The Rural Outreach Center breaks the cycle of rural poverty in southwestern New York by accompanying people to self-sufficiency using a robust, comprehensive, two-generation model based on empowerment and accountability. This model recognizes the close intersection between poverty and health.
The NYS Association for Rural Health is pleased to announce that the Rural Outreach Center received the Outstanding Rural Program of the Year Award on National Rural Health Day.
Under the leadership of Dr. Frank Cerny, the Rural Outreach Center offers wrap-around services in collaboration with over 80 partners, including hospitals and other health care providers. The Center uses a multimodal transportation service model to address accessibility. Immediate needs are assessed, and resources accessed – social services, utility forbearance, food pantries, and other assistance as needed. Once stabilized, individuals are asked if they would like to participate in programs to move away from their current circumstances. This engagement is the core of the model and the programs offered are the foundation of the participant’s success.
There are over 40,000 people in poverty in the rural zip codes from which the Rural Outreach Center’s participants come. Rural poverty is called the invisible poverty because it is dispersed across a wide geographic area, exacerbating the socio-economic disadvantages and accompanying health disparities.
Attendance and improvements in outcomes are tracked through quarterly evaluations, which are quantitatively recorded in a case outcome recording system. The effectiveness of programming is monitored using these data. Over 50% of engaged participants move at least one point on one scale with half of them improving in emotional health and many in housing. Over 4,500 yearly contacts address poverty at multiple levels. Almost 200 engaged adults and over 100 children