurseHack4Health Pitch-A-Thon.

Geisinger was one of three health organizations to be awarded the funding provided by #FirstRespondersFirst to implement new, innovative programs for employees.

Geisinger nurses, in collaboration with members from Geisinger’s Center for Professionalism and Well-Being and the Volunteer Services Division, presented the program to the panel. Paws to Reflect will connect nurses with therapy dogs and their handlers, as well as a peer support team, to provide real time relief and comfort in a safe environment. When needed, the program can also direct staff to appropriate additional resources.  

“This program was initiated because we asked caregivers what would help them feel better and get through a difficult day,” said team leader Dawn Snyder, a clinical nurse specialist at Geisinger. “This was their response — we just responded to their needs.” 

The initiative was one of just three pitches selected by judges to receive full funding, out of dozens of entries from organizations across the country.

“The Paws to Reflect program was designed to be a sustainable solution to two very clear needs for our caregivers: more emotional support and more puppies!” said Brittany Drumm, program director of Geisinger’s Center for Professionalism and Well-Being. “By scaling and partnering our RISE peer support program and our employee-facing pet therapy program, we have the chance to deliver comfort, resources, safe spaces and moments of respite to our incredible teams.” 

The University of Scranton Research Shows Shape Matters at Nano Level

Understanding how structures interact at the microscopic and even molecular scales has been studied for decades, with applications developed for numerous products ranging from pharmaceuticals and medical treatments to dry cleaning. In researching nanostructure interactions, certain approximations of structural properties that could not be precisely measured were commonly used.

New research by John Deák, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry at The University of Scranton, combined two existing techniques for the first-time to test the approximations used for reverse micelle structural properties, which are often applied in studying microscopic interactions. The research, published in October in the Journal of Molecular Liquids, shows that assumptions of the shape of the structure at a certain scale range were incorrect.

“The research finding means a lot of text books will have to be updated,” joked Dr. Deák of the significance of his research, which will actually lead to more precise calculations of nano-level interactions that can be applied to drug delivery systems and other life-saving, or life-changing, applications.

Dr. Deák explained that approximations used for the reverse micelle structure assumed a spherical shape, which his research confirmed is correct in certain scale ranges. However, his research showed that the structure changes to an ellipsoidal or egg-like shape at another range of the scale. He said the research explains variations found in data collected in numerous other studies conducted over decades.

“There was speculation about the assumed shape of the reverse micelle structures, because data collected in studies didn’t always fall in the expected range of calculations, but we didn’t have the ability to determine the shape,” said Dr. Deák, who worked on this project for five years. He combined two existing research techniques to examine various shape considerations for the first time which revealed a decades-long misunderstanding about the structure.

“This shows that we cannot assume shapes of nanostructures. We must determine the shapes and develop techniques to enable us to do this,” said Dr. Deák.

His study is titled “Volumetric determination of reverse micelle structural properties and the validity of commonplace approximations.”

Dr. Deák’s research interests include the molecular dynamics of condensed phases and interfaces, energy transfer mechanisms over self-assembled liquid boundaries, and permeation enhancement of biological tissue. His research has been published in dozens of academic journals, including the prestigious journal Science. He is an inventor on more than two dozen patents.

A faculty member at Scranton since 2002, Dr. Deák earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Buffalo and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Rochester. He completed post-doctoral studies at the University of Illinois, Champaign.

Penn State Scranton Center for Business Development and Community Outreach

Penn State Scranton has an Information Sciences and Technology (IST) Professor that is looking for businesses /organizations in our area that have a needed project that can be incorporated into his Spring semester course. 

The students are seniors who have completed all courses in our IST program including networking, programming, organizational processes, databases, and security. There will be about 4 teams of 3-4 students who will be able to work on a specific industry IT real world project. The project can have a wide range of employer interaction from weekly to much less frequently. The majority of the work will need to be accomplished offsite of the employer’s premises. Projects can be in web design, networking, programming, software analysis, security, business process, or other IT related topics. There is no compensation allowed as this is a class project. We have worked successfully in the past with large and small companies in our area on a wide variety of projects. We hope that we can find some great projects that can help our local businesses as well as our students.

Please let us know if you and your colleagues have any needs in this area and would entertain some collaboration. Email us at

The professor makes the final decision as to the proper fit of projects for the course.