NYSARH Newsletter

Fall 2021

Working to preserve and improve health and human services in rural New York State.

2021 Rural Health Symposium Recap

NYSARH’s Inaugural Single Day Webinar Event was a Smash Hit! 

The 2021 Rural Health Symposium took place on September 27th and was successful in terms of attendee registration and event sponsors. The content quality provided to attendees was consistently high quality and beneficial to attendees.

Intern Spotlight: Thank You to our 2021 Summer Interns!

Emily Hazen Explores the Complexities of Rural EMS

NYSARH is pleased to thank Emily Hazen for her contributions to rural health as an Upstate Institute Fellow. Emily is a senior at Colgate University studying molecular biology and religion. She is also a pre-medicine student and plans to pursue a career in primary care sports medicine. 

Emily’s primary area of research as an intern with NYSARH was rural EMS. Her research included numerous interviews with professionals involved in the provision of EMS, culminating in a policy paper entitled “Who Will Answer Their Call? How New York State can Preserve Rural Access to EMS”. Emily states that “after speaking with so many passionate EMS professionals this summer, [she] was inspired to look into receiving an EMT certification” and hopes to complete this sometime during her senior year. 

Reflecting on her NYSARH internship, Emily shares that it was “absolutely wonderful and such an amazing learning experience.” She found that it built her “confidence to someday take a place in” the healthcare field. We wish the best of luck to Emily as she completes her final year at Colgate University. 



Elana Sitnik

NYSARH also extends our sincere gratitude to Elana Sitnik. Elana joined NYSARH as a summer intern, leading research on data sources related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Elana has an impressive background in public health and medicine, graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2016 with a degree in Public Health.   

“She was an autonomous and passionate collaborator who took the lead on the investigation and worked with a Syracuse University undergraduate student as a mentor throughout the process.” -Carrie A. Roseamelia, Ph.D.


The NYSARH Membership Committee is seeking other students who would like to get involved with rural health.  If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Mandy Qualls at mqualls@cnyahec.org.

NYS Public Health Employment Opportunity

Position Openings: NYS Public Health Corps Implementation Team

Dear Public Health Partners:

Please see the job postings for eight Regional Fellowship Placement Coordinators. These positions are a part of the program implementation team for the New York State Public Health Corps Fellowship Program, and we would appreciate your support with promoting this recruitment by sharing this job announcement broadly within your network. Help us identify stellar local candidates! 

The New York State Public Health Corps (NYSPHC) Fellowship Program will enhance public health infrastructure to support ongoing COVID-19 response operations, increase preparedness for future public health emergencies and provide additional capacity for local public health work.

We are very excited about this opportunity for your community to build the public health infrastructure and to strengthen the public health workforce. If you have any questions, please contact us at NYSPublicHealthCorps@health.ny.gov.


Support for this newsletter was provided by the Sullivan County Rural Health Network

Phone: 845.292.5910  ❘  Website: http://www.sullivanrhn.com/


NYSARH Member Successes: The Greene County Rural Health Network’s Greene Walks Contest

Toni T. Carroll

Network Director, Greene County Rural Health Network

Above: Jacqueline Whitbeck (left) Jennifer Grounds (rights) enjoying their nightly walk.

The Greene County Rural Health Network kicked off its Annual Greene Walks Contest this September with over 500 registered participants! Greene Walks is an 8-week walking program that runs from September 5th through October 30th and is open to all Greene County residents over the age of 18.  Walkers are able to register to Walk Only and log their daily minutes of walking, or to Walk & More where, in addition to walking, they will complete weekly health challenges. All participants receive weekly supportive emails with healthy tips and walking information. Each week (Walk & More) cash prizes are randomly awarded for the completion of healthy challenges and grand prizes are awarded upon completion of the program.  Greene Walkers are given the opportunity to connect through social media to find a walking buddy, learn about new trails or walking locations, or to just share experiences and successes. This is the seventh year the GCRHN has funded the program, and each year it has grown.  Network Director, Toni Carroll, says of the program, “Greene Walks takes place during a picturesque time of year in upstate NY.  Participants appreciate the opportunity to literally take steps towards better health while at the same time, enjoy beautiful fall scenery.”  

Above: Barbara Auger enjoying her Greene Walks hike

Congratulations to the Newly Elected Members to NYSARH’s Board of Directors!

Tammy L. Austin-Ketch, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP

Dean and Professor, State University of New York Upstate Medical University College of Nursing

As Dean and Professor at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University College of Nursing, Tammy Austin-Ketch’s background includes a distinguished history of volunteer experience, research, scholarship, and service. She has served in many roles in academia, from program faculty through leadership at the level of Dean. As a nurse practitioner for more than 25 years, Austin-Ketch has spent the majority of her clinical practice career working with vulnerable and underserved primary care populations, including her current clinical practice within a Native American clinic and health center devoted solely to caring for people with developmental disabilities. Austin-Ketch’s research has focused on the unmet needs of cancer survivors and the use of telehealth to reach patients who otherwise may not have access to healthcare.


