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Pittston Resident Selected as Second-Ever Hometown Scholar to be Endorsed by The Wright Center


Scranton, Pa. (July 21, 2021) – The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education has announced that Moriah Bartolai, Pittston, has been selected as this year’s Hometown Scholar and will attend A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA).

She becomes only the second area resident – and second Wright Center-endorsed candidate – to enter The Hometown Scholars program.  

As a Hometown Scholar, Bartolai’s training at ATSU-SOMA will be unique from other medical schools. After spending her first year on campus in Mesa, Arizona, she will return to Scranton, training in the classroom while also rotating through The Wright Center for Community Health’s clinical settings at least once a week. Bartolai, 23, began her studies this month.

Through a partnership with A.T. Still University, The Wright Center’s Hometown Scholars Program targets and recruits future physicians, dentists and other medical professionals from Northeast Pennsylvania who want to serve as an aspirational example for young people in our region.

The program was created to support the applications of compassionate, community-minded individuals interested in becoming a doctor or other medical provider who want to serve the region they grew up in.

Along with meeting the rigorous requirements to apply to medical school, a Hometown Scholar must spend time in a community health center and receive the recommendation of a community health center leader. In Bartolai’s case, her endorsement came from Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, president and chief executive officer of The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education.

“Moriah is dedicated to becoming a highly skilled, compassionate primary care osteopathic physician and healthcare leader who will both serve and advocate for vulnerable populations, communities and humanity,” said Dr. Thomas-Hemak. “Notably, she is to become a first generation physician.”

Bartolai, a 2016 alumna of Scranton Preparatory School, began working at The Wright Center’s Mid Valley and Scranton practices last year, serving as a medical scribe. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, she earned a bachelor of science degree in microbiology. 

“I’m excited and thrilled for this Hometown Scholars opportunity,” she said. “When I received the call, I realized I would finally be able to move forward in achieving a major milestone … a milestone I’ve been working towards for the last few years.”

One of about 160 medical students in ATSU-SOMA’s Class of 2025, Bartolai will gain exposure to clinical settings sooner than many of her counterparts at other medical schools, which typically don’t offer clinical rotations until the third year.

“It does give you a leg up,” said Bartolai. “I’m going to get a lot more patient experience than I would at any other medical school.”

The Hometown Scholars program at ATSU-SOMA was developed to address the workforce needs of the nation’s community health centers, which provide affordable care to traditionally underserved populations, including low-income individuals and people who face other barriers to healthcare.

Today the program is helping to create a pipeline of exceptional, community-minded medical and dental students who are committed to serving in America’s health centers.

Educational opportunities are available for aspiring physicians, physician assistants and dentists. To learn more about these Hometown Scholars opportunities, please contact The Wright Center’s Office of Clerkships at 570-591-5132 or email howellse@thewrightcenter.org.

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