The Wright Center’s New Talent Acquisition Role The Wright Center‘s Douglas Klamp’s plan to become a veterinarian was upended during a college trip in 1982 to southern Africa, where he saw stark injustice and soon discovered his life’s calling. Klamp, who was then a Penn State University senior, was an eyewitness to how South Africa’s now-abolished system of racial segregation split the population into the haves and have-nots. In neighboring Lesotho, he was especially struck by rural Black residents’ “lack of access to health care.” “There were not any health facilities for many, many miles,” he says. “And very few people had cars, so it would be a half-day or a day-long hike to get to a provider.” Even before he flew home that summer, Klamp had decided to change his career path. He would become a physician. Today, Dr. Douglas Klamp is a valued leader at The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education, where he remains as committed as he was four decades ago to the cause of expanding access to health care for low-income, rural, and other underserved populations. Klamp, associate program director for Internal Medicine, treats patients and trains new physicians at The Wright Center’s primary and preventive care clinics. This year, he added the role of physician chair of resident and fellow talent acquisition. In the newly created post, Klamp will help recruit top-quality medical school graduates who are a good fit for The Wright Center’s graduate medical education programs, looking especially for individuals with a heart for helping the underserved. The task requires filtering through more than 5,000 applications each year and interviewing hundreds of candidates to fill only 80 available slots, an undertaking that requires considerable effort from all program directors and associate program directors. The chosen physicians then work at The Wright Center’s training locations in Northeast Pennsylvania or one of its partner training sites across the nation. While embedded in those communities and serving patients, each doctor is also fulfilling the requirements of an accredited residency or fellowship program in disciplines such as internal medicine, family medicine, psychiatry, and geriatrics. Klamp seems perfectly suited for the talent acquisition role because he embodies The Wright Center’s mission and ideals. The nonprofit organization was founded in 1976 as the Scranton-Temple Residency Program with an inaugural class of six internal medicine residents. Today’s Wright Center trains about 250 residents and fellows each academic year, upholding a proud tradition of producing highly skilled and compassionate doctors, and helping to address workforce shortages in medically underserved areas across the U.S. Those workforce shortages could get worse because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which strained the health care system and intensified burnout. But the outbreak also spotlighted the essential and at times heroic job performed by physicians. National Doctors’ Day – observed each year on March 30 – pays tribute to all of the dedicated people who have chosen to devote years of study and training to become physicians. They contribute not only to individual lives, but also to the health of their communities. “Some recognition of the amount of hard work, and the importance of the work, is appreciated,” says Klamp, a Waverly Township resident, husband, and father of two. Klamp attended The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, one of only two students in his class of 110 who had not gone to private school, he says. In the late 1990s, Dr. Robert Wright, the namesake founder of The Wright Center, convinced Klamp to move to this region to serve as associate program director of the Scranton-Temple Residency Program and founding medical director of its associated health center. Klamp would later leave The Wright Center to take on other challenges. He ran a private practice in Scranton for about 17 years, before rejoining the nonprofit organization as a full-time employee in 2020. Throughout Klamp’s career, he has traveled abroad repeatedly as part of volunteer medical and service-related trips. Among the destinations: Bolivia, Gambia, the Republic of Georgia, Guyana, Nicaragua, and Sudan. During a two-month stint in Agra, India, he worked in a charity hospital where common maladies included tuberculosis, malaria, and intestinal worms. “We’d see 80 to 120 patients a day,” he says. On other trips, he primarily taught and lectured to doctors native to those areas. No matter the location or task at hand, Klamp has found one thing constant about his profession ever since his first urge to enter the field: Being a primary care doctor continues to spark his humanitarian impulses. “I still find reward,” he says, “in making people better: emotionally, physically, and financially, in terms of helping them gain access to the health care system without getting poor in the process.” For information about The Wright Center, its services, and its mission-oriented physicians, visit www.TheWrightCenter.org. Captions: FOR PUBLICATION Operating Room in India Dr. Douglas Klamp, left, assists doctors during an operation at a charity hospital in Agra, India, in 1991 as part of a program for the U.S. Medical Aid Foundation. Dr. Klamp recently added the additional role of physician chair of resident and fellow talent acquisition to help recruit top-quality medical school graduates for The Wright Center’s eight residency and fellowship programs. FOR PUBLICATION Dr. Klamp with patient Dr. Douglas Klamp, left, talks to a patient at one of The Wright Center for Community Health’s nine primary care practices in Northeast Pennsylvania. Dr. Klamp, a board-certified internal medicine physician, accepts adult patients ages 18 years of age and older at the Clarks Summit and Scranton practices. FOR PUBLICATION Gambia The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education’s Dr. Douglas Klamp has worked around the world to improve access to health care, including in the West African nation of Gambia. In 1993, he served as the group leader for Operation Crossroads Africa with fellow providers from Gambia and the United States.