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Alfonso Zangardi, MD says if he hadn’t become a doctor, he would have been a teacher. That might explain why, throughout his medical career, he’s always kept a hand in academics.

A Pittston native, Dr. Zangardi had key role models in his mother, a nurse and his uncle, Joseph Stella, DO, a cardiothoracic surgeon. “My mother instilled a sense of altruism,” he said. “My uncle went to medical school and returned to the area to practice. He was a good resource for me, someone I could bounce ideas off of and get advice about my options.”

After he graduated from Seton Catholic High School in Pittston, Dr. Zangardi went to King’s College and majored in biology and then to Temple University School of Medicine. “During my rotations, I discovered I really wanted to do internal medicine. I liked the long-term connections with patients.”

After his residency at Hershey Medical Center, Dr. Zangardi had the opportunity to indulge his passion for teaching by staying on an extra year to serve as chief resident. He also met his wife, Jennifer Zangardi MD during residency.

One more crucial thing happened during that time – Dr. Zangardi was exposed to the VA system during rotations. He found the experience so fulfilling, after a few years practicing in Pittsburgh, he jumped on the opportunity to become site director for Penn State Hershey School of Medicine students and residents at the Lebanon VA. “The VA is accessible to patients’ needs and takes a very holistic view. It offers a broad array of services to our veterans,” he said.

Today he is an internist, assistant chief of medicine and site director at the Wilkes-Barre VA. He oversees residents from The Wright Center, some physician assistant students and medical students from Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

“I love teaching because when I practice, I treat one patient at a time, but when I teach, I impact thousands of future patients,” he said.
Alfonso Zangardi