Rural Health Network of South Central NY celebrates national health day

The Rural Health Network of South Central New York will join the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) and other state and national rural stakeholders in celebrating National Rural Health Day on Thursday, November 18, 2021.

In this 11th Anniversary year for National Rural Health Day, Rural Health Network of SCNY is announcing their second annual Rural Health Awards: Rural Health Practitioner, Leader, Partner and Champion.

2021 Rural Health Practitioner: Rachel Mischler, RD, CDN, is an outpatient dietitian with Lourdes Hospital. Rachel has been a champion for RHN’s Fruit & Vegetable Prescription (FVRx) Program since it was first piloted in 2017. Since then, Rachel has worked closely with Erin Summerlee, Food and Health Network Director, and numerous community partners to both offer the FVRx program to her patients and help support the program’s growth and expansion. In addition to the FVRx program, Rachel has also been instrumental in helping to connect patients to a variety of other local food resources, including the VINES Farm Share program. Rachel is truly an advocate for addressing the barriers that individuals encounter when trying to meet their nutrition goals and improve their overall health, and is always willing to try new approaches in order to support her patients and the community.

Ms. Mischler said “Working with the Fruit and Vegetable Rx program has been one of the most meaningful experiences in my career. Witnessing the dedication of the Rural Health Network of SCNY to increase access to healthful foods among all gives me great hope that we will come out of these challenging times. I am so honored to receive this recognition and thank you for allowing me to be a part of this remarkable program for our community.”

2021 Rural Health Leader: Lenore Boris, PhD, JD, RN is the immediate past President of the Rural Health Network of SCNY, Inc. Board of Directors. She served two terms as President providing leadership through an unprecedented time of growth for the agency. Dr. Boris is also a strategic advisor to Care Compass Network, having been involved at the formative stages of the region’s work to address Medicaid Redesign. She serves as Chair of Care Compass Network’s Partner Advisory Council/Executive Council and Workforce Committee. She has continued her involvement despite a recent career change.

In September, Dr. Boris was named Dean of St. Joseph’s College of Nursing where she oversees the daily operations of the College, faculty development, curriculum design and research, and clinical services.

Dr. Boris spent more than 15 years as an associate dean at the Binghamton Campus of SUNY Update Medical University’s College of Medicine. Her responsibilities included oversight of daily operations and managing the budget. She also played an active role in the school’s community relations including supervising a free clinic that provided primary health care to uninsured adults at no cost to the patient. Dr. Boris began her nursing career as a nurse in the U.S. Air Force. She served as a clinical nurse on active duty and later as a flight nurse and eventually administrator of a clinic. In 2007, Dr. Boris retired as a colonel after 28 years of service. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from California State University in Hayward, her master’s degree in nursing from Syracuse University, and PhD in nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dr. Boris also holds a law degree from University of Wisconsin.

Dr. Boris said “Thank you for the honor of being recognized as a Rural Health Leader. Unfortunately, too often in conversations about health care access, quality, cost and other factors we overlook the needs of the rural population. The work of Rural Health Network is critical as an agency dedicated to ensuring the health of rural New Yorkers and as the voice for our rural neighbors. The Network has a very dedicated staff and it was my professional pleasure to work with them and facilitate their activities on behalf of people living/working in rural areas in our region.”

2021 Rural Health Partner: Gerould’s Health Care Center. As part of Care Compass Network’s Cohort Management Program, Rural Health Network’s Community Health Workers had the privilege of working with Geroulds Healthcare Center on two projects both focused on chronic disease management. Pamela Guth, Director of Community Health Services said that “in my view, one of Geroulds’ many strengths is their innovative, integrated, and inclusive approach to clinical and community based partnerships designed to provide holistic wrap-around services to their clients in order to improve individual and population health outcomes.” “Cheryl Henninger and her team of respiratory therapists know how to communicate effectively with collaborative care team members and patients. Their patient engagement skills from virtual care within a new TAP cloud application to in person during home visits and chronic disease self-management workshops is compassionate, respectful and meaningful.”

Cheryl Henninger, RRT CEAC is the Cliniucal Director of Geroulds Healthcare Center and Community Cares Health Solutions. Cheryl said “Thank you very much for the recognition! We are honored to work with you and your team to support our communities! We truly value our partnership as we are stronger together.”

2021 Rural Health Champion: Whitney Point Central School District. For many years, Rural Health Network’s primary office was based in Whitney Point where we developed relationships with others who provide services in Northern Broome County. We have long admired Whitney Point Central School District’s commitment to meeting the needs of their students both in and out of the classroom. Former Superintendent Pat Follette served on the Advisory Boards for our Rural Broome Counts project and our Northern Broome CARES program serving seniors 60+. For their integrated, community schools model and emphasis on trauma informed care, we recognize Whitney Point Central Schools as a Rural Health Champion.

In accepting the award, Jo-Ann Sexton, Superintendent said “We are honored to be recognized. Working to build partnerships to support the health and well-being of the people in our district’s rural communities is a foundational philosophical priority and commitment in our district.”

About Rural Health Network and The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health:

Rural Health Network of SCNY, Inc. was established in 1998 to advance the health and well-being of rural people and communities. The Network’s expertise in rural issues, access to health services, chronic disease management, and programs addressing transportation barriers, food security, and aging, are widely recognized in the region.

The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) was established in 1995 to assist State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) in their efforts to improve access to, and the quality of, health care for 57 million rural Americans. They are dedicated to collaboration, education, communication and innovation to improve health in small towns around the country.