The holiday season is here, and the spirit of the season has me thinking quite a bit about how to be more giving and charitable in all aspects of my life.

Fortunately, I work for an organization that is always striving to do more in that regard. Here at The Wright Center, we’re not only committed to being a first-rate provider of primary health care services, but also to being good community partners through ventures like our Patient & Community Engagement board.

We formed this board with the intention of nurturing closer interactions with our patients, the community and like-minded organizations in order to energize our mission by putting more of a premium on patient and community engagement and support. Among other things, the board is focused on improving access to health care and overall well-being while addressing the negative social and economic determinants of health that affect our most vulnerable patients, including food insecurity, homelessness, poverty and access to education.

We have very accomplished Patient & Community Engagement board members who provide crucial direction and support and bring plenty of unique perspectives on community needs, resources and connections. And we recently hired Laurie LaMaster to serve as our new associate vice president of development and patient and community engagement. Many of you will remember Laurie from her many years at WNEP-TV 16. Now, she’ll be working closely with our board to identify, create, launch and execute fundraising opportunities and special events that enhance our community fundraising and awareness efforts.

Among other community initiatives is our annual Rack of Warmth project, which began in November and runs through mid-February. For it, our employees and board members donated high-quality, gently used and new coats, hats, mittens, scarves and boots for community members in need. The racks are currently set up in the lobbies of all of our primary care practices. The goal is simple — to share a little warmth with our neighbors and friends.

Meanwhile, the Patient & Community Engagement board also launched a new high-tech program with the support of AllOne Charities’ annual Giving Tuesday initiative that will provide long-term benefits for patients with chronic health conditions.

With the funds that were raised on Giving Tuesday — including AllOne matching the first $1,000 raised by each participating charitable organization — we are purchasing Fitpolo H709 smartwatches for patients who cannot otherwise afford them. The smartwatch uses built-in features to track and monitor key aspects of the user’s life for a personalized health care data experience, and features full touch-screen capabilities that can also be accessed via a smart mobile app. The smartwatch’s life assistant monitors in real-time the user’s heart rate, steps, blood pressure and more, then transfers that data to the patient’s electronic health records with the assistance of Humhealth technology.

Through the smartwatch initiative, which is part of our Lifestyle Medicine program, we’re aiming to improve patient education, understanding, engagement and implementation of a healthy lifestyle. By gathering data in real time and compiling it, our providers will have access to patients’ medical information in between visits instead of just monitoring them during office visits. We’ll be able to remotely monitor patients’ activity level, calorie intake and other vital data necessary for effective lifestyle change.

This is important work, and through increased community partnerships like this, we’ll be able to carry out our mission that much more effectively. And, in the process, we’ll become more heavily engaged in the broader community. We’re giving, but also receiving in return — a nice sentiment to carry with us this holiday season.

Jignesh Y. Sheth, M.D., a primary care physician dually board-certified in internal medicine and addiction medicine, leads The Wright Center for Community Health as chief medical officer and as senior vice president of clinical operations, enterprise IT and education integrations for The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. He sees patients at The Wright Center’s Mid Valley Practice in Jermyn and lives with his family in Clarks Summit. Send your medical questions to