Wright Center Leader Selected To Sit On Pennsylvania Mental Health Planning Council

Scott Constantini, associate vice president of primary care and recovery services integration for The Wright Center for Community Health, has been named to a three-year term on the Pennsylvania Mental Health Planning Council’s (MHPC) Adult Advisory Committee.

The Adult Advisory Committee is one of three MHPC committees under the direction of the deputy secretary of the state’s Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS).

Before he was promoted to his current role in 2022, Constantini served for six years as the director of behavioral health at The Wright Center for Community Health. In his current role, he collaborates with hospitals, school districts, public health agencies, government entities, and other community partners to expand access to and improve behavioral services across the region. He also sits on the Lackawanna County Overdose Fatality Review Committee under the direction of county District Attorney Mark Powell.

Constantini has a strong track record of developing sustainable projects in the recovery and primary care realms, working with the state Department of Health Services, Department of Health, and Department of Drug and Alcohol programs through The Wright Center for Community Health’s Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence program, the Pennsylvania Coordinated Medication Assisted Treatment Program and a variety of other key programs designed to improve the behavioral health of Pennsylvanians.

He also oversees various federal grants to expand addiction services, such as medications for opiate use disorder, to address the opiate overdose crisis.

“I will represent The Wright Center for Community Health, our patients, and the region with integrity and pride to help guide the state on the future of mental health services across Pennsylvania,” he said. “As we know, there is a lot of work to be done.”

The MHPC consists of three committees: The Children’s Advisory, Adult Advisory, and Older Adult Advisory committees. They aim to advise on a broad behavioral mandate that includes mental health, substance misuse, behavioral health disorders, and cross-system disability.

The Wright Center’s: Health Literacy Goes A Long Way Toward Long-term Wellness

Here at The Wright Center, we’re big proponents of our patients serving as their own best advocates for their long-term health. So, naturally, we’re happy to promote awareness campaigns like Health Literacy Month.

Observed throughout October, Health Literacy Month was started in 1999 by health communication expert Helen Osborne as a way for organizations and the general public to spread awareness on the need for patients to more efficiently process, analyze, and evaluate the information they are receiving from their health care providers. Through better health literacy, people can overcome challenges that result in bad health outcomes and in the process, create a more equitable world “where everyone can access high-quality care and achieve positive health outcomes,” according to the Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA), the group that oversees Health Literacy Month.

According to IHA, studies have shown that a large number of patients have significant difficulty reading, comprehending, and acting on the health information provided to them, often due to the complexity of the information and a lack of clear, plainspoken communication on the part of the provider. In addition, basic literacy skills, language differences, age, disability, cultural context, and emotional responses can also hinder a patient’s health literacy, which can negatively affect health outcomes and costs.

Thankfully, efforts like Health Literacy Month are helping to bridge that gap. In recent years, the event has become a worldwide initiative with numerous health care organizations, government agencies, literacy programs, colleges, professional organizations, businesses, social service organizations, and community partnerships hosting and collaborating on various health literacy events every October.

Fitting into that theme, earlier this year The Wright Center joined an impressive list of organizations across the country when it was designated by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), an office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as a Healthy People 2030 Champion, affirming our longtime commitment to improving the health and well-being of all people. Applicants are selected on the basis of possessing a demonstrated interest in and experience with disease prevention, health promotion, health equity, well-being, and health literacy.

One of the main focuses of the Healthy People initiative is addressing the social determinants of health (SDOH). These social conditions impact people in the places where they live, learn, work, and play and can affect their quality of life and health. Examples of SDOH include exposure to polluted air and water, exposure to racism and violence, and an individual’s level of access to things such as nutritious foods, educational attainment, job opportunities, safe housing, and outlets for physical activity.

The Wright Center has made SDOH a critical part of our mission, and we’re firmly committed to providing exceptional integrated primary and preventive health care services to our diverse patient population throughout Northeast Pennsylvania. That means giving patients the tools they need to become their best advocates, including spending as much time as needed with them and their families and delivering information with clarity, purpose, and empathy.

Our resident physicians also partnered with community organizations to address SDOH. For example, we delivered educational programming at the Indraloka Animal Sanctuary for regional children about the importance of healthy eating habits and collaborated with Child Hunger Outreach Partners to package nutritious food for regional children experiencing food insecurity.

It is important to know that a little knowledge goes a long way. My colleagues and I at The Wright Center for Community Health are adamant about providing patients with the right information so they can make the right decisions about their health.

For more information about Health Literacy Month, visit https://healthliteracymonth.org.

