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AHI Announces 2018 Rural Health Champions

In recognition of National Rural Health Day, November 15, Adirondack Health Institute (AHI) is pleased to announce four individuals have been recognized as 2018 Rural Health Champions. The annual recognition is a collaborative effort of four of the North Country’s Rural Health Networks, including the Adirondack Rural Health Network (ARHN), a program of AHI supported with funds from the NYS Department of Health Charles D. Cook Office of Rural Health. Each year since 2015, the Rural Health Networks in Northern New York ask their network partners to nominate individuals who exemplify the selfless, community-minded, can-do spirit that prevails in rural America.

2018 Rural Health Champions:

Chaplain R.W. Williams, Mountain Valley Hospice and the Nancy Dowd Hospice Home (pictured second from right above), is the 2018 Rural Health Community Champion of the Year. “R.W. is a health care worker who is so much a part of the community’s fabric that I think we sometimes forget about the versatile care he provides,” stated nominator Kara Travis, President/CEO, Mountain Valley Hospice, “and the fact that he has been with (Mountain Valley) Hospice for 30 years out of the 50 he’s been traveling the byroads is a feat in and of itself.”

Paul F. Bachman, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Hudson Headwaters Health Network (pictured second from left above), is the 2018 Rural Health Leadership Champion of the Year. “Paul has been a role model and standard bearer for many providers at HHHN. I have always been impressed with his enthusiasm for medicine and his commitment to his patients. Witnessing his work pushes me to do a better job,” shared colleague Suzanne Blood, MD, Chief of Palliative Care and Geriatrics, Hudson Headwaters Health Network. In relating Dr. Bachman’s numerous volunteer activities, nominator Jessie Riley, Creative Director, Hudson Headwaters Health Network, added, “In 2000, he served as a volunteer physician and medical missionary with his family at the Kijabe Medical Center in Kenya. For the last ten years, he has also been a volunteer with the Glens Falls Medical Mission Foundation, working as a physician in Guatemala.”

Kathy Jo McIntyre, Assistant Director, Washington County Public Health (pictured third from left above), is the 2018 Rural Public Health Champion of the Year. “The knowledge and experience she brings to the table are invaluable. She goes above and beyond to ensure that best practices are the driving force behind all programs,” said nominator Vicky Campbell, Salem Rescue Squad. “Kathy Jo truly has a zest and deep concern for the well-being of all community members. Her dedication and commitment have changed the shape of rural health care in Washington County. She is a shining star!”

Tammy Merendo, Program Director of Community Health and HealthLink Services, Nathan Littauer Hospital & Nursing Home (pictured third from right above), is the 2018 Rural Health Hospital Champion of the Year. “Tireless. Imaginative. Driven. A woman with a mission – health. An advocate for the poor, unwell and disenfranchised,” stated nominator Cheryl McGrattan, Vice President, Marketing/Public Relations/Community Relations, Nathan Littauer Hospital & Nursing Home. “Tammy recognizes a need in our region and responds with fun, relevant clinically-based programming. Tammy is not only a model employee, but she is also making the state a healthier place.”

“Rural regions have distinctive health care needs that require those who provide care and community support services to possess unique abilities, drive, and dedication,” said Eric Burton, CEO, Adirondack Health Institute. “Each of our honorees shares the common attribute of being recognized leaders in the facilitation of exceptional health care services in their respective communities and all four are highly-deserving of this accolade.”

Created by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), National Rural Health Day showcases the work being done to address the unique health care needs of rural communities. For more information, please visit www.nosorh.org/nrhd.

The Adirondack Rural Health Network (ARHN) is a multi-stakeholder, regional coalition that informs on planning assessment, provides education and training to further the NYS DOH Prevention Agenda, and offers other resources that support the development of the regional health care system. The program includes members from New York’s Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Warren, and Washington counties. For more information, please visit www.ahihealth.org/arhn.

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