The Wright Center News

The Wright Center Accepting Appointments To Receive COVID-19 Boosters

Children as young as 5 years old can receive the updated coronavirus booster vaccines at several of The Wright Center for Community Health’s primary care practices, helping to defend themselves, their families and the broader population from sickness.

The updated boosters, also called bivalent vaccines, offer protection against the now-prevalent omicron variant that accounts for most new COVID-19 infections in this region and across the United States.

Federal health officials had previously authorized the use of the new shots in adults and teens, and on Oct. 12 expanded those eligible to also include elementary-age kids. Age restrictions vary by product.

The Pfizer-made pediatric booster has been approved for children 5 to 11 years old, while the Moderna pediatric booster is available for individuals ages 6 to 17. Both companies’ pediatric boosters are approved for use at least two months after a child has completed the initial two-shot series.

Updated boosters – the first redesigned coronavirus vaccines to be released in the U.S. since the initial rollout in late 2020 – are intended to help contain a possible surge of new cases this fall and winter. Vaccines have proven to be the most powerful tool against the highly contagious virus, with demonstrated effectiveness during the pandemic in reducing severe illness, hospitalization and death.

“These bivalent boosters pack a one-two punch against COVID-19, protecting against the initial virus as well as the variants responsible for the most suffering today,” said Dr. Jignesh Sheth, chief medical officer of The Wright Center for Community Health. “As the holiday season approaches, and more activities are conducted indoors, we hope to see more families taking the opportunity to safeguard their health, especially now that adults and most children are eligible to get the most up-to-date boosters.”

People can schedule appointments by visiting The Wright Center’s website at and using the express online scheduling service. 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.

Wright Center Names Dr. Gil as Associate Program Director And Physician Faculty

A board-certified family medicine physician, with a deep interest in the integration of oral health into primary care, has joined The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education where she will train and educate the next generation of physicians and collaboratively provide primary care for adults and children of all ages as a preceptor alongside a high-quality empaneled care team of resident physicians.

Dr. Stephanie A. Gill received her Doctor of Medicine from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and completed her residency in family medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s St. Margaret Hospital in Aspinwall, Pennsylvania. Gill completed a fellowship in faculty development at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where she also earned a multidisciplinary Master of Public Health degree.

As the associate program director and a member of the physician faculty for The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education’s Regional Family Medicine Residency, Gill will provide administrative and clinical oversight of the educational program, provide patient care, precept family medicine residents, and teach and supervise resident physicians and medical students at clinical sites. She is accepting patients at the Kingston Practice, 2 Sharpe St.

After Wright Center Residency,This Physician Is Ready

Rather than aim to retire at the earliest opportunity, Dr. Kevin Beltré plans to stay in medicine for the long run and be “one of those doctors working well into their 70s.”

“My professional goal is to keep practicing medicine and serving the patients and community as long as I possibly can,” says Beltré, 32, who is on track to soon complete The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education’s Regional Family Medicine Residency.

To lessen the likelihood of career burnout, the physician already made one bold decision: He switched a few years ago from an emergency medicine focus, which he realized wasn’t the right fit for him, to the family medicine field, where he found his niche and an urge to make primary health care a lifetime pursuit. Recently the former Philadelphia resident made another significant life choice, one which demonstrates his commitment to his profession and to Northeast Pennsylvania.

He signed an employment contract with the Lehigh Valley Health Network that will keep him actively treating children and adults in the heart of Lackawanna County – where he attended medical school and where he is set to finish The Wright Center’s residency in December.

He expects to begin the job in early March 2023 at offices near the newly opened Lehigh Valley Hospital-Dickson City. For Beltré, it will be a major personal milestone. “I just can’t wait to be there March 6 as an attending physician,” he says.

For The Wright Center, it will signify that its mission is being met – and the organization’s still-unfolding success story continues to be written.

