AHI Celebrates National Rural Health Day, Announces 2016 Rural Health Champions

In recognition of National Rural Health Day, November 17, AHI – Adirondack Health Institute announces five 2016 Rural Health Champions. The annual Rural Health Champion recognition is a collaborative effort of the North Country’s seven 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.

2016 Rural Health Champions:

  • Rural Health EMS Champion: Vicky Campbell, Salem Rescue Squad Captain (Washington County), nominated by Kathy Jo McIntyre, fellow member of the Southern Washington/Northeastern Rensselaer County Mobile Health Steering Committee. “Vicky’s dedication to her community and the surrounding communities to provide care, safety and programs in a rural setting is commendable,” wrote McIntyre.
  • Rural Health Public Health Champion: Jessica Darney Buehler, Senior Health Educator, Essex County Public Health (Essex County), nominated by colleague, Linda Beers, and Josy Delaney, The University of Vermont Health Network – Alice Hyde Medical Center. “Jessica personifies ‘leadership’ and ‘collaboration’ and is dedicated to approaches that positively influence health behaviors and outcomes,” wrote Beers and Delaney.
  • Rural Health Community Wellness Champion: Margaret “Maggie” Luck, Nathan Littauer Hospital & Nursing Home Lifeline Services (Fulton County), nominated by colleagues Cheryl McGrattan and Tammy Merendo. “The most amazing thing about Maggie is how kind and willing she is to help anyone. She sets an excellent example in her work ethic and loyalty to the community,” wrote McGrattan and Merendo.
  • Rural Health Leadership Champion: Stephens Mundy, President & CEO, The University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (Clinton County), nominated by colleague Karen Ashline, Adirondacks ACO. “Through partnerships, Stephens has been instrumental in creating real, practical and meaningful health care programs for those who have traditionally been underserved, demonstrating that patient-centered care can be both high-quality and cost-efficient. He has made far-reaching contributions to rural health care in the Adirondack region,” wrote Ashline.
  • Rural Health Behavioral Health Champion: Robert Ross, CEO, St. Joseph’s Addiction Treatment and Recovery Centers (Essex County), nominated by colleague Tina Buckley. “He (Robert) is a forward thinker who is constantly advocating for rural health care needs and looking to improve access to care for all those who live and work in our rural communities,” wrote Buckley.

“From accessibility issues and health care provider shortages, to aging populations and a higher rate of uninsured and underinsured citizens, rural communities are facing more challenges than ever,” stated Courtney Shaler Smith, ARHN Manager. “Today we have an opportunity to both raise public awareness of rural health care and celebrate the unsung heroes in our region who are making a lasting contribution to the rural health care system.” According to Shaler Smith, nominees can be providers or non-providers who deliver or promote outstanding care and make significant personal and professional contributions to their community.

“This region is extremely fortunate to have so many talented individuals dedicated to creating a more efficient and effective rural health care system that is easily accessible, affordable, and provides a better overall patient experience,” said Margaret Vosburgh, CEO, AHI. “Each of our five honorees has had a profoundly positive impact on improving the lives of people in their respective communities and we’re so pleased to recognize their contributions.”

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.