Meet the PA Eastern Region Governor-Elect Designee

Linda Thomas-Hemak, MD

Linda Thomas-Hemak, MD is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Wright Center for Community Health and its affiliated entity, The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. After graduating as a Michael DeBakey Scholar from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and completing Harvard’s Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Residency Program in Boston, Dr. Thomas-Hemak joined The Wright Center in 2001 as a double board certified faculty physician.

In 2007, Dr. Thomas-Hemak became President of The Wright Center Medical Group as Program Director of The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education’s Internal Medicine Residency. She accepted her current leadership role as President and Chief Executive Officer of both organizations in 2012. In response to the growing needs of patients and families she serves related to our national opioid misuse crisis, Dr. Thomas-Hemak became board certified in Addiction Medicine in 2018. Although a visionary executive, Dr. Thomas-Hemak remains an inspired practitioner and healer at heart, practicing and teaching primary care in her hometown community at The Wright Center’s Mid Valley Teaching Health Center in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Treating and caring for multiple generations of families, neighbors and friends, she firmly believes that her active and passionate engagement with her primary care patients and her perspective as a hands-on medical practitioner and educator enlighten and empower all aspects of her executive decision-making.

A founding board member of the “Beyond Flexner” Scranton-based Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Dr. Thomas-Hemak intentionally devotes her leadership to multiple healthcare and medical education organizations, several non-profit boards of directors, and countless cross sector committees and workgroups, as she fervently advocates for collaborations that benefit the health and welfare of her local, regional and our national communities. Her efforts to improve our healthcare delivery and educational systems focus on generating quality, safety and experiential improvements, while promoting access, efficiencies, and affordability. She ardently advances strategies to promote the wellness, resiliency, competence and compassion of the current and future interprofessional primary healthcare workforce. Currently, Dr. Thomas-Hemak is an executive committee member and the current Chair of the Board of Northeast Area Health Education Center, a committee member of the American College of Physicians Northeast PA Council, and the Treasurer and a founding board member of the American Association of Teaching Health Centers. She also currently serves on the Pennsylvania Patient-Centered Medical Home Advisory Council and is a current governing board member of Keystone Accountable Care Organization, The Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development, Center for Health and Human Services Research and Action, and Misericordia University. She is also a committed organizational representative engaged in the Pennsylvania and National Associations of Community Health Centers and serves on the advisory board of the Health Federation of Philadelphia’s Health Center Controlled Network. Dr. Thomas-Hemak is a proud “Beyond Flexner” medical education enthusiast who serves on A.T. Still University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) Steering Committee and Residency Training Alliance for Community Care.

Dr. Thomas-Hemak has provided instrumental leadership in visioning, implementing and growing The Wright Center’s Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Safety-Net Consortium, the largest HRSA-funded Teaching Health Center Sponsoring Institution in our nation, which strives to address our national primary care physician workforce shortage, misdistribution and related health and healthcare disparities. Actualizing the Nasca, et al., CHAMPS model of community health centers and academic medicine partnerships, the Consortium force-multiplies the impact of non-discriminatory primary care health services delivery, workforce development, and public health by optimizing the convergence of public and private clinical revenues with tri-agency GME program resources from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. Dr Thomas-Hemak notes her transformational work in creating The Wright Center’s Teaching Health Center GME Consortium model was inspired by and designed responsive to the National Academy of Medicine’s call for GME Finance and Governance reform in the United States. That powerful call specifically catalyzed the development of The Wright Center’s innovative and needs-responsive distributed learning National Family Medicine Residency Program (NFMR) platform. After demonstrating years of impressive outcomes, this pioneering NFMR program delivered through collaborations with ATSU-SOMA and four high-performing Federally Qualified Health Center clinical learning environment partners across the United States, is now an ACGME-accredited national solution to primary care physician workforce development in small, rural. and medically underserved communities.

Additional career highlights include The Wright Center’s recognition as a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike in 2019; its National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) designations as a Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home with School-Based and also Behavioral Health Integration; selection as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Top 30 Site for National Primary Care Innovations; recognition as a University of California, San Francisco, Center of Excellence in Primary Care and American Association of Medical Colleges’ Premier Primary Care Residency; designation as a Pennsylvania Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence and Coordinating Center for Medication-Assisted Treatment and leading partner in Lackawanna County’s Healthy Medical Opiate Management System program for pregnant women struggling with substance use disorder. Dr. Thomas-Hemak also notably leads The Wright Center’s engagement in the Keystone Health Information Exchange and its catalytic role in a public television-based education campaign to accelerate wide-scale adoption of local, regional and national health information interoperability.

Amongst the many awards and recognitions bestowed on her throughout her career, Dr. Thomas-Hemak is especially proud of receiving the prestigious Ann Preston Women in Medicine Award by the Pennsylvania Eastern Region Chapter of the American College of Physicians for “outstanding efforts and achievements to promote career success, leadership and overall quality of life for women in medicine and fostering tomorrow's women leaders.”

Under Dr. Thomas-Hemak’s leadership, The Wright Center aspires to be recognized by the President of the United States as the Health and Human Services gold standard for community-based primary healthcare with integrated workforce development by June 30, 2027.