From its start in 1976, The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education has been committed to generating a steady stream of competent, compassionate and community-minded physicians to help keep pace with rising patient demand and address persistent shortages of health care professionals in the region and across the United States.

Early proponents of the Scranton-based physician training program were especially interested in developing doctors who would choose to practice locally. These community leaders, including namesake founder Dr. Robert Wright, foresaw the coming challenge in filling the slots of retiring physicians and tending to the ever-broadening health care needs of an aging population. They launched an internal medicine residency, whose initial class consisted of six trainees.

In the more than 45 years since then, The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education has grown in size and scope to reflect the community’s and the country’s evolving needs, now training about 250 residents and fellows each academic year.

Today, The Wright Center is proud to be the largest U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration-funded Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education consortium in the nation. It offers residencies in four disciplines – family medicine, internal medicine, physical medicine & rehabilitation, and psychiatry – as well as fellowships in cardiovascular disease, gastroenterology and geriatrics. All of its programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Many of its learners have expressed an inclination to work in community-based settings, as opposed to hospitals, and to treat patients from traditionally marginalized populations. Ideally, after graduation, The Wright Center’s alumni will opt to use their talents in the Scranton region – as Beltré plans on doing – or in one of America’s many medically underserved areas, such as low-income urban neighborhoods and rural communities.

“Doctor Beltré’s journey in many ways exemplifies why The Wright Center exists,” says Dr. William Dempsey, deputy chief medical officer for The Wright Center for Community Health. “He’s a bright empathetic physician who grew up in this state, did his training with us and now will apply his skills and knowledge in this community for the benefit of local residents – possibly for decades.”

Sensible Lifestyle Changes Can Combat, Prevent Diabetes

Most of us have been affected by diabetes in some way, be it firsthand or through a family member, as this common yet extremely serious disease continues to create serious health concerns for the populace.

Thankfully, though, more people than ever are being proactive about their diabetes care, while observances like World Diabetes Day help advance the cause.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is William-Dempsey-645x1024.jpg

Created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization, World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2006. Since then, it has been observed every Nov. 14 – the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922 – and has become the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign, reaching a global audience of more than 1 billion people in more than 160 countries. The campaign is represented by a blue circle logo that serves as a global symbol for diabetes awareness.

This year’s World Diabetes Day theme is “Access to Diabetes Care.” The IDF is calling on policymakers to increase access to diabetes education to help improve the lives of the more than half a billion people living with the chronic disease worldwide.

It’s certainly a message well worth sharing, given the dire statistics. According to the IDF Diabetes Atlas, 537 million adults (1 in 10) were living with diabetes in 2021 – and that number is expected to grow to 643 million by 2030 and 783 million by 2045. Nearly one in two adults (44%) with diabetes remain undiagnosed (240 million), and the majority of them have Type 2 diabetes. Meanwhile, more than 1.2 million children and adolescents (0-19 years) live with Type 1 diabetes.

Plenty of people manage their diabetes and live long, healthy lives. Still, the disease remains a killer, claiming 6.7 million adult lives in 2021 – 12.2% of all deaths globally. And the costs associated with diabetes care are astronomical – it was responsible for at least $966 billion in health expenditures last year, equating to 9% of the global total spent on health care, according to the IDF.

The Wright Center for Community Health is doing its part to combat diabetes locally, including through our Lifestyle Medicine initiative, now a central component of all of our primary care practices throughout Northeast Pennsylvania in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne counties.

While medications and cutting-edge treatments and surgeries are obviously key to bettering and prolonging our lives, it’s also very important to note that happiness is linked to good overall health and sadness facilities sickness. Too often we look for relief in all the wrong places, such as unhealthy foods and life choices. That’s why we need to take a more proactive, rather than reactive, approach to our health.

Lifestyle Medicine adheres to this philosophy by helping individuals and families improve their health and quality of life by adopting and sustaining lifestyle behaviors, including eliminating tobacco use, improving diet, practicing stress relief techniques, increasing physical activity, strengthening personal relationships and connections, and adjusting sleep habits for better, more restorative rest. It’s not alternative medicine, but rather an evidence-based approach that very well could revolutionize health care in this country.