Shari Weiss, PhD, MA

Executive Director, Cayuga Community Health Network

Shari Weiss is the current Executive Director of Cayuga Community Health Network with almost two decades of public and behavioral health experience. She has a Ph.D. in Public Health and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. Her background includes working in the field of Substance Use treatment, HIV Prevention and Housing. Shari is also a college professor, an educator, a public speaker, an actor, and a peer reviewer for the National Journal of American Medicine. Recently she was accepted into Cohort 10 of the Health Leadership Fellows.


Janice Shirley, MPH, MBA, PA-C, DFAAPA

Janice Shirley is Assistant Professor, Physician Assistant Program at Rochester Institute of Technology and an experienced Clinical Research Senior Executive, Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant and Sub-Investigator. Additionally, she is a budding Health Researcher with broad expertise in Clinical Medicine and the methodological and regulatory aspects of clinical trials.


Karin Pantel, EdD RN CNE

Karin Pantel is a retired Registered Nurse of 54 years. Pantel was also an Academic Nurse Educator of Public and Community Health at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Within her community, Pantel co-created OATS (Older Adult Transitional Support) designed to promote health care literacy and behaviors to increase the positive healthcare outcomes for older adults.

National Rural Health Day

We invite you to join NYSARH on November 18th, 2021 for National Rural Health Day. 

Award Recipients

Dr. Gary Ogden Rural Health Practitioner of the Year Award:


Dr. Collins Kellogg has been selected as the winner of the 2021 Dr. Gary Ogden Rural Health Practitioner of the Year award. Dr. Kellogg has been recognized with this award for his dedication to improving the rural healthcare delivery system across Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties. Furthermore, Dr. Kellogg has gone to great lengths throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure his patients maintained their care, via telephonic and videoconference visits that suit the rural community.


Senator McGee Rural Health Award:


John (Jack) Salo has been selected as the winner of the 2021 Senator McGee Rural Health Award. Mr. Salo has been recognized with this award for devoting his career to the needs of rural communities and for his vision to recognize and advocate for the multiplicities of rural life situations that impact health. As a pioneer in rural health innovations, Salo has impacted not only the health status of rural communities, but the economic viability of rural communities. A standout example of Salo’s innovative nature was his recognition that rural advocacy is best achieved with partnerships, and thus his subsequent development of personal and organizational relationships that facilitated a collective focus on improving health, food security, transportation, and local economies across the Rural Health Network’s service area. Salo’s work on behalf of rural populations will continue to be felt in the region served by Rural Health Network and New York State into the future.


Outstanding Rural Health Program Award:


The Mobile Crisis Assessment Team (MCAT) has been selected as the winner of the 2021 Outstanding Rural Health Program Award. MCAT has been recognized with this award for its impressive success record at addressing the social and geographical isolation of rural residents by bringing desperately needed behavioral health services directly to their homes, schools and places of work. MCAT’s use of small, nimble, mobile teams providing in-person and telephonic crisis services to residents in Columbia and Greene Counties has allowed them to reach such achievements, as well as meet their primary program goals of avoiding hospitalization (Emergency Department or Inpatient), minimizing police intervention, and linking crisis callers to long-term service providers in the community.


Join us for the virtual awards ceremony – November 18th @ 12p.m.

Upcoming Webinar

1pm on Thursday, Nov 18, 2021
Accessible Rural Health Research for Diverse Audiences

Per Ostmo, BA
Director, Rural Health Research Gateway

Funding Opportunities

Health Services Research on Minority Health and Health Disparities (R01 Clinical Trial Optional) Due: Nov. 17th, 2021

This program provides grants to encourage innovative exploratory and developmental health services research to improve minority health and/or reduce health disparities at the healthcare system-level, as well as within clinical settings.

A detailed list of specific areas of research interest is provided in the application instructions.

Rural Health Network Development Planning Funding Opportunity Due: Nov. 17th, 2021

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) has announced a funding opportunity that supports the planning and development of integrated health care networks seeking to expand access and improve quality of care in rural communities. HRSA plans to award 20 grants to rural communities as part of this funding opportunity.

