Estate Society: Erin O’Malley Tysko, M.D. ’89: Encouraging Excellence

Alumna and her husband establish scholarship to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM fields.

Erin O’Malley Tysko, M.D. ’89
Erin O’Malley Tysko, M.D. ’89

Erin O’Malley Tysko, M.D. ’89, a cardiologist at Main Line Health Care, Lankenau Heart Group, knows a thing or two about the value of encouragement. As a senior at Scranton’s Bishop Hannan High School, she won a presidential scholarship to The University of Scranton, giving her the opportunity to pursue her desire to become a physician. As a medical student at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, the example set by the female cardiologists she encountered gave her the confidence to specialize in a traditionally male-dominated field, and she wants to encourage future generations of young women to do the same.

“We need more women to pursue their interests and not be discouraged from science and technology careers,” she said. “Having other women encourage you is extremely important.

“Anything is possible with the right foundation, support and mentoring.”

Dr. O’Malley Tysko and her husband, Gregg Tysko, a director of market access at Pfizer, recently chose to help provide that foundation by establishing The Erin O’Malley Tysko, M.D. ’89 & Gregg Tysko Women in STEM Scholarship, an award that, once fully endowed, will be given to need-based female undergraduate students pursuing degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

“I always wanted to give back to Scranton,” she said. “The financial challenges associated with medical and advanced science degrees can be overwhelming, and we hope to alleviate some of those concerns for aspiring STEM candidates.

“My profession is so rewarding, and I want other women to have the opportunity to experience that.”

Growing up, Dr. O’Malley Tysko knew she wanted to pursue a career in the sciences and was also aware of the University’s excellent track record for medical school acceptances. She recalls being excited and relieved to earn a presidential scholarship.

“Tuition was expensive and becoming a physician requires years of education and training,” she said. “The scholarship was a big financial help.”

As a first-generation college student commuting to her classes, Dr. O’Malley Tysko knew she had to focus on academics to achieve her goals. Although the scholarship helped with tuition, she worked a variety of jobs during her time at the University, including stints at the campus bookstore, a downtown law firm, a local hospital and a restaurant. Despite juggling a demanding class schedule and her work commitments, she made many friends who continue to be an important part of her life.

“We are all still close and have great memories of our time on campus,” she said. “I don’t think we have ever missed a reunion.”

As a consultative cardiologist, Dr. O’Malley Tysko sees patients across the spectrum of cardiac disease, treating high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary disease and valve disease. She is board certified in cardiology, nuclear cardiology and echocardiography, and she currently serves as director of outpatient echocardiography for Main Line Health Care.

“Cardiology is a constantly evolving specialty that allows us to utilize the most advanced technology to improve quality of life for patients,” she said. “I’m so happy I chose this particular field.”

When she was a cardiology fellow, Dr. O’Malley Tysko met Gregg at a college friend’s wedding, and the two eventually married and settled in Blue Bell, where they reside today.

“I’m lucky — I have a spouse who continually encourages me,” she said. “He always says, ‘If you want to do it, just do it.’”

In addition to her clinical work as a cardiologist, Dr. O’Malley Tysko serves others in a variety of ways, including participating in multiple educational programs to encourage cardiovascular health, promoting awareness of women and heart disease, and by previously acting as a “Go Red Champion” for the American Heart Association. A true woman for others, she hopes the scholarship will encourage future Scranton women to follow their dreams.

“Lots of people will tell you that you can’t do it,” she said. “If that’s all you ever hear, that might be what you start to believe.

“We want to help young women get past the doubts and focus on their future in STEM.”

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