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The Wright Center Celebrates 81 Graduates, Addressing Regional and National Need for Physicians


Scranton, Pa. (June 18, 2021) – Eighty-one medical residents and fellows are completing their training this year at The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education, with many members of the Class of 2021 choosing to remain in Northeast Pennsylvania for further studies or to enter practice here and care for patients. 

The Wright Center’s newest cohort of highly skilled, compassionate caregivers – whose training overlapped with the outbreak of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic – will help to address the nation’s physician workforce shortages and improve access to care. Sixteen graduates plan to continue their careers in Pennsylvania, 10 of them in this region.

The Wright Center celebrated its graduates’ accomplishments with a virtual commencement on Friday, June 18. The event can be viewed online at TheWrightGraduation.org.

Established locally in 1976, The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education has since blossomed into the nation’s largest Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program, a critical part of the country’s workforce pipeline needed to fill an urgent need for more primary care physicians.

Unlike traditional residency programs based out of hospitals, the THCGME program provides training sites in community-based settings and serves to inspire physicians to work in rural and other medically underserved communities  

For graduates of The Wright Center’s pioneering regional and national programs, this week’s commencement marked the completion of a three-year, or longer, graduate medication education training period during which they treated patients under the guidance of faculty physicians and simultaneously honed their skills to become highly competent, licensed caregivers.

Notably, the Class of 2021 includes the first physicians to have successfully finished The Wright Center’s three newest programs: its psychiatry residency and its gastroenterology and geriatrics fellowship programs. The graduation ceremony also recognized physicians who completed The Wright Center’s longer-established residencies – internal medicine, regional family medicine and national family medicine – and its cardiovascular disease fellowship program.

The graduating class includes Clarks Summit native Daniel Kazmierski, M.D., chief resident of the internal medicine program. Internal medicine residency graduates who plan to stay in Northeast Pennsylvania to practice medicine or continue their studies include: Anjalika Gupta, M.D., who will begin an addiction medicine fellowship at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, Wilkes-Barre; Abdul Haseeb, M.D., Husnain Shaukat, M.D., and Mousa Thalji, M.D., all of whom will join Geisinger Wyoming Valley as hospitalists; and Rahool, M.D., and Umesh Singla, M.D., both of whom will stay with The Wright Center to join the geriatric fellowship program. 

Family medicine graduates who plan to stay in NEPA include chief resident Ebi Rowshanshad, D.O., who will join Wayne Memorial Hospital in Honesdale; and Steven Archambault, D.O., who will remain with The Wright Center as faculty. Geriatric fellowship graduates Nirali Patel, M.D., and Naeem Ijaz, M.D., will also stay on as faculty physicians with The Wright Center.

The commencement was held virtually for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The online event featured remarks and congratulations from Gerard Geoffroy, Chair of The Wright Center for Community Health Board of Directors; Harold Baillie, Ph.D., Chair of The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education Board of Directors; and William Waters, Ph.D., Vice Chair of The Wright Center for Community Health Board of Directors and Co-Chair of The Wright Center for Patient and Community Engagement; graduates and program directors as well as executive leadership, including President/CEO Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak; Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jignesh Y. Sheth; and Designated Institutional Official Dr. Jumee Barooah.

“I’ve been awed to observe firsthand as each of our residents and fellows faced hardship with humility, calmed concerns with compassion, and grounded the practice of medicine in grace,” Dr. Barooah said during her remarks. “Resilience has been the defining trait of our graduates, and it is a characteristic that will continue to serve them well throughout their lives and careers. They have served as brothers and sisters in arms on the front lines of healthcare, and have all solidified their place in The Wright Center’s history and family.”

“The pandemic brought an unexpected final act to these years of residency: a wake-up call to the profession and indeed to the world, that the object of your practice is not limited to your individual patients, but to them, their families, their communities, and ultimately, the world,” Dr. Baillie said to graduates. “You rose to that challenge in extraordinary ways, going beyond your training to care for the community: providing vaccinations, being alert to the ailments of your patients, and assisting the community in holding back the tsunami of the virus.”

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