The Wright Center Celebrates First Graduate of NIMAA Medical Assistant Program

A collaborative program between The Wright Center for Community Health and the National Institute for Medical Assistant Advancement (NIMAA) has graduated the first student from the initiative that seeks to address the national shortage of clinical medical assistants.

Melissa Lemus of Scranton, the first graduate of the program, has been hired as a certified medical assistant by The Wright Center for Community Health to work at the nonprofit’s Scranton Practice, 501 S. Washington Ave.

A medical assistant is responsible for assisting doctors and nurses in providing care to patients in hospitals, doctor’s offices and other health care facilities. Duties include recording and updating medical histories and contact information in patient files, scheduling patient appointments and performing standard care procedures, such as taking blood samples, health coaching, measuring and recording vital signs, and more.

The NIMAA program educates and trains students over 29 weeks to become certified clinical medical assistants. The program, which requires a commitment of 32-36 hours per week, combines flexible online learning with a paid internship at one of The Wright Center for Community Health’s primary care practices in Lackawanna, Luzerne or Wayne counties. Participants may be eligible for federal assistance and other cost-defrayment options.

Students who are accepted into the program receive personalized training with experienced medical professionals at The Wright Center for Community Health during the clinical portion of their education. After completing the educational component, students are eligible to take the National Healthcareer Association Medical Assistant examination to receive their certified clinical medical assistant credential.

The employment outlook for medical assistants is projected to grow 18% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. About 104,400 openings are projected annually on average, over the decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For more information about the training program, contact Carla Blakeslee, The Wright Center’s clerkships coordinator, at Or visit