The concept is gaining significant traction in the medical community, precisely because the data is showing it can prevent, treat or even reverse diseases like diabetes, cancer and hypertension. Lifestyle Medicine is all about making those conscious choices to alter our behaviors for the better. Our team of primary care providers, trained in both conventional medicine and Lifestyle Medicine, work with patients to create a personalized lifestyle self-care plan that you can implement and sustain.

Diabetes is a very serious disease, but prevention and treatment are well within reach thanks to modern medicine and concepts like Lifestyle Medicine that allow people to be enthusiastic participants in their own long-term care.

The Wright Center Encourages Individuals To Get Vaccinated Against Flu in 2022

Flu vaccines are now available to patients at The Wright Center for Community Health’s network of community health centers in Northeast Pennsylvania. Most individuals are encouraged to receive a flu shot before Halloween to help minimize the seasonal resurgence of the virus this fall and winter.

Vaccines developed for the 2022-23 flu season – including higher-dose vaccines recommended for older adults – are in stock at all of The Wright Center’s primary care practices in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne counties. To schedule an office visit that includes the flu vaccination, call 570-230-0019 or go online to and use the express scheduling system.

It is recommended that everyone ages 6 months and older, with few exceptions, receive the flu vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Flu vaccines are approved by federal health officials and made widely available at health centers, doctors’ offices, pharmacies and certain other locations to encourage widespread participation by people who want to protect themselves and others in their community, including young children, senior citizens and other high-risk populations.

“The flu can pose serious health risks, even the possibility of death, for certain people,” says Dr. William Dempsey, deputy chief medical officer of The Wright Center for Community Health. “That’s why we encourage everyone to be a good citizen, a good neighbor, and roll up their sleeve to get vaccinated. It might be a momentary discomfort, but it’s far better than the potential misery caused by body aches, sore throat and the flu infection’s other symptoms.”

Experts advise that people in the U.S. get vaccinated at this time of year, preferably before the end of October. The flu season in North America typically starts in the fall and peaks between December and February.

For people ages 65 and older, the CDC this year is recommending the use of higher-dose flu vaccines that are potentially more effective than the standard dose.

In addition to older adults, other populations at increased risk of developing severe flu symptoms and potential complications include adults with chronic health conditions such as heart disease, HIV/AIDS, asthma, diabetes and kidney disease; pregnant women; cancer patients; young children; and children with neurologic disorders.

Individuals in a high-risk category who experience flu-like symptoms are urged to call a health care provider right away. Prompt treatment with a flu antiviral medication can often prevent serious complications.

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.

Talk with your primary care physician or another trusted health care provider if you have questions about the flu vaccine. The clinical team at The Wright Center is available to provide fact-based advice and proven strategies for coping with the seasonal respiratory virus and other issues that affect health and wellness.

Wright Center Names Director of Behavioral Health Integration

The Wright Center for Community Health has named Danielle Sholcosky, MSW, LCSW, CPRP, of Dickson City as director of Behavioral Health Integration and Therapist Services. Sholcosky has worked as a licensed clinical social worker for The Wright Center for Community Health since 2021.

Sholcosky received her Master of Social Work degree from Marywood University and a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies with a minor in human development and family studies from Penn State University. She has also earned several continuing education certificates, including Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing Basic Training from The ClearPath Training Center; Mental Illness and Substance Abuse from Drexel University College of Medicine; and Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner from the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association.

In addition, she has made several scholarly presentations at national and state conferences, including the National Conference for Undergraduate Research Annual Conference, the Annual Convention of the Pennsylvania Communication Association and the Eastern Psychological Association Annual Conference. Sholcosky’s presentations also have been cited in Reuters’ Health: Health eLine, Psychology Today, Prevention magazine and more.