NYSARH Newsletter

Spring 2024

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

NYSARH Receives $150,000 Grant to Empower Rural Health

New York State Association for Rural Health (NYSARH) was awarded a grant of $150,000 by the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York. This generous grant is a significant step forward in our ongoing mission to enhance the health and well-being of rural communities across the state.

NYSARH has long been recognized as the leading advocate for rural health in New York State. Our organization, established in 2001, has continually grown in membership and influence over the years. With 105 organizational members and 31 rural health networks statewide, we collaborate with various stakeholders to address the unique challenges faced by rural populations.

Rural communities often grapple with significant health disparities stemming from structural issues such as limited access to healthcare providers, high poverty rates, food insecurity, and inadequate infrastructure. NYSARH is committed to advocating for change on these fronts while also highlighting the strengths and resilience of rural areas.

This grant comes at a pivotal moment for NYSARH as we embark on a new strategic plan. With plans to hire an executive director in 2024 and launch a fundraising campaign, we are poised to amplify our efforts and extend our reach to even more communities in need.

PHPC Save the date

                                                                                   Reminder to Register!

The Public Health Partnership Conference will be held in-person in 2024. The event will be held in Saratoga Springs, NY May 1-3, 2024. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to network with colleagues from across the state and participate in general plenary sessions presenting a wide array of public health knowledge and insights from local county health department directors to community-based organizations. Attendees will have the choice of several breakout sessions to choose from, visit exhibitor booths, attend wellness events and view poster presentations.

Please join the NYS Association for Rural Health for a buffet dinner with cash bar at the Saratoga Springs Holiday Inn 232 Broadway, a 15 minute walk from the conference location. All are welcome.

Pre-Conference: Learning Institute: Wed May 1st 12:30- 4:30

Social Determinants of Health Across the Lifespan: Strategies to Address the Impacts of Poverty

View Agenda

PHPC Photo Contest

Call for Submissions: Climate Health is Public Health: Submit your photos for a chance to win a prize!

The NYSPHA Climate Committee invites NYS Public Health Partners from NYSPHA, NYSACHO, and NYSARH to join in the fun. Show us how you care about climate, the environment, and a healthy you.

Email a photo of yourself participating in an activity related to environmental health at nysphaclimate@gmail.com or tag them in a post on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram with the hashtag #climatechangeshealth. The photo could be from an event, a volunteer experience, a project you worked on, or just a photo of yourself enjoying a local outdoor space that you believe makes your community a healthier place. Let’s join together to raise awareness that climate health IS public health!

Everyone who submits a photo to us either via email at nysphaclimate@gmail.com or by uploading a photo to LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram using the hashtag #climatechangeshealth will be entered to win a special prize during our upcoming annual conference taking place May 1-3 in Saratoga Springs, NY. We will “spin the wheel” to select our winner and make our announcement.

You don’t have to be present to win

PHPC CAPTAIN Donation Items

Help Us Help Them

Each year, we like to support a local charitable organization in the host city of our conference. This year, we will be supporting CAPTAIN Community Human Services based in Saratoga Springs. CAPTAIN provides a range of services to support and empower all ages including feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and keeping kids safe from sex trafficking. 

 You can help us help them in two ways. We will have a raffle at our conference with some prizes donated by organizations (if you would like to donate a raffle prize, please contact us) and all money raised will go directly to CAPTAIN.

We are also collecting personal care items that they most need. Please consider bringing any of the following items to our conference and we will have a collection box near registration where you can place them. The items most needed are: Soap, Shampoo, Deodorant, Toothpaste, Toothbrushes, Hand soap, Lotion, Feminine Hygiene Products, Toilet Paper, Diapers, Baby wipes, Household cleaners, Detergent, Band-Aids, Combs & Brushes, Hair ties, Chap-stick, Razors and Shaving cream.

Thank you for helping us to help our neighbors!

NYSARH Interactive Map of Members

Project AFAR

  1. Analysis of Diversity Dashboard data: Glean insights from the NYSARH Diversity Dashboard about under-represented communities, areas of need and of opportunity. Output: Chartbook, webinar (free to NYSARH members, for purchase by non-members). Data/chartbook is an input for phases 2 and 3. 

Evaluation: We will track engagement with the chartbook and webinar. 

