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The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education Announces Its Inaugural Class of Psychiatry Graduates


Scranton, Pa. (June 9, 2021) – The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education (TWCGME) is proud to announce the first class of graduates in its psychiatry residency program as part of its annual graduation ceremony on Friday, June 18. 

Under the leadership of founding Program Director Sanjay Chandragiri, M.D., The Wright Center’s psychiatry residency was established in 2017 through a joint effort with the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s Behavioral Health Initiative and several partnering organizations, including Geisinger Community Medical Center and Scranton Counseling Center. The program started with only four psychiatry residents and now trains 22 physicians each year. As four psychiatrists graduate this week, The Wright Center will welcome five new first-year trainees starting orientation later this month.

“Four years ago, we became part of the national solution to the well-documented problem of limited access to behavioral health care with the launch of this community-based program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education,” said Dr. Chandragiri, who also serves as an associate professor of psychiatry at the GCSOM. “We are incredibly proud and excited to celebrate this milestone with our first group of graduates, who are paving the way for generations of new psychiatrists to train in Scranton and then go on to serve both locally and nationally.”

The 2021 Wright Center psychiatry graduates include:

  • Alex Slaby, M.D. 
  • Rooshi Patel, M.D.
  • Hema Venigalla, M.D.
  • Qais Zalim, M.D.

Notably, Dr. Slaby is a graduate of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, and will practice in Eastern Pennsylvania at St. Luke’s University in Bethlehem.

Supported by the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services through Geisinger Community Medical Center and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program, The Wright Center’s psychiatry program was established in direct response to the critical shortage of psychiatrists in Northeast Pennsylvania and across the United States. 

The psychiatry residents receive their unique training in The Wright Center for Community Health’s integrated primary care-behavioral health “medical home” teaching health centers, which strive to provide whole-person care, including medical, dental, addiction and recovery and behavioral health services all under the same roof.

“After four successful years of learning in our diverse clinical environments, our residents are about to graduate as exceptionally well-trained psychiatrists,” said Meaghan Ruddy, Ph.D., The Wright Center’s Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs. “These pioneering physicians will provide immediate benefits by using their skills to improve the lives of those in desperate need of help. We’re incredibly proud of them for living The Wright Center’s mission of improving the health and welfare of the communities they have and will serve through inclusive and responsive health services.” 

Based in Scranton, The Wright Center is our nation’s largest Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Consortium. The four graduating psychiatry residents join 77 other Wright Center 2021 graduates who are completing their training in internal medicine, family medicine and cardiology, as well as The Wright Center’s first graduating classes in gastroenterology and geriatrics. Commencement will stream online at TheWrightGraduation.org starting at 6 p.m. on June 18.

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