Ayushi Jain, M.D., is a resident physician in The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education’s Internal Medicine Residency program and serves as the chief resident liaison for The Wright Center for Patient and Community Engagement Board.

The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education awarded federal grants to plan and develop residency programs in pediatric dentistry, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology

Scranton, Pa. (April 5, 2023) – The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education have been awarded three grant awards totaling $1.5 million from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the planning and development of three residency programs, further expanding and enriching physician training opportunities in Northeast Pennsylvania.

As a nearly 50-year-old nonprofit enterprise providing graduate medical education and primary health services in Northeastern Pennsylvania, The Wright Center, along with partnering institutions and community providers, intends to explore establishing accredited residency programs in pediatric dentistry, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology.

“We are grateful for the high-impact financial support from HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce and Congressman Cartwright’s reliable leadership support for our mission and our region,” said Dr. Jumee Barooah, The Wright Center’s designated institutional official. “These graduate medical education planning and development grants will allow The Wright Center to invite and convene inclusive community stakeholders to strategic planning conversations inspired by a shared understanding of the impact of these training programs to increase access to primary health services and future career opportunities for children and adults in the communities we serve.”

This federal grant funding was made available through HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce Teaching Health Center Planning and Development Program, using appropriations from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The initiative is intended to strengthen and expand community-based residency programs in rural and other medically underserved communities across the United States.

HRSA’s Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education funding is allocated specifically for physician and dental training that includes community-based and governed care settings, such as The Wright Center for Community Health’s Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike venues. The training opportunities created for these residents help to expand and improve the distribution of the nation’s primary health services workforce beyond affluent urban areas to economically disadvantaged areas.

As a grant awardee, The Wright Center may apply its funding to startup costs, including planning meetings, curriculum development, recruitment and training of residents and faculty, and necessary activities related to obtaining program accreditation from either the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) or the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

The successful introduction of these programs will represent another milestone in The Wright Center’s continued strategic growth as a generator of compassionate, highly skilled, and patient-centered physicians who can help to address the region’s and nation’s ongoing health care services inequities and workforce shortages.

The nonprofit organization was founded in 1976 as the Scranton-Temple Residency Program. A year later, it welcomed its first class of six internal medicine residents. Since then, the organization has been renamed and has grown in size and scope to reflect the community’s – and the country’s – evolving needs. It now trains about 250 residents and fellows each academic year in the region and at partner training sites in Arizona, Ohio, Washington state, and Washington, D.C.

The Wright Center currently offers residencies in internal medicine, family medicine, physical medicine & rehabilitation, and psychiatry, as well as fellowships in cardiovascular disease, gastroenterology, and geriatrics. All of its residency and fellowship programs are accredited by the ACGME.

Additionally, in partnership with NYU Langone Dental Medicine, The Wright Center has served as a training site since 2021 for dentists in an Advanced Education in General Dental Residency Program.

To learn more about the medical education opportunities at The Wright Center, visit TheWrightCenter.org.

The Wright Center Schedules Winter Coat and Clothing Giveaways

As winter approaches, The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement aims to help underserved individuals and families in the community prepare for colder temperatures by offering free coats, warm clothes and personal care items.

Two distributions are scheduled for November in Lackawanna County. During these Community Closet events, patients and community members are invited to select items for children and adults from among an assortment of new and gently used coats, hats, boots, gloves and other outerwear.

Community Closet events are planned at these practice locations on the listed dates:

  • The Wright Center for Community Health Mid Valley Practice

5 S. Washington Ave., Jermyn

Thursday, Nov. 3,from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • The Wright Center for Community Health Scranton Practice

501 S. Washington Ave., Scranton

Monday, Nov. 14, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Each attendee will be awarded 10 “points” to exchange for clothing and 5 “points” to exchange for hygiene items that will be marked with points, rather than prices. Quantities will be limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Organized by The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement, this year’s clothing distributions are made possible by generous donations from The Wright Center’s employees, board members and valued supporters such as Operation Warm.

The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement focuses on improving access to health care while addressing the negative social and economic determinants of health that can affect underserved patients, including food insecurity, limited educational opportunities, homelessness and poverty.

For more information about the Community Closet events, call Gerri McAndrew, director of community outreach and engagement, at 570-591-5273.

The Wright Center Launches Lifestyle Smartwatch Program with AllOne Charities’ Giving Tuesday

The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement is launching a new high-tech program with the support of AllOne Charities’ annual Giving Tuesday on Tuesday, Nov. 30 that will provide long-term benefits for patients with chronic health conditions.