Review the funding opportunity to learn more about eligibility & apply:

Innovation Award: COVID-19 and Health Equity (U01) Clinical Trials Optional Due: Nov. 29th, 2021

This program will provide funding for innovative projects that will strengthen and advance COVID-19 health equity research. Areas of interest include:

  • Proposals that focus on advancing racial and ethnic minority participation in COVID-19/COVID-19 variant clinical trials and/or contribute to informing the continued evaluation of the safety and efficacy of FDA approved products (therapeutics, diagnostics, and vaccines) or products subject to EUAs/EUA expansion for the treatment, prevention, or diagnosis of COVID-19. 
  • Proposals that support the evaluation of outcomes by demographic data including, but not limited to, ethnicity, race, age, disability, and geography.
  • Proposals that support COVID-19 research to understand diverse patient perspectives, preferences, and unmet needs

RADx-UP Rapid Research Pilot Program Due: Dec. 10th, 2021

The RADx-UP Rapid Research Pilot Program (RP2) initiative supports small, manageable projects focused on the use of emerging COVID-19 testing technologies for populations who are medically underserved and at increased risk. RP2 fulfills a critical need by providing an expedited mechanism for supporting research into novel or emerging technologies.

Rural Veterans Health Access Program Due: Dec. 10th, 2021

The purpose of this program is to provide funding to states to work with providers and other partners to improve access to needed health care services and to improve the coordination of care for veterans living in rural areas. Award recipients can implement a variety of strategies to improve the capacity of critical access hospitals (CAHs) and other rural health care organizations to provide services that meet the needs of veterans living in rural areas. Award recipients can also assist providers in making connections to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system to coordinate care for rural veterans using community health care providers as well as the VA system.

Rural Residency Planning and Development Program Due: Dec. 20th, 2021

The purpose of this grant program is to improve health care in rural areas by supporting the development of new, accredited, and sustainable rural residency programs in family medicine, internal medicine, preventive medicine1, psychiatry, general surgery, and obstetrics and gynecology, to address the physician workforce shortages and challenges faced by rural communities. This program provides start-up funding to RRPD award recipients to create new rural residency programs that will ultimately be sustainable long-term through viable and stable funding mechanisms, such as, Medicare, Medicaid, and other public or private funding sources.

Family-to-Family Health Information Centers Due: Jan. 5th, 2022

This notice announces the opportunity to apply for funding under the Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (F2F HICs) Program. The purpose of this program is to provide information, education, technical assistance, and peer support to families of children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) and the professionals who serve them. This program will fund one F2F HIC in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, 5 U.S. Territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands); and up to 3 F2F HICs to serve American Indians/Alaska Natives.

Rural Health Care Telecommunications (Telecom) Program Due: April 1st, 2022

The Telecommunications (Telecom) Program is a component program of the FCC’s Rural Health Care Program. It provides funding to eligible healthcare providers for eligible expenses related to telecommunications services necessary for the provision of healthcare.

Rural Health Care Program – Healthcare Connect Fund Due: April 1st, 2022

The Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program is a component program of the FCC’s Rural Health Care Program. It provides funding to eligible healthcare providers for eligible expenses related to advanced telecommunications and information services necessary for the provision of healthcare. An eligible healthcare provider can apply individually or through a consortium. Examples of eligible products and services include broadband services, network equipment, and HCP-constructed and owned network facilities.

USDA Community Facilities Guaranteed Loan Program Due: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis

The Community Facilities Guaranteed Loan Program guarantees loans from eligible private lenders to help build essential community facilities in rural areas. Funds can be used to purchase, construct, and/or improve essential community facilities, purchase equipment, and pay related project expenses.

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COVID-19 Testing for Rural Communities

Rural communities have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and access to convenient, reliable testing is an ongoing challenge. Pixel by Labcorp’s FDA Emergency Use Authorization self-collection kits for ages 2+ can help


We would like to thank each member who works diligently to make NYSARH the state’s strongest proponent for rural healthcare.


Individual Members

  • Ann Abdella
  • Diane Albrecht
  • Angela Bashaw
  • Amy Carman
  • Leanna Cleveland
  • Alison Coates
  • Anthony D’Agostino
  • LJ Dimanche
  • William Doyle
  • Elizabeth Urbanski Farrell
  • Danielle Gagne
  • Lisa Gugerty
  • Beth Harrington
  • Richard Kazel
  • Andrew Majka
  • Rajiv Pant
  • Karin Pantel
  • Karen Roach
  • Carrie Roseamelia
  • Susan Salahshor
  • Jennifer Seymour
  • Jitendra Singh
  • James Skiff
  • Helen Stepowany
  • Kristen Stiegler
  • Christine Veschusio
  • Julie Vieth
  • Sara Wall Bollinger
  • Sherry Wyckoff
  • David Yens
  • Steven Kroll
  • Kenneth Morris

Student Members

  • Grace Gugerty
  • Cara Kowalski
  • Janice Shirley
  • Matthew  Cheevers

Become a Member

We invite you to join us through advocacy and by advancing initiatives that support a commitment to improving healthcare quality and access.