Students served as the main focus during the St. Luke's Hospital Miners Campus's annual Black Diamond Garden Party held at the Harry Packer & Asa Packer Mansions and Kemmerer Park in Jim Thorpe recently.

The event featured fine food, drinks, live music, guided tours of the Asa Packer Mansion and Kemmerer Carriage House and rides in a tethered hot air balloon.

"It was a pleasure to meet with all the students and hear their stories," said event Chairwoman Diane Luicana.

"This year's event is two-fold," said Bill Moyer, president of the hospital, which is located in Coaldale. "In addition to bringing medical students to the community, it also shows our Network's interest in the students."

"By aligning ourselves with St. Luke's and Temple University School of Medicine, we're hoping that we can get physicians to practice in our community," said Moyer. "St. Luke's and Temple University School of Medicine have developed the first and only medical school in the greater Lehigh Valley."

Enrolled students complete their first year at Temple, followed by years two, three and four at St. Luke's Hospital in Bethlehem.

"This event brings together the best and the brightest," said Maureen Donovan, secretary of the local hospital's board of trustees. "We value these student's knowledge and enthusiasm."

"The St. Luke's staff and faculty really reach out to us," said third year student Mark Fegley, who has family from the Tamaqua area. "They go out of their way to help, and routinely encourage us to ask questions."

Fegley, who has many family members in the field of medicine, recalled memories of Dr. Pat Brogle, who he shadowed.

"He was very knowledgeable about patient interaction and a very skilled surgeon," Fegley recalled.

"Mark is a promising student," said Jamie Thomas, D.O., Interventional Radiology instructor. "St. Luke's would be honored if he practiced here."

"These students are a great group of talented individuals," said doctoring course instructor Donald Belmont, M.D.

"The goal of our graduate medical education program is to train young physicians who will have the knowledge and skills to enter private practice or go into fellowships for further training," said Moyer.

"Each year, more than 140 residents train at St. Luke's, which is one of only 400 members of the prestigious Council of Teaching Hospitals."

St. Luke's University Health Network is a regional network of hospitals, physicians and other related organizations providing care primarily in Lehigh, Northampton, Monroe, Carbon, Schuylkill, Bucks, Montgomery and Berks counties in Pennsylvania and Warren County in New Jersey.

St. Luke's University Health Network is comprised of six hospitals and provides services at more than 150 sites.

In addition to student involvement activities, guests were also encouraged to take part in the Historic Doctors game, which involved volunteers acting and/or dressing as doctors who made an impact on the hospital or area communities.

"Everyone had a lot of fun," said Bob Stevenson, St. Luke's board member, who represented his father-in-law, Dr. George Thomas a well-known physician who chose to keep practicing in Jim Thorpe through the borough's hard times for over 30 years.

Other doctors and physicians represented were Dr. William Estes, who served as the first superintendent at St. Luke's in Bethlehem; and Dr. Bertine Erwin, who served as the Asa Packer family doctor.

Also portrayed were Dr. Joe Dougherty, a well known physician from Coaldale; Dr. E.E. Shifferstine, who served as first superintendent of the Coaldale Hospital in 1910; and Dr. Dennis Bonner, a well loved physician who practiced in Coaldale.

Proceeds from the event will be used to raise funds for the Medical Scholarship Fund, which was created to encourage students to join the St. Luke's University Health Network and practice medicine within the local community.