Rural communities are enmeshed in a vicious cycle of resource scarcity, poor health outcomes, lost productivity and lack of economic growth. Through collaboration with community organizations, county health departments, and healthcare systems, and with funding from NYS DOH, the Rural Health Education Network of Schoharie, Otsego and Montgomery Counties (RHENSOM) is dedicated to serving the health needs of our communities through innovative, evidence-based programming and initiatives. RHENSOM was successful in securing a new five year contract from NYS DOH, which began in January 2019. Key areas of work in 2019 focused on two overarching objectives. The first was to address health disparities associated with chronic disease, and the second was to empower both seasoned healthcare professionals and youth to become more engaged in creating a healthy environment.
Highlights from 2019:
Prevent and Manage Chronic Disease
- Subcontracted with Cornell Cooperative Extension to fund an additional nutrition educator for the region, a resource that was sorely lacking in our area. This additional educator has reached nearly 100 individuals (including seniors, young adults, and individuals in recovery).
- Support Pathfinder Village's Mobile Market, an invaluable service providing weekly fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as nutrition education information, to 100 families
- Provided staff and financial support to lead the region's first National Diabetes Prevention Program with year-long workshops beginning in Amsterdam, Cobleskill and Cooperstown.
- Continued support of the Living Well program, focusing on strengthening community-clinical collaborations and implementation of the evidence-based self-management programs
- Collaborated with Schoharie Office for the Aging to provide A Matter of Balance training.
Engagement in Improving the Healthcare Environment
- Provided staff support for the UpClose Cardiac Surgery Program in collaboration with the Bassett Department of Surgery. This program educates nearly 1000 students a year on the importance of establishing heart-healthy lifestyle behaviors early in life.
- In March, supported the Jr. Iron Chef Competition where 24 middle and high school teams from the region traveled to SUNY Cobleskill for the championship cook-off.
- In October, RHENSOM organized and facilitated the annual School Nurse Symposium which featured the Advancing Tobacco Free Communities Teams from Schoharie, Otsego, Delaware counties and Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties. Their presentation on Combatting Vaping in the School Setting was well received by 40 school nurses and allied health professionals.