  1. Membership Markets, Recruitment and Retention Strategy: Understand our member and stakeholder markets. 

Output: Market report and 5-year member development plan including actions and targets. 

Evaluation: We will monitor our progress in meeting recruitment and retention benchmarks and targets from the membership development plan and report annually to the NYSARH board. 

  1. Community Engagement Pilot Project: Engage with one community that is currently under-represented at NYSARH. 

Outputs: (a) Structured Interview Matrix (SIM) reports: full report, executive summary to NYSARH including recommended actions and opportunities to support the community; community report summarizing the consultation outcomes and NYSARH’s plan for action; webinars. (b) NYSARH Community Engagement Framework: A guide for implementing the program in other communities, incorporating learnings from the pilot study. (c) Additional academic outputs (journal publication, conference presentations) may be pursued. 

Evaluation: (a) SIM evaluation – Pre- and post-SIM surveys (b) Action Implementation (c) Member Impact. 

Cancer Screening Resources Available for Use

Cancer screening is known to be much lower in rural geographies which leads to more advanced cancer upon diagnosis and for many reasons, worse outcomes. Genentech has digital cancer screening resources available to your organization or community to assist in increasing awareness around the importance of screening. Take a look at the attached document for more information on available resources. You can access some of the resources at www.cancerscreenweek.org/resources. Be sure to click on “Additional Screening Resources” as well. 

Here are some ideas for when you may want to highlight these resources in newsletters, at events, etc. 

  • The week of Mother’s Day – May 12th, 2024
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month – October 
  • Lung Cancer Awareness Month – November 
  • Cancer Screen Week – December 4-8, 2024

If you’d like to discuss further or have any questions, please contact Alex Gilroy at gilroy.alexandra@gene.com

Rural Resources Fair

Pictured: Senator Rachel May, Senator Michelle Hinchey, Corey Moser: Executive Director of the Commission for Rural Resources, Brian Murray: USDA State Director

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Senator Rachel May (D-48th District) and for the opportunity to exhibit at the Rural Resources Fair on March 27, 2024. Their dedication to supporting rural communities is commendable, and we are honored to have been a part of this important event. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to providing valuable resources and opportunities to those in need.

AHRQ Training

Age-Friendly Allegany County Coalition

Age-Friendly Allegany County is a community-driven initiative situated in Allegany County, New York,

dedicated to fostering inclusive environments that are welcoming and livable to individuals of all ages, aiming to transform Allegany County into a good place to live, work, worship, and play. This initiative is overseen by Ardent Solutions and the Allegany County Office for the Aging.

In 2020, the Allegany County Board of Legislators approved a resolution, marking the initial stride towards Allegany County’s journey to becoming an Age-Friendly Community under the auspices of AARP. Extensive data collection and community engagement culminated in the development and endorsement of the Age-Friendly Action Plan in 2022, serving as a guiding framework for Allegany County in its Age-Friendly progression.

The Age-Friendly Action Plan encompasses all eight domains crucial for Age-Friendly communities, encompassing Housing, Transportation, Outdoor spaces and buildings, Community support and health services, Communication, and information, Social participation, Respect and social inclusion, and Civil participation and employment. The detailed plan is accessible at Allegany County Age-Friendly Action Plan.

Presently, the Age-Friendly Allegany County Coalition is actively engaged in the following projects focused on advancing Age-Friendly initiatives. 

Age-Friendly Universities: Collaborating with Alfred Universities’ School of Psychology and Gero

ntology, students enroll in a course committed to promoting positive and healthy aging and enhancing the lives of older members of the Alfred, NY community through innovative educational programs, research agendas, curriculum development, online education, health and wellness activities, arts and culture programs and civic engagement opportunities. The curriculum offers students an overview of AARP’s Age-Friendly domains, the Age-Friendly University Global Network’s 10 AFU principles and requires students to implement Human Centered Design in creating on-campus opportunities for olde

r adults. Additionally, students complete the age-friendly environmental scan and administer the social climate survey, analyze the results, and seek administrative endorsement. Age-Friendly Universities is supported by the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York. The Fall 2023-24 semester culminated in a student-led “Computers and Cookies” workshop engaging 24 older adults in technology education and an intergenerational team-based trivia game using the online platform Kahoots.