Held annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, AllOne Charities is sponsoring Giving Tuesday to incentivize supporters of regional nonprofit organizations and agencies to support their favorite charities through this special fundraising effort. AllOne Charities boosts fundraising efforts by matching the first $1,000 raised by each participating charitable organization and also offering an additional incentive of $1,000 each for the organization that raises the most money and secures the most unique donors.

Donations can be made in support of Giving Tuesday beginning Thanksgiving Day. All donations made from Nov. 30 until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 1 will be eligible for the bonuses from AllOne Charities.

The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement is purchasing the Fitpolo H709 smartwatch for patients who could not otherwise afford them. The smartwatch uses built-in features to track and monitor key aspects of the user’s life for a personalized health care data experience. The mobile technology features full touch screen capabilities that can also be accessed via a smart mobile app. The smartwatch’s life assistant monitors in real-time the user’s heart rate, steps, blood pressure and more. The watch collects data and transfers it to the patient’s electronic health records with the assistance of Humhealth technology that features 4G, Bluetooth integration.

The overall goal of the smartwatch program is to improve patient education, understanding, engagement and implementation of a healthy lifestyle. With remote patient monitoring, primary care providers are able to see how their suggestions have had a positive impact on their patients’ overall health, according to Dr. Jignesh Y. Sheth, The Wright Center for Community Health’s chief medical officer and senior vice president.

“Gathering data in real time and compiling it is beneficial for our providers and residents as the entire empanelment team will have access to their medical data in between visits instead of just monitoring them at their office visits,” Sheth explained. “With the help of technology, we, as care providers, will be able to remotely monitor patients’ activity level, calorie intake and other vital data necessary for effective lifestyle change.”

The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement serves patients in a five-county region through The Wright Center for Community Health’s eight primary care practices in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne counties. The fundraising effort for Giving Tuesday will benefit the new Lifestyle Medicine program’s initiative to provide select patients who have chronic illnesses with healthy lifestyle smartwatches.

To support the new initiative on Giving Tuesday, go to allonefoundations.org, scroll down and click on the Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement logo.

“By donating to The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement, and contributing to our smartwatch campaign, you’ll be helping some of our patients to manage chronic diseases, like diabetes and high blood pressure,” said Laurie LaMaster, associate vice president of The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement, “and provide our care teams with the data they need to serve our patients more effectively.”

The smartwatches program is part of The Wright Center for Community Health’s Lifestyle Medicine program that was introduced in 2020. The initiative works to prevent and reverse chronic debilitating diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension, by focusing on healthy lifestyles based on the six pillars of health: nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management, relationships and the avoidance of risky substances.

For more information about The Wright Center for Community Health’s Lifestyle Medicine Program, call the Scranton Practice at 570-941-0630 or go to thewrightcenter.org/services.

The Wright Center for Patient and Community Engagement Appointed Board Directors

Three integral employees of The Wright Center for Community Health recently were appointed board directors for The Wright Center for Patient and Community Engagement. Each brings unique backgrounds in patient care or health information technology to the governance table.

The Wright Center for Patient and Community Engagement enhances The Wright Center for Community Health’s ability to determine outreach priorities as it continues to meet the healthcare needs of the most vulnerable in the community. Board members provide oversight, direction and support for Wright Center team members and their efforts, offering their unique perspectives on community needs, resources and connections, to develop and maintain active, collaborative relationships with patients and the community at large.


Kari Machelli, R.N., serves as Director of Care and Case Management Services for The Wright Center for Community Health. In this leadership role, she oversees the Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence Case Managers, Certified Recovery Specialists and Community Health Workers. Machelli has been with The Wright Center for more than 20 years, starting as an RN Care Manager. She earned her nursing degree from The Pennsylvania State University.


Danielle Hennessey is Electronic Medical Records and Health Informatics Manager for The Wright Center. She joined the organization in 2019 as an EMR Application Support and Trainer for the Mid Valley Practice and Ryan White HIV Clinic, and was integral in building the interface that allowed for the exchange of data between two separate electronic health records systems. Hennessey graduated from Valley View High School and attended Lackawanna College and Marywood University. She has a background in information technology, having worked for TMG Health for four years prior to joining The Wright Center.


Cheri Lewis-Aulisio is a licensed medical social worker for The Wright Center for Community Health. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Marywood University. Cheri has a background working with diverse patient populations and has practiced in various clinical settings, including nursing homes, in-patient physician rehabilitation facilities and acute hospital-based settings. She has experience in behavioral health services and has worked with homeless women and children and Children & Youth Services. She also is part of the National Association of Community Health Center’s PRAPARE Tiger Team, which trains health centers to be better equipped to address social determinants of health and improve health equity.