Dunmorean of the Month: Dr. Karen Arscott

karen-arscott-dunmorean-of-month-picDr. Karen Arscott, a native of Dunmore and 1977 graduate of Dunmore High School, is at the forefront of efforts to raise awareness and offer support to people touched by lung cancer—and she wants to remind everyone that November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

She serves as chair of the Northeast/Central Interprofessional Education, a group of health care educators from 11 different institutions of higher education in the Northeast and North Central Pennsylvania region. This group is partnered with the NEPA Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to promote interprofessional education and collaboration in our region.

Arscott is promoting the Shine the Light Vigil to be held on Friday, Nov. 4, at 5:30 p.m. at the North Washington Avenue side of the Scranton Courthouse Square lawn. This follows the placing of 1,600 flags at the Courthouse lawn last Sunday, which each flag representing 100 Americans who will die of lung cancer this year, a total of 160,000.

An Associate Professor of Medicine at The Commonwealth Medical College, she has first hand experience with the terrible disease.

“As a healthy physician, I was very surprised 10 years ago when I was diagnosed with lung cancer, especially since I have no known risk factors,” Dr. Arscott explains. “My surprise continued as I developed a serious recurrence 16 months later in my mediastinum (middle of my chest) which had me now at a stage III disease.

“After my recovery, I decided that it would be my personal mission to spread the word about this terrible disease that takes 160,000 American lives each year– more than colon, breast, and prostate combined.”

She mentions that a very interesting point is that the fastest growing demographic is young never-smoked women – and we do not know why. Never smokers make up 20 percent of those diagnosed with lung cancer, Non-smokers (those who have quit) make up 60 percent.

Due to the stigma attached to lung cancer it is the lowest funded killer cancer – despite its lethality. The mortality has not changed  in 40 years.

“My team and I are all about raising awareness about the facts of lung cancer and also about screening now covered by most insurances, Arscott points out. “Screening changed breast and colon cancer mortality – it can do the same for lung if we can get the word out.”

In order to do so, in addition to Friday’s event, Karen was involved with events last July, raising just over $5,000 for the Lung Cancer Alliance, for which Dr. Ascott serves on the Medical and Professional Advisory Board.

A Letter from the Commissioners


The Lackawanna County Board of Commissioners was very pleased with the Sept. 28 announcement that the Geisinger Health System acquired The Commonwealth Medical College.

This is truly a great marriage for both entities.  It opens up a world of training, technology and research possibilities that will not only impact our community, but the face of medicine across our country when the future doctors venture out to practice and heal others.

Geisinger Community Medical Center and the medical college are two vital economic and education engines for Lackawanna County.  They employ our residents, purchase goods and services, volunteer in our community, sponsor various activities, and spend their disposable income on recreation, leisure and personal needs.

It is amazing how an idea and a commitment 13 years ago became a reality with the opening of The Commonwealth Medical College.  And now, it is fortified for generations.  

Economics aside, the centerpiece of this development is helping others by training the doctors of the future.

We are truly grateful for the significant commitment made in our community by Geisinger, and we wish both operations much success and “good health” in the future.

Patrick M. O’Malley
Jerry Notarianni
Laureen A. Cummings

Lackawanna County Commissioners  

Dr. Jennifer Sidari: Hope is Contagious Golf Tournament

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Members of the Dr. Jennifer Sidari Golf Tournament Committee present a donation to The Helping Hands Society, Hazleton from the proceeds of last year’s tournament. Pictured from left: Bill Goldsworthy, Tournament co=chairman, Larry Sidari, committee member, Mary Beth Koch, Executive Director of The Helping Hands Society and Pete Sidari, father of Jennifer.

The friends and family of Dr. Jennifer Sidari will gather on the green of Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club on Friday, Oct. 7 for ‘The Dr. Jennifer Sidari: Hope is Contagious Golf Tournament’.

The tournament begins with a shotgun start at 11 a.m.  A gourmet food tent will compliment the course and the event will conclude with a cocktail hour and dinner reception.  

The cost is $85 per golfer, $330 per foursome, $125 per Hole Sponsor and $50 for dinner-only guests.  All proceeds of the tournament will support The Jennifer Sidari, M.D. scholarships at two of her alma maters: Wyoming Area High School and The Commonwealth Medical College, as well as other community nonprofits.

Jennifer Sidari, M.D. passed away unexpectedly in May of 2013, just two weeks after receiving her doctoral degree from The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC).  Born and raised in West Pittston, Jennifer was also a graduate of Wyoming Area High School and The University of Scranton.  

Despite her shortened life, Jennifer’s accomplishments are innumerable.  She was nationally recognized in her medical education with a nomination for the Physicians of Tomorrow Award.  During her studies at TCMC, she volunteered in children’s hospitals and clinics around the world including South Africa and Haiti.  Most of all, Jennifer was known for her contagious smile and selfless personality.

The tournament is limited in capacity, so reserve your foursome today! For more information on additional sponsorship opportunities or to reserve your spot on the course, please contact one of the event chairs, Bill Goldsworthy at (570) 237-1810, wpgoldy@gmail.com or Mike Cabell, (570) 233-1389, mfcabell@gmail.com.  For more information on Dr. Jen’s Hope or to download a tournament brochure, visit http://www.drjenshope.org.  Donations may also be made to Dr. Jen’s Hope Foundation, c/o The Luzerne Foundation, 15 Montgomery Ave., West Pittston PA 18643.