The Wright Center offers line of defense against flu, RSV and COVID-19; schedule your vaccine appointments soon

To help people guard against a potential triple threat of respiratory infections this fall and winter, The Wright Center for Community Health is offering access to newly updated vaccines for flu, RSV and the latest COVID-19 strain.

Dr. William Dempsey

“The vaccines are safe and effective, and they offer our best defense against these ‘seasonal viruses’ that can be extremely serious, even fatal, for very young children and other vulnerable populations,” says Dr. William Dempsey, deputy chief medical officer of The Wright Center for Community Health.

To schedule an office visit that includes a vaccination, call 570.230.0019 or go online to use the express scheduling system at Please note, shipments of the most recently approved COVID-19 vaccine are not expected to arrive at The Wright Center’s primary and preventive care practices in Northeast Pennsylvania until the week of Sept. 18.

Here’s what to know about the availability at The Wright Center of each vaccine product.

  • Flu vaccines. Updated flu vaccines for the 2023-24 winter season are in stock at all of the health center’s primary care practices in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne counties. Health officials recommend annual flu shots for everyone 6 months and older, with few exceptions.
    • Experts advise that people in the United States get vaccinated between now and Halloween for maximum protection during the winter holidays when influenza cases tend to spike. All flu vaccines available in the U.S. for this season are the quadrivalent variety, meaning they are designed to protect against four different flu viruses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • RSV vaccines. Earlier this year, federal health officials approved two vaccines for use in people ages 60 and older to prevent respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV. The Wright Center currently has the Pfizer-manufactured vaccine, Abrysvo, in stock at all of its practices to administer to seniors who decide, in consultation with a health care provider, if the shot is appropriate for them. Adults most likely to benefit from the vaccine include those living in long-term care facilities and those who have underlying health conditions, such as heart or lung disease or weakened immune systems.
    • The new RSV vaccines for seniors might require a prescription from a doctor, according to published reports, and its cost may vary based on the patient’s health insurance plan. Some plans might not pay for the shot. Anyone concerned about coverage should reach out to their insurance company for guidance.
  • COVID-19 vaccines. As shipments arrive of the most recently approved COVID-19 vaccine, which is effective against the now-dominant EG.5 strain, The Wright Center will release additional public announcements. Watch for details to be shared soon via the health center’s website and social media channels.
    • Guidance about staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and proper dosing is available on the CDC’s website.

If you have questions about any vaccine, talk with your primary care physician or another trusted health care provider. The clinical team at The Wright Center is available to provide fact-based advice and proven strategies for coping with respiratory viruses and other issues that affect health and wellness.

Learn more about The Wright Center’s mission and integrated health care services by visiting

Violinist and composer Kai Kight to deliver The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education’s 2023 commencement address

Innovative keynote speaker, classical violinist, and composer Kai Kight will deliver the inspiring commencement address, “Compose Your World,” during The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education’s 44th annual commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 24 at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton, beginning at 4 p.m. 

As a classical violinist turned innovative composer, Kight uses music as a metaphor to inspire individuals and organizations around the world to compose paths of imagination and fulfillment. He is on a mission to spark a global mindset shift in which ingenuity is the norm and not the exception. 

“Whether in education, business, health care, or government, the systems and routines we depended on for so long have disappeared,” said Kight. “While this void has been devastating, it also leaves us with an incredible opportunity – a blank page on which we can compose our future. We will look back at this time as the moment we made leaps forward by creating more innovative technologies, more human-centric businesses, and more inclusive workplaces.”

His unique background is a blend of both art and science. As a musician, Kight has performed his original music for thousands of people in venues around the world, from the White House to the Great Wall of China. A graduate of Stanford University’s design and engineering program, the Stanford, and the Behavior Design Lab, Kight studied how to help people create healthy and transformative habits in life.  

“A musical masterpiece is a unique, alive, just right, timeless blessing that captures and connects the fundamental and essential stories of the musical composer, the music, and the audience,” said Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, FACP, FAAP, president and CEO of The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education. “It remains relevant across time, contemporary circumstances, cultures, and generations. It speaks to humanity about our interdependence and our connectedness to each other and the universe.

