Geisinger Doctors Recognized Among PA Medical Society’s Top Physicians Under 40

Four Geisinger providers were honored among the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s (PAMED) Top Physicians Under 40 for 2021. 

Family medicine physician Jason Dinko, M.D., cytopathologist Renee Frank, M.D., palliative medicine specialist Lauren Nicholls, M.D., and clinical informatics fellow Raghuveer Puttagunta, M.D., were nominated by their colleagues and selected by a committee of PAMED’s member physicians.

The awards are bestowed yearly to talented, early-career physicians who are already performing at a high level throughout the commonwealth.

Dr. Dinko is a board-certified physician specializing in family medicine. He is the site leader for the family medicine practice at Geisinger Healthplex Woodbine in Danville, where he leads a group of eight providers and mentors local medical students. Dr. Dinko has been recognized for his leadership by example and his continual effort toward excellence in care. He grew up in White Haven and graduated from The Commonwealth Medical College (now Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine) in 2014. After completing his residency in Washington, Pa., Dr. Dinko returned to central Pennsylvania to serve communities near his hometown.

Dr. Renee Frank is a cytopathologist who works in laboratory medicine at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton. Since joining Geisinger, the Dupont native has served on tumor boards and lectured and mentored medical students. She was recently promoted to assistant chair of education for laboratory medicine, where she serves on numerous medical school and hospital committees to optimize medical student education, bridge the gap between preclinical and clinical practice and explore new curriculum opportunities. Dr. Frank was described by her nominator as embodying the “spirit of a doctor’s doctor.”

Dr. Lauren Nicholls is a dually trained palliative care and family medicine physician focused on improving quality of life for her patients. A Scranton native, she practices at Geisinger Community Medical Center and specializes in adult, perinatal and pediatric palliative medicine. She provides compassionate care for patients with terminal illnesses, attending to their emotional and physical well-being while managing their symptoms. Dr. Nicholls also provides guidance and support to patient families, and she has a clinical interest in end-of-life care. She has published several works on end-of-life symptom management and communication. Dr. Nicholls has been recognized for going above and beyond to engage patients and families during their most difficult times.

Dr. Raghuveer Puttagunta is a board-certified physician in internal medicine and pediatrics with a clinical focus on caring for families and patients living with pediatric chronic disease throughout their life. He is currently in fellowship training in clinical informatics at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. Dr. Puttagunta is leading several Institutional Review Board research projects with a focus on improving health care utilization for people managing chronic diseases, specifically those with intellectual disabilities, autism and adult congenital heart disease. He is also leading initiatives to improve provider efficiency within the electronic health record as part of the Geisinger Clinical Efficiency Program. Dr. Puttagunta has been recognized for his mentorship of trainees through medical school, internship and residency.

Geisinger Orthopaedic Surgeon Given Pennsylvania Medical Society’s Highest Honor

John H. Doherty Jr., M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon who practices at Geisinger Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine in Scranton, was named the 2021 recipient of the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s (PAMED) Distinguished Service Award.

The Distinguished Service Award is considered the highest honor a member can receive from PAMED. Its first recipient in 1956 was Jonas E. Salk, M.D., who was recognized for his achievements in developing the anti-polio vaccine.

A Lackawanna County resident, Dr. Doherty has been a practicing orthopaedic surgeon in Scranton since 1980. Before joining Geisinger in January of 2018, he was a partner in Professional Orthopaedic Associates Ltd. Over his career, he has cared for thousands of patients and their families.

“We’re incredibly proud of Dr. Doherty. He is a valuable member of the Geisinger family, and this award reiterates that further. Dr. Doherty is the perfect example of service above self. He never turns away anyone who needs his help. His complete dedication to his practice and to the community is admirable. We celebrate his success and are honored to be associated with him,” said Michael Suk, M.D., chair of Geisinger’s Musculoskeletal Institute.

Dr. Doherty is a beloved figure in the Scranton community. For more than 30 years, he’s made quarterly house calls to St. Joseph’s Center so the residents don’t have to make a trip by van to be seen in the office.

Dr. Doherty has also served on and volunteered for multiple local nonprofit organizations, including helping to build and maintain a hospital in Haiti. Since 2010, Dr. Doherty has worked in collaboration with Fr. Rick Frechette, an American priest who is also a physician, to build and maintain a state-of-the-art operating room for the people of Port-au-Prince. To that end, he visits the island every year and works tirelessly to supply the hospital and bring patients to America when the care they need is not available in Haiti.