Featured News

NY Community Star: Jo Ann N. Brown

As the debate over mental health continues across the country, many rural areas still lack resources for proper treatment. Jo Ann Brown, Program Director and Coordinator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Mid-Hudson, is working to change that. In her role at NAMI Mid-Hudson, Brown helps address awareness issues and provides resources and education for families affected by mental illness. Brown and her team of volunteers have provided invaluable leadership and energy to ensure rural residents’ mental health needs are met with unique programs and services. Brown helps lead the “Ending the Silence” program in the local schools and teaches “Family-to-Family,” a 12-week, evidence-based course that provides communication and problem solving skills, m...

Dr. Andrew Williams Honored as Practitioner of the Year

Andrew Fox Williams, MD was recognized with the Dr. Gary Ogden Rural Health Practitioner of the Year for his contributions to the North Country community during the COVID-19 pandemic. His dedication in time and knowledge to this pandemic response demonstrates his sincere commitment to the core values of public health and quality care that Dr. Ogden exemplified. When COVID-19 struck the North Country in March 2020, Dr. Williams helped lead the St. Lawrence County public health response.  He directed the clinical response to COVID-19 at St. Lawrence Health System to keep our community safe and use the rapidly evolving guidelines and evidence to provide the support needed within our county to respond to this pandemic. Dr. Williams worked day in and day out to ensure all stakeholders were incl...

Tina Cobb Honored with Senator McGee Award

Tina Cobb received the Senator Patricia McGee Award for Leadership in Rural Health on National Rural Health Day, November 19, 2020. She is acknowledged as a leader for her insight and know-how as well as for her devotion to improving rural health. Cobb is a tireless advocate, at every level, ensuring that rural issues are never forgotten. She is regarded as an expert not only in maternal/infant and adolescent health, but in the overarching issues impacting rural communities, such as access to insurance and health care, lack of transportation, and prevention services. Cobb has been an active member of multiple local, regional and statewide coalitions, boards, and networks committed to addressing the social determinants of health through systematic and individual level change. A few of these...

Donna Kahm Honored with Senator McGee Award

Donna Kahm works to foster collaboration among community agencies to enhance the health and wellness of residents living in rural southwestern New York.  She works with a wide variety of community agencies to develop and administer programs that promote access to health care and continuing medical education and directs numerous initiatives that identify and overcome barriers to quality of care and quality of life. In 2016 Kahm was responsible for initiating the Cribs for Kids program through her participation in the HFWCNY’s Health Leadership Fellows program to respond to unsafe sleep-related infant deaths. Since the program began the program has distributed 488 cribs and trained 627 parents/caregivers in safe sleep practices. We are happy to report that 0 infants involved in the pro...

Rural Outreach Center Honored as Outstanding Rural Health Program of the Year

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 – s...

Senator Rachel May Honored by NYS Association for Rural Health

NYS Senator Rachel May was elected to the Senate in 2018.  Even though she was brand new to the Senate, Senator May stepped up to her role as one of only a few Upstate Senators in the majority.  She is Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Commission on Rural Resources and was instrumental in negotiating a supplemental Appropriation for Rural Health Networks and Rural Access Hospitals in the 2019-20 budget. Senator May received the Rural Health Champion Award from NYSARH for her support of rural health initiatives. Senator May has held hearings on the Climate Leadership and Community Preservation Act, rural broadband, farm labor rights, health care for all, and upstate nursing home issues during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, she has brought her downstate colleagues to upstate for roundtabl...

Weathering the Storm

Weathering the Storm By Debbie Briggs Ellenville Regional Hospital In mid-March, NYSARH member Ellenville Regional Hospital joined forces with the Ulster County Department of Health and Mental Health to offer drive-through COVID-19 testing on our campus. The County erected two sturdy tents in our driveway. The first tent was utilized for registration – patients would drive into the tent and show us their identification and insurance information, all while keeping their windows closed. We would then attach a test kit to their windshield, and they would drive into the second tent, where the actual testing took place. This process worked great, until an early spring snowstorm collapsed tent #1! The tent was replaced, and testing continued. We then decided to triage all ED patients who were ex...

Responding to the Need

Responding to the Need By Steve Waterson The Resource Center (TRC) NYSARH Member, The Resource Center (TRC) has been producing reusable personal protective equipment to meet the needs of health care providers and other businesses. Since April, workers have been sewing gowns and cloth masks at TRC’s Jamestown manufacturing facility.  Upon learning of the shortages of personal protective equipment being experienced across the country and particularly in New York State, The Resource Center adjusted its sewing operations to be able to produce reusable PPE. “As the need for PPE across the nation has grown, we began to expand our sewing operation to try and help meet those needs,” said Todd Frangione, Director of Business Operations.  “We are currently supplying the Department of Defense with mi...

Measuring well-being in rural communities

Measuring well-being in rural communities Emma Nalin, Project Coordinator Rural Health Network, South Central New York At a recent meeting of the Advisory Committee for Rural Health Network of SCNY’s Social Determinants Measurement Project, we discussed measuring health, well-being, and viability at the community level. What does a rural community need to thrive? What specific indicators can we measure? How useful are existing frameworks in a rural context? These questions feel particularly important as rural communities work to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic. To get started, here are three examples of measuring community well-being from the fields of economic development, disaster relief, and community nonprofits. The WealthWorks framework sorts community resources into eight types of...

Hard Times for Rural EMS

Hard Times for Rural EMS By Melissa Brook, Gouverneur, NY Rescue Squad; Mark Deavers, Gouverneur, NY Rescue Squad; and Ann Smith; NYSARH Member; North Country EMS Agency/Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization; and Lisbon, NY Rescue Squad As the fear of COVID-19 began to race across the country, rural emergency medical services (EMS) braced themselves for a different war, and today, it is now a fight to survive. A lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), skyrocketing operational costs, workforce shortages, and plummeting revenue leave the future of rural EMS on life support. For decades, rural EMS has been overlooked by governments and insurance companies through low reimbursement rates, which are often below the cost of doing business. When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, this ...

Measuring impact during COVID-19

Measuring impact during COVID-19 Emma Nalin, Project Coordinator Rural Health Network, South Central New York April 28, 2020 Like many rural community organizations, Rural Health Network of SCNY has rapidly assessed and adapted our services to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. While providing direct service to rural clients in need is our most urgent priority, it is also important to keep measurement in mind at all stages of the planning and implementation process. When the pandemic ends, the data we collect now will be critical in describing our response and building resilience against future crises. Listed below are some examples of RHN’s direct service during the pandemic, along with the plan for measurement: Delivery of food, medication, and other essential goods Measuring the amount a...

Dr. Richard Terry receives Rural Health Service Award

Dr.  Richard Terry currently serves as the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM at Elmira) and Chief Academic Officer at Lake Erie Consortium for Osteopathic Medicine Training (LECOMT).   This award recognizes Dr. Terry’s long and distinguished commitment to medical education, highlighted by his recent tireless efforts to expand LECOM programs to fill a critical need for physicians for underserved rural populations in the Southern Tier of New York.  Dr. Terry previously served as the Designated Institutional Official at Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, which hosts nine ACGME accredited programs and supports 126 residents and fellows.  Previously, he served as the Assistant Dean of Regional Clinical Education at LECOM where he built...