“Kai Kight’s inspiring message to dare to play the music that makes you stronger and his passionate, talented delivery are powerful, therapeutic, and both mission and vision aligned with The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education,” she added. “Through the music he composes and performs and the life stories and lessons he shares, Mr. Kight will certainly relax and entertain us, while paradoxically challenging us to think introspectively and collectively about our own lives, our shared future, and the progressive human journey.”

The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education’s Class of 2023 has 80 graduates from seven disciplines: Internal Medicine (35); Regional Family Medicine (11); National Family Medicine (17); Psychiatry (10); Cardiovascular Disease (4); Geriatrics (2) and Gastroenterology (1). 

“The physicians in our Class of 2023 know the importance of providing inclusive, responsive, compassionate, high-quality health services to the patients, families, and communities we serve,” said Thomas-Hemak. “They know the playbook of ‘Wright’ health care and medical education, and they know the difference between what Mr. Kight calls air violining and real engagement playing their part in the master orchestra of medicine.

“We celebrate our graduates and our confidence that they will go forth into thrilling and fulfilling futures, energized by their competence and meaningful contributions to service society and to advance public health, the noble profession of medicine, and medical education.”

In July, The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education will welcome 88 residents and fivefellows to its regional and national residency and fellowship programs. The resident physicians will train in the following programs: Internal Medicine Residency (40); Regional Family Medicine Residency (12); Psychiatry Residency (12), and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (5). The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education’s National Family Medicine Residency includes resident physicians at the Tucson, Arizona (4); Auburn, Washington (6); Washington, D.C. (6), and Hillsboro, Ohio (3) training sites. Fellows will also begin training in the Cardiovascular Disease (3), Geriatrics (1) and Gastroenterology (1) fellowships in July.

Similar to Kight, The Wright Center sparks innovation in the delivery of primary and preventive care and the cost-effective education and training of an inspired, competent physician workforce. The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education is affiliated with The Wright Center for Community Health, which serves as the cornerstone ambulatory care delivery service organization of The Wright Center’s Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Safety-Net Consortium, the largest in the nation funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.

Together with consortium stakeholders, The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education train primary care residents and fellows in a community-based, community-needs-responsive workforce development model to improve the health and welfare of our communities through inclusive and responsive health services and the sustainable renewal of an inspired, competent workforce that is privileged to serve.

Carbondale couple always grateful for the Gift of Life

Dombroskys share their story of organ donation for PA Donor Day on Aug. 1.

In the fall of 2013, Steve Dombrosky was out of breath seemingly all the time. A previously active 57-year-old, he struggled to get out of bed and go to his job as an electronics technician at the Tobyhanna Army Depot. His symptoms were not much better at work.

“It was a chore just to go to the restroom,” he recalls. “By the time I got back, I was almost gasping for air. I wasn’t walking; I was shuffling my feet.

Dombrosky and his wife, Pam, who’d spent 18 years working as a registered nurse, knew something wasn’t right. An initial doctor’s examination revealed a fatty liver diagnosis. After further testing, he was diagnosed with NASH: Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. NASH is the most severe form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and is closely related to obesity, pre-diabetes, and diabetes.

Steve and Pam Dombrosky are strong advocates for organ and tissue donations after they experienced the gift of life. In 2018, he received a lifesaving liver transplant due to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis disease. Today, the couple is living life to the fullest, as exhibited in this photo at a recent wedding.

As the disease progressed, he experienced internal bleeding resulting in a dangerously low blood count. “I had many blood and iron transfusions. We were always running somewhere for treatments,” he said. 

He would gain nearly 25 pounds each time his body retained fluids, making everyday tasks almost impossible to complete. During one hospital visit, doctors removed eight two-liter bottles of fluid from his abdomen. In April 2018, he was placed on the liver transplant list during a 15-day stay at Geisinger Health System in Danville.

“I fought it for five years. You have to be really sick to get on a transplant list. You have to be on the edge of saying goodbye before you’re put on a list,” he said. 

Steve was placed on the transplant list and sent home on a Thursday. The next day he received a call with incredible news: They had a liver for him. 

“I was coming home, and he called me, and he was crying,” Pam recalled. “I said, ‘why are you crying?’ and he just kept saying, ‘I got a liver, I got a liver.’ We could not believe how quick it was.”

The donor was a 24-year-old man who had chosen to be an organ donor. That man’s decision saved the lives of many people. It’s something the Dombroskys will never forget.

