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Co-chairs for the Oct. 20 event are Ariane Conaboy, DO & Atty. Kevin Conaboy and Nicole Ferentino, DC & Atty. Jarrett Ferentino

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) will host its 10th annual Black Ties for White Coats gala on Saturday, Oct. 20 in the Keystone Grand Ballroom at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre.

Each year, GCSOM honors prominent members of the community who embody important aspects of the school of medicine’s founding principles: community, wellbeing and innovation.

This year’s community honoree is Peter Danchak, regional president of the Northeast PA market of PNC Bank. Mr. Danchak serves in leadership roles for a number of community organizations, most notably those dedicated to education. In addition to his energetic support of local medical education, he is co-chair of the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission, to which he was appointed in 2008, and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council of Pre-K Counts in Pennsylvania. He recently was awarded the Voice for Children Award by The Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children.

The 2018 wellbeing honorees are members of the Saidman family. Bruce Saidman, MD and David Greenwald, MD are partners at Medical Oncology Associates (MOA) in Kingston. Long before the concept of “comprehensive cancer care” was mainstream, MOA dedicated itself to caring as much about the emotional and spiritual effects of cancer as it did about the medical aspects. Through a variety of initiatives designed to support cancer patients and their loved ones, MOA has created an atmosphere permeated with a family — rather than a clinical — feel. Dr. Steven Kafrissen, distinguished life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (DLFAPA), is a psychiatrist who has been a longtime advocate of people coping with mental illness.

The 2018 innovation awardee is Robert Wright, MD. Dr. Wright elevated the standard of care in the region by bringing medical expertise closer to home. He founded the Scranton Temple Residency Program in internal medicine — now The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. Then, acting on his dream to see a medical college established in Scranton, he became founding chair of the Medical Education Development Consortium, then founding chair and member of The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC, now Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine) board of trustees. Dr. Wright served as interim president and dean of TCMC and continues to guide Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s development as a member of its community advisory board.

Geisinger Commonwealth’s annual gala raises money exclusively for student scholarships. The black-tie preferred event includes a cocktail reception and silent auction, which begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by a gourmet dinner and dancing to live music by “Into the Spin.”

Reserved seating is $175 per person.  Sponsorships and program advertisements are available.

To become a sponsor, purchase a program ad or to reserve a seat or table, please call 570-504-9065 or visit

About Geisinger
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

GCSOM Gala committee 2018
Planning has begun for Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine’s (GCSOM) 10th annual gala, Black Ties for White Coats, that will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre. Gathering to plan the black-tie preferred event are, first row from left Ariane Conaboy, DO, Gala co-chair; Nicole Ferentino, DC, Gala co-chair; Joanie Hine and Laine Martin, Gala auction co-chairs. Second row: Laura Gillette-Mills; Sharon Byrne; Terese Casey; and Tammy Jackson. Third row: Jane Kanyock; Kay Young; Taryn Blomain; Kara Badyrka; and Andrea Mulrine.
Pete Danchak, GCSOM Gala honoree 2018
This year’s community honoree is Peter Danchak.
Drs. Saidman, Greenwald and Kafrissen, GCSOM Gala honorees 2018
The 2018 wellbeing honorees are Bruce Saidman, MD, David Greenwald, MD and Steven Kafrissen, MD.
Dr. Wright, GCSOM Gala honoree 2018
The 2018 innovation awardee is Robert Wright, MD.

For education media inquiries

Elizabeth Zygmunt
Marketing and Communications Strategist for Education
Office: 570-504-9687
On call: 570-687-9703