Six rural health networks to receive boost in funding
Rural health systems are getting a boost from The Health Foundation for Western and Central New York. A $500,000 rural health initiative will be shared between six rural health networks, serving western and central New York.
Foundation president Nora O’Brien-Suric said a recent study of the Southern Tier, shows a disparity in health outcomes in rural areas, for a number of reasons.
"The overarching impact of poverty, the lack of healthcare access, healthcare worker shortages, food insecurity and transportation challenges are the main contributors to the disparities of health outcomes."
The foundation is giving each of the health networks $75,000 to use how they see fit. Donna Kahm of the Southern Tier Health Coalition will use it for a program to urge more young people to join the healthcare industry.
"Get into those schools, and educate people on how important it is to be a part of health care,” Kahm said. “Our goal is to expose people who don’t necessarily have that generational exposure. We find a lot of people are in health care because they are generationally in health care. We want to give that opportunity to other people."
Jackie Leaf, Director of the Seven Valleys Health Network in Cortland County, said the needs are great, from prenatal care to food insecurity and transportation. Along with subsidizing programs, she hopes the cash can leverage other grants.
"There’s often an opportunity for grants that come about that require matching funds,” Leaf said. “So having some funds to put away to use for the match when those opportunities come up, can be a huge asset for us.”
The Health Foundation also is hoping funds can boost an awareness campaign regarding rural health disparities.