“We cried and cried for him; we grieved for him every day,” Pam said, overcome with emotion. “People need to become organ donors. There’s not much to it, just checking a box on your driver’s license.”

Steve wasn’t the first person on the list for the transplant. The first patient was too sick for the operation, and the second patient refused it due to the possibility of a hepatitis infection due to the donor’s age. Doctors explained to Steve that the chance of infection was minimal and that they were prepared to treat him for hepatitis if needed.

“People don’t get the chance that I got. I’ve always been sort of a gambler. I knew this was my shot. If I say no, I’m going to be a goner,” he said. “My name is not going to come back around on that list before I’ve passed away. There are days I feel 24 years old again, and I believe that’s from our donor.”

The Dombroskys encourage everyone to become organ donors. 

“My thinking is, when the good Lord comes for you, he doesn’t want your body; he’s only coming for your soul,” said Steve. “So why not give the gift of life? If I could give someone eyesight, a heart, a kidney, or a skin graft, then there’s a part of me still living, and I think that’s just fantastic.”

Steve and Pam are both grateful to the donor and his family, as well as all of the medical professionals and organizations that have helped them on this journey. 

They were among the first recipients of monetary support from The Cody Barrasse Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by the family and friends of Cody Barrasse, a 22-year-old Moosic resident who died after being struck by a car. Barrasse was an organ donor; eight individuals received his life-saving organs. The foundation helps to offset the costs that many organ donor recipients face and supports a scholarship in his name at Scranton Preparatory School.

Steve and Pam Dombrosky are grateful for the gift of life after Steve received a lifesaving liver transplant in 2018 due to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis disease. The couple received support from The Cody Barrasse memorial Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps to offset the costs of organ transplantation.

Steve, now 62, has combined his passion for cars with a part-time job, working for a friend with a small automotive dealership. He takes care of mostly everything around their home, including having dinner ready when Pam comes home from her job in the accounting department at The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education in Scranton, where she started working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everyone has been wonderful – at CMC, in Danville, and here at The Wright Center,” said Pam. “When I read the email (at The Wright Center) about Organ Donor Awareness Month, I wanted to share our story.”

For anyone unsure of becoming an organ donor, Steve has one thing to say: “You can consider yourself a hero; you gave a better life to someone else, and that says a lot about who you are. It’s a never-ending battle for these people waiting on transplant lists, and you can help in so many ways,” he said.

For more information about organ donations and how to become an organ donor, visit the PA Donate Life website or the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

The Wright Center to support national health objectives as a newly designated Healthy People 2030 Champion

The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education have recently been designated by an office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a Healthy People 2030 Champion.

The official recognition was made by the federal Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) and affirms The Wright Center’s commitment to promoting the nation’s efforts to improve the health and well-being of all people.

Laura Spadaro

“We’re delighted to be recognized as champions of the Healthy People 2030 initiative and its framework for achieving a healthier society by 2030,” said Laura Spadaro, vice president of primary care and public health policy at The Wright Center. “Our nonprofit enterprise’s activities are in full alignment with the vision behind the Healthy People campaign, which is for all people to achieve their full potential for health and well-being across the lifespan.”

The initiative, updated each decade, sets data-driven national objectives in a range of categories, including health conditions (such as dementias, diabetes, and respiratory disease), health behaviors, and special populations.

In total, the initiative tracks 358 core objectives. One objective, for example, is to reduce current tobacco use among the adult population from 21.3% to 17.4% or below. Proponents of this goal note that tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States.

A key focus of the latest Healthy People initiative is the social determinants of health category, which are the social conditions impacting people in the places where they live, learn, work, and play that can affect their quality of life and health. Examples of social determinants of health 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.

“ODPHP is thrilled to recognize The Wright Center for its work to support the Healthy People 2030 vision,” said Rear Admiral Paul Reed, M.D., ODPHP director. “Only by collaborating with partners nationwide can we achieve Health People 2030’s overarching goals and objectives.”

The Healthy People initiative began in 1979 when U.S. Surgeon General Julius Richmond issued the landmark report, “Healthy People: The Surgeon General’s Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.”

Healthy People 2030 is the fifth iteration of the initiative. It builds on the knowledge gained and lessons learned to address the latest public health priorities.

Applicants are selected to become Healthy People 2030 Champions if they have a demonstrated interest in and experience with disease prevention, health promotion, health literacy, health equity, or well-being.