Emergency Preparedness: Fifty (50) older adults from Allegany County participated in an emergency preparedness educational workshop, where they developed emergency preparedness plans and received emergency preparedness kits. This initiative was made possible through a grant from the Dr. Lyle F. Renodin Foundation. 

Uniper Cares: The Uniper Cares and Thriving in Place Technology Loaner and Digital Literacy Program, by Ardent Solutions’ aims to combat isolation and depression among older adults by leveraging technology. Year 1 of this initiative provides seventy-five (75) older adults with access to the Uniper Cares virtual platform. Through this platform, home-bound older adults can engage in a wide range of live activities, join vibrant communities, attend mental and physical fitness classes, partake in recreational and social activities, have HIPAA-compliant physician visits, receive visits from friendly volunteers, and more. These services are easily accessible via TV, tablet, mobile phone, or web browser. Older adults lacking technology equipment can benefit from Ardent Solutions’ technology loaner program and can receive in-home digital literacy training. Additionally, all participants undergo screening for depression and social isolation and are subsequently enrolled in Ardent Solutions’ Healthy Ideas Program. Uniper Cares is supported by the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. 

Save the Date!

Call for Speakers for Rural Health Symposium

Deadline April 30th 2024

The New York State Association for Rural Health is accepting proposals for presentations for the 2024 Rural Health Symposium. Please consider submitting an application to share your expertise or best-practice model with 100 to 150 anticipated participants on either Thursday, September 19th or Friday, September 20th, at the Holiday Inn in Binghamton, New York.

The NYSARH Rural Health Symposium is a unique opportunity that attracts professionals from all across New York State representing areas of academia, politics, aging services, behavioral health services, the private and non-profit sector, and the health care industry. The NYSARH Rural Health Symposium has established itself as an important forum for rural leaders to gather and discuss key issues impacting the delivery of health and social care across upstate New York.

NYSARH is pleased to announce that the 2024 Symposium is co-hosted by the O’Connor Office of Rural Health, Decker School of Nursing and Health Sciences, SUNY Binghamton.

Keynote Speakers Alana Knudsen, Director of the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis and Brian Justice, Medical Director at Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield

Presentation Submission Guidelines:

The symposium strives to provide practical and meaningful information on current trends that influence the ability of communities to provide and/or access quality and affordable health care to rural New Yorkers. Presentation by individuals or teams will be considered in each of the session tracts. Presentations should be engaging and provide for Q&A. Content should be innovative, informative and promote discussion and networking.

Presentations should reflect the themes selected by the planning team and specifically address rural circumstances.

We anticipate two break-out session periods, one Thursday afternoon and the other Friday morning, each with three concurrent sessions. Sessions will be about one hour and may include more than one submitted topic if the planning team identifies proposals that may be combined.

A Prescription for Rural Healthcare: Bolstering Residency Programs in New York

by Elana Sitnik

Across New York State, rural communities face a critical shortage of primary care physicians, hindering access to essential healthcare. Although New York State trains more medical residents than any other state, there are very few residency programs located in rural communities. A 2019 report by the Primary Care Development Corporation highlights the dwindling number of primary care physicians in rural communities, leaving rural New Yorkers with longer wait times for medical appointments and limited access to life-prolonging and cost-saving preventative care. (1,2)

The solution lies not only in attracting doctors to these areas but also in developing a sustainable source of future physicians who understand the unique needs of these underserved rural communities. Smaller residency programs, which are often located in rural communities struggling with primary care access, can play a vital role in improving access to healthcare in rural communities. Research shows that doctors who train in programs serving rural populations are far more likely to choose to practice in those areas after residency. 

Dr. Caleb Atkins is one of only two second-year family medicine residents at Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown, NY. A native of Jefferson County, Dr. Atkins grew up just 20 miles away in the small town of Carthage, NY. His interest in practicing rural family medicine stems from witnessing his parents’ poor health outcomes due to limited healthcare access during his upbringing. Dr. Atkins appreciates his training environment, stating, “Training in the Family Medicine Residency at Samaritan Medical Center provides me with unfettered access to a wide variety of diseases in a close-knit residency setting.” He describes his medical training as indispensable. However, he expresses concern about the future of programs like his, noting, “The program’s inability to secure more federal funding for expansion is worrisome.” He emphasizes, “Without additional doctors being trained in my area, healthcare outcomes will continue to suffer.”

