Wright Center’s Sister Ruth Neely, CRNP, Honored by National Health Organization

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Sister Ruth Neely, a certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNP) at The Wright Center for Community Health’s Ryan White HIV Clinic, recently received recognition from a national health care advocacy organization as part of its “Year of the Nurse” campaign.

“Your expert medical care mixed with profound compassion have been critical to the lives of people living with HIV,” wrote Dr. Ron Yee, Chief Medical Officer of The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) in his announcement letter to Sister Ruth, adding “We… were really impressed by your hard word, dedication and perseverance throughout your career.”

Sister Ruth, a member of the Religious Sisters of Mercy, has devoted her life to serving the vulnerable and underserved in the region. A graduate of Misericordia University, she started offering HIV outreach services back in 1997, years before The Wright Center’s Ryan White Clinic was formally established. The Wright Center received its federal Ryan White designation in 2000, and since then, has provided comprehensive HIV primary medical care, essential support services and medications for those living with HIV, including the uninsured and underserved, throughout Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wyoming, Wayne, Pike, Monroe and Susquehanna counties.

While the clinic has been a critical resource to thousands of local people living with HIV, it is also recognized as a community leader in its efforts to prevent the spread of the infection, including the prescription of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a prevention medication that can stop HIV infections, and the provision of confidential testing services.

“The impact of Sister Ruth Neely’s dedicated servant leadership on the hundreds of patients she’s cared for over two decades cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, President of The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education and CEO of The Wright Center for Community Health. “It is through the capable and steadfast efforts of clinicians like Sister Ruth that our Ryan White Clinic continues to not only save lives, but markedly improve them. Thanks to monumental advances in antiretroviral drug regimens and team work, the majority of our patients are now showing undetectable viral rates, and The Wright Center’s mission-driven work to address and prevent the spread of HIV marches forward. Sister Ruth has been instrumental to this success, and we’re so proud to have her in our Wright Center family.”

Throughout 2020, NACHC has been highlighting individual nurses, groups of nurses or specific nursing roles in health centers and their contributions to health centers and their communities, sharing a total of 52 distinct nursing stories out of thousands across the country. To read Sister Ruth’s story, please visit NACHC.com.