Upon acceptance, each champion is able to display a trademarked digital badge on its website and social media channels. Champions also receive information, tools, and resources to help them promote the initiative among their networks. 

HP2030 Champion badge

As a Healthy People 2030 Champion, The Wright Center joins the ranks of a diverse array of public and private organizations that impact health outcomes at the state, tribal, and local levels.

Current champions include the Academy of General Dentistry, the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, the Council on Black Health, the Health Care Improvement Foundation, the National Kidney Foundation, the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, Trust for America’s Health, and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

To learn more about Healthy People 2030, visit

Healthy People 2030 Champion is a service mark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Used with permission. 
Participation by The Wright Center for Community Health does not imply endorsement by HHS/ODPHP.

‘Paddy O’Basket’ drive benefits Ryan White HIV Clinic patients

The Wright Center for Community Health’s Ryan White HIV Clinic has been serving Northeast Pennsylvania for more than 20 years by offering comprehensive services for people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS. Employees recently collected laundry baskets filled with cleaning supplies to distribute to patients. Thanks to the “Paddy O’Basket Spring Cleaning Drive” patients received paper towels, sponges, laundry detergent, hygiene products, and more.

Employees participating in The Wright Center program, seated from left, are Joe Farley, HIV program assistant; Kimberly Simon, licensed social worker; Marah Lettieri, medical case manager; Shauna Havirlak, medical case manager; Daniel Hammer, case manager; Judith Chavez, clinic coordinator; and Sharon Whitebread, PrEP outreach education and care coordinator; standing, Kevin Tonic, Jr., medical case manager; Michael Zrile, administrative assistant; Keisha Holbeck, medical case manager; Karen McKenna, RN, BSN; Sister Ruth Neely, CRNP; Dr. Mary Louise Decker, director, Ryan White HIV Clinic; and Roman Ealo, case manager.

The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education’s Dr. Pancholy receives Master of Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions designation

The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions (SCAI) has named Dr. Samir B. Pancholy, program director of The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship, a Master Interventionalist of SCAI by bestowing the title, “Master of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (MSCAI),” a designation held by fewer than 100 interventional cardiologists worldwide.

The MSCAI designation recognizes physicians who have demonstrated excellence in interventional cardiology and a commitment to the highest levels of clinical care, innovation, publications, and teaching. 

SCAI was founded in 1978 with a mission to lead the global interventional cardiovascular community through education, advocacy, research, and quality of patient care. SCAI has dedicated its work to advancing the profession and is the designated society for guidance, representation, professional recognition, education, and research opportunities for invasive and interventional cardiology professionals. The society has more than 4,500 members, according to SCAI.

Dr. Samir B. Pancholy

Dr. Pancholy has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts in reputed international journals, has published several practice-changing randomized controlled trials, and has developed multiple procedural techniques to increase the safety and efficacy of the procedure of cardiac catheterization and catheter-based intervention. His research and educational programs in the area of transradial access (catheterization from the artery in the wrist) have been credited with the widespread adoption of the technique in the U.S. and worldwide. 

He also invented several devices that make cardiovascular procedures safer, more effective, comfortable, and cost-effective. Dr. Pancholy holds more than 70 patents issued by the United States Patent and Trademark office, as well as Europe. 

SCAI will recognize Dr. Pancholy at the SCAI Annual Scientific Sessions in Phoenix, Arizona, in May. 

“Dr. Pancholy richly deserves this prestigious honor from SCAI,” said Dr. Jumee Barooah, the Designated Institutional Official for The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. “He shares his expertise with our fellows who travel from around the world to learn from him. He has improved access and quality of cardiac care for countless people thanks to the 26 fellows who have graduated from our fellowship program since 2009.”

He also serves as the director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory at the Veterans Administration Center, Wilkes-Barre, and as a professor of medicine at the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Scranton.

Dr. Pancholy is board-certified in internal medicine, with additional certifications in cardiovascular diseases, interventional cardiology, advanced heart failure, and transplant cardiology. He earned his medical degree from B.J. Medical College in India, and completed his residency at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Dr. Pancholy completed fellowships in interventional cardiology and cardiovascular diseases at the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital and Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education offers Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Internal Medicine, Regional Family Medicine, National Family Medicine, and Psychiatry residency programs and fellowships in Cardiovascular Disease, Gastroenterology, and Geriatrics.