Upcoming Webinars

Funding Opportunities

Adirondack Foundation Special and Urgent Needs Fund

Grants for nonprofit organizations, municipalities, and schools in Adirondack communities. Grants have been made in the areas of food access, child care, low wage workers, elderly individuals, and disparities, among others.

Applications accepted on an ongoing basis

American Connection Corps

A 1-year fellowship program that trains and mobilizes leaders to work in rural and emerging communities to coordinate broadband development and digital inclusion.

Applications accepted on an ongoing basis

Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation Small Grants Program

Funding for nonprofit organizations in the Weinberg Foundation service area that are working in the areas of health, housing, jobs, and education.

Applications accepted on an ongoing basis

New York AHEC Scholars Program

A multidisciplinary certificate program for health professions students in New York that offers opportunities for hands-on training, experience in rural and underserved communities, and networking with other students and professionals

Applications accepted on an ongoing basis

Help Membership Committee Reach Their Social Media Goals and Follow Us !


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


Organization-based Members

  • A2 Associates
  • Adirondack Health Institute
  • Alliance of New York State YMCAs
  • Ardent Solutions
  • Bassett Hospital
  • Care Compass Network
  • Catskill Hudson Area Health Education Center
  • Cayuga County Community Health Network, Inc.
  • Chautauqua County Health Network
  • Chenango Health Network
  • Coalition of New York State Alzheimer’s Association Chapters
  • Common Ground Health
  • Community Foundation for South Central NY
  • Dependable Medical Transport
  • Finger Lakes IPA, Inc
  • Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization
  • Foundation for Community Health
  • Genentech, Inc.
  • Genesee County Health Department
  • Genesee Valley Health Partnership
  • Greene County Rural Health Network, Inc.
  • Healthy Community Alliance, Inc.
  • Human Services Coalition of Tompkins County
  • HWNY
  • Inclusive Alliance IPA Inc
  • Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital
  • Ithaca College
  • Jones Memorial Hospital
  • Lake Plains Community Care Network
  • Le Moyne College Department of Physician Assistant Studies
  • Madison County Rural Health Council Inc
  • Mosaic Health
  • North Country Healthy Heart Network
  • North Country Prenatal Perinatal Council, Inc.
  • Northern AHEC
  • NYS Academy of Family Physicians
  • Oswego County Opportunities
  • Pivital Public Health Partnership
  • Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York
  • Planned Parenthood of the NCNY
  • Resource Center
  • Rural Health Network of SCNY
  • Seven Valleys Health Coalition
  • Southern Tier Health Care System, Inc.
  • St. Lawrence County Health Initiative, Inc.
  • Sun River Health
  • SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Nursing
  • The Chautauqua Center
  • The Compliance Team, Inc.
  • The Healthcare Consortium
  • Tioga County Public Health
  • Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood
  • UVMHN-Alice Hyde Medical Center
  • Wayne County Rural Health Network
  • Westchester-Ellenville Hospital Inc.
  • Western New York Rural Area Health Education Center, Inc.
  • Wyoming County Community Health System

Individual Members

    • Ali Coates
    • April Miles
    • Bea Haces
    • Carol Roeder
    • Daniel Endress
    • David Yens
    • Dierdra Sorrell
    • Douglas Wildermuth
    • Elizabeth (Liz) Urbanski-Farrell MBA, MS
    • James Skiff
    • Janice Shirley
    • Janiya Donson
    • Joan Carl
    • Karin Pantel
    • Kimberly Bank
    • Kylie Sands
    • Lenn Johns
    • Mandy Qualls
    • Marcia Earle
    • Marela Fiacco
    • Mary Carney
    • Matt Cappell
    • Mitchell Brooks
    • Nancy McGraw
    • Nicole Rouhana
    • Paul Fahey
    • Pauline Hoffmann
    • Rajiv Pant
    • Richard Terry
    • Sara Bollinger
    • Sarah Merritt
    • Steven Kroll
    • Tony Trahan

Student Members

    • Abigail Mosenthin
    • Amanda Fries
    • Daniel Baker
    • Elisabeth Parker
    • Jorge Clifton
    • Kyle Sasso
    • Lovina John
    • Natalie Toro

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.