The Wright Center’s CEO to Share Insights on Primary Health Members News February 22, 2023 Linda Thomas-Hemak, M.D., FAAP, FACP, president and chief executive officer of The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education, recently participated with a select group of national primary care experts in a conversation with the head of the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). During the 1.5-hour virtual event, the physicians and other panelists shared their perspectives from the field about the future of primary health care in America with Carole Johnson, HRSA administrator, and other high-ranking officials within HRSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “It was an absolute honor to have been extended an invitation to connect virtually with HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson and the primary care and public health enthusiasts she convened from across our country to explore perspectives on the hopeful future of primary care delivery and workforce development, and also potential levers and accelerants for system improvements,” said Dr. Thomas Hemak. “The gathering was a welcomed, extremely valuable, learning opportunity to share and explore thoughtful, experienced insights on primary health services delivery and integration, health care finance, health equity, and the unique perspectives and struggles of underserved populations and communities. “Such crucial national conversations illuminate the powerful poise of HRSA and its leadership to imagine, ignite, and accelerate national solutions for health care delivery and workforce development,” she added. Participants included Dr. Robert Phillips, founding executive director of the Center for Professionalism and Value in Health Care of the American Board of Family Medicine Foundation; Dr. Tumaini Rucker Coker, chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Seattle Children’s Hospital; Dr. Frederick Chen, chief health and science officer at the American Medical Association, and Danielle Potter, family medicine nurse practitioner at El Rio Health in Tucson, Arizona. “I was privileged to lend my voice to this important conversation on behalf of our dedicated Wright Center care teams as well as our patients, many of whom encounter barriers to care because of longstanding, systemic issues that can best be addressed at the national level,” said Dr. Thomas-Hemak. “It’s extremely humbling to be asked to be a part of this event with thought leaders from throughout the U.S. who have a vision for a health system that consistently delivers affordable, high-quality care and is accessible by all.” A first-generation physician and native of Northeast Pennsylvania, Dr. Thomas-Hemak completed Harvard Massachusetts General Hospital’s combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Residency. Today, she is quadruple board-certified in internal medicine, pediatrics, addiction medicine, and obesity medicine. She currently serves as a member of HRSA’s Council on Graduate Medical Education, governor-elect of the American College of Physicians’ Pennsylvania Chapter, Eastern Region, and board chair of the Northeast Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center. The Wright Center for Community Health, which in 2019 became a HRSA-designated Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike, operates a network of nine primary care practices in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wayne counties. The practices provide safety-net, comprehensive primary and preventive health services that cover the lifespan from pediatrics to geriatrics. A special emphasis is placed on medically underserved populations, and no patient is turned away due to an inability to pay. The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education trains about 250 residents and fellows annually along with more than 250 interprofessional learners from affiliated academic institutions. It is the nation’s largest HRSA-funded Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Safety-Net Consortium. Together, the complementary parts of The Wright Center nonprofit enterprise work to fulfill its mission to improve the health and welfare of communities through inclusive and responsive health services and the sustainable renewal of an inspired, competent workforce that is privileged to serve. For more information about The Wright Center, go to TheWrightCenter.org or call 570-230-0019.