Newsmakers to Feature: Northeast Regional Cancer Institute: July 14, 2013

   The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute is the focus of this Sunday's Newsmakers.  Senior Producer Jayne Ann Bugda and the I-Team's Andy Mehalshick  will be joined by staff and board members of the Cancer Institute.

   The Cancer Institute studies cancer in our region and provides programs for the community and support for cancer patients. The panel will discuss the recent health studies by the Institute and it's new patient navigation program.

   Newsmakers airs this Sunday, July 14 at 6:30 am on WYOU and 11:30 am on WBRE.

 The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute Website

Northeast Regional Cancer Institute

Two Cancer Survivors Celebrations:

Kirby Park, Wilkes-Barre

September 21, 2013

12pm - 2pm


McDade Park, Scranton

September 28, 2013

10am -12pm

To register for the event, individuals can call the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute at 1-800-424-6724 prior to September 13th.


Meet our Guests:

Robert Durkin-

For 12 years, Bob Durkin has served as President of the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, a regionally focused, community-based, non-profit cancer control consortium.
As chief executive officer he is responsible for the development and management of annual and long-term operations plans; community and business partnerships; legislative relationships; organizational marketing and outreach; and fund/resource development.
Prior to his current position, he served as Executive Vice-President of the organization.
Before joining the Cancer Institute, Mr. Durkin was founding Executive Director of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority. There he oversaw the implementation of a nationally recognized community development partnership, which under his stewardship, generated over $30,000,000 in public and private investment in northeastern PA.
Mr. Durkin also previously held the position of Vice President of Community Affairs for the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, and has worked in various capacities in local government, most notably in the areas of grants, planning, and fiscal management.
He is a graduate of Penn State University; has undertaken advanced studies at the Institute for Public Administration at Penn State University; and has completed studies at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management at the University of Delaware.
Mr. Durkin serves as chair of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Cancer Control Consortium, and is currently leading the development of a new state-wide Comprehensive Cancer Plan for the Pennsylvania Department of Health. In addition, he serves on the Board of the Prostate Cancer Awareness Association, the Scranton Area Foundation Investment Committee, and the Government Affairs Committees of both the Greater Scranton and Greater Wilkes-Barre (chair) Area Chambers of Commerce.
He is active in numerous community organizations, including the The Arc of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Parents of Down Syndrome of Northeastern Pennsylvania (Chair), Challenger Little League/soccer, and the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Partnership.

Dr. Samuel Lesko:

Samuel M. Lesko, MD, MPH has served as Medical Director for the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute and its regional cancer registry since 2000.
Dr. Lesko completed his doctorate of medicine degree at Jefferson Medical College. After becoming board certified in Family Medicine in 1980, he served as a fellow with the United States Public Health Service. In 1984, Dr. Lesko completed graduate training in chronic disease epidemiology at the Yale University School of Medicine. Prior to his joining the Cancer Institute staff, he also gained extensive research experience as a Senior Epidemiologist at the Slone Epidemiology Unit/Center at the School of Public Health, Boston University School of Medicine.
During his time at the Cancer Institute, Dr. Lesko has had his research published in numerous peer reviewed journals. Since 2005, he has collaborated with colleagues at Penn State, serving as a Co-investigator on the Appalachian Community Cancer Network, an NCI-funded community networks program. He has conducted a population-based survey of risk factors for cancer (including tobacco use) among adults living in northeast Pennsylvania and has documented a high prevalence of cigarette smoking among both men and women in this community. Dr. Lesko has also used cancer registry data to document the high incidence of lung and bronchus cancer among men and increasing incidence rates among women.
In addition to his position at the Cancer Institute, Dr. Lesko also currently serves as an adjunct professor at Penn State College of Medicine and The Commonwealth Medical College.

Laura Toole, LCSW-

Laura Toole, LCSW has served as Director of Community and Patient Services at the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute since 2000. Prior to her current position, Toole served as a Social Worker for the Cancer Institute. She has worked in the field of human services for over 25 years, including many spent as one of the region's few oncology social workers.
Toole received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Bloomsburg University. She also completed her Master of Social Service & Master of Law and Social Policy degrees at Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.
In her current role, Toole has worked diligently to keep the outreach aspect of Cancer Institute programming dynamic and tailored to the specific needs of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Starting in 2003, she oversaw the three-year Targeted Colorectal Cancer Awareness Campaign that played a role in increasing colorectal cancer screening rates in NEPA from 33% to 41.5%, saving the lives of an estimated 13 of our neighbors per year. Over the past several years, Laura has also kept the Cancer Institute on the cutting edge of improvements in national health care by taking the lead on the creation of the new Patient Navigation program that assists the uninsured/underinsured in obtaining cancer screenings. Also, while much of her work has been locally focused, Laura's dedication and expertise has led to numerous invitations to present at state and national conferences, and in 2000 she co-wrote an article published in Coping with Cancer Magazine.

Jackie Brozena:

Professional Experience

Senior Vice President/Chief Operating Officer

 Allied Services Integrated Health System, Scranton, PA 2010 -Present


Responsible for operational leadership, financial management, integration, and strategic direction of an integrated post acute system of care.  The Allied Services system of care consists of two freestanding rehabilitation hospitals, two skilled nursing facilities, a personal care facility, a home health agency, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, and home and community based services.


Relevant History


Senior Vice President, Allied Services, Scranton, PA   2006 - 2010 

Vice President, Allied Services, Scranton, PA 1999 - 2006

Assistant Vice President, Allied Services, Scranton, PA   1987 - 1999

Department Head, Allied Services, Wilkes-Barre, PA   1983 - 1987


Notable Team Achievements


Hospital Association of Pennsylvania/Innovation Award   1997


Uniform Data Systems Top Performer in Nation Award

Allied Services Rehabilitation Hospital-  97th Percentile  2008

Allied Services Rehabilitation Hospital-  98th Percentile  2009

Allied Services Rehabilitation Hospital-  99th Percentile  2010

Allied Services Heinz Institute-    97th Percentile  2011 

Allied Services Rehabilitation Hospital-   99th Percentile  2011

Allied Services Heinz Institute-   98th Percentile  2012

Allied Services Rehabilitation Hospital-   99th Percentile  2012  

OCS HomeCare Elite in Pennsylvania    

Allied Services Home Health Agency  Top 25%  2009

Allied Services Home Health Agency  Top 25%  2010

Allied Services Home Health Agency  Top 25%  2011

Allied Services Home Health Agency  Top 25%  2012




M.B.A., Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA

B.S., Penn State University, State College, PA


Community Activities


Board Member:  Northeast Regional Cancer Institute

Circle 200

West Pittston Library

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