Public Health / Rural Health / Spotlight

The Evolution of CACTC into the Rural Health Institute of New York

In an exciting transformation, the Cortland Area Communities That Care (CACTC) has evolved to better align with their mission and vision. This nonprofit organization, dedicated to advancing community health, has expanded its focus to include rural public health. With these changes, they proudly introduce their new agency name: The Rural Health Institute of New York (RHI).

The Journey from CACTC to RHI

CACTC began its journey as a youth prevention coalition in the early 2000s, working tirelessly to prevent youth substance use—a critical aspect of public health. Over the last two decades, their efforts expanded beyond youth substance use prevention to encompass broader public health initiatives in rural communities. It became evident that their work aligned closely with the Public Health Institute (PHI) model.

Embracing the PHI Model

PHIs are nonprofit organizations committed to improving public health through innovative, data-driven, and collaborative work. They focus on making practical and systematic improvements in population health. Here’s what makes them unique:

  • Research and Data Application: PHIs apply research and data to real-world problems.
  • Flexibility and Agility: They work quickly, finding new solutions and opportunities.
  • Data Analysis: They analyze data to enhance future iterations of their work.
  • Partnerships: PHIs collaborate with various sectors, including government, healthcare providers, academia, and more.
  • Maximizing Impact: They leverage their partners’ strengths to maximize impact.

The Future of the Rural Health Institute of New York

The vision for the Rural Health Institute of New York (RHI) is to expand on their current strengths. RHI will continue to use data-driven decision-making processes in their work, focusing on three core areas of expertise to support partners and the community:

  1. Data and Epidemiology: This includes data collection and analysis, data literacy improvement, administration of surveys, and project evaluation.
  2. Administration and Collaborative Leadership: They will facilitate coalitions, manage grants, and offer training opportunities.
  3. Public Health Communication: This area will involve graphic design, marketing strategies, and evidence-based messaging.

As RHI, they aim to strengthen partnerships, whether through formal contracts or informal collaborations. While the name change won’t immediately expand their capacity to cover all of rural New York, they have been building crucial relationships with key players across the state, positioning themselves to grow and collaborate more effectively.

Read More

To learn more about their work and history, you can visit their website. They also have specific portals for partners to access their Data & Epidemiology resources and Health Communications resources. If you’d like to stay updated on their transition, you can subscribe to their newsletter.

As they enter this new chapter as the Rural Health Institute of New York, they invite the community to join them in shaping their future. Their commitment to public health practice remains unwavering, and they look forward to continuing their vital work in rural communities. For the full story, please visit here. 


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