February 2017
Rural Matters
A monthly newsletter to keep you informed.

GetThere Handles Record Number of Calls
Our Mobility Management of South Central New York program expanded services and saw increased demand for those services in 2016.  Here are some highlights:
  • The GetThere Call Center handled 759 cases in 2016, the largest ever in our five year history and a 34% increase over 2015 cases.
  • GetThere Call Center expanded hours effective January 1. The call center is now staffed Monday - Friday from 7 AM to 6 PM.  We handled the largest call volume for a single month during January 2017.  
  • The addition of a Seniors & Disabilities Specialist to our staff increased capacity to offer travel training for individuals and groups in order to familiarize them with public transportation options and routes. If you missed our December article, read it here.
The call center provides FREE trip planning, transportation education, and referral services to people throughout the region and beyond. GetThere is staffed by Mobility and Transportation Advocates who are well-versed in the area's transportation options and eager to assist anyone with travel needs or questions.

Call us: 1-855-373-404 0

Martin Luther King 
Day of Service
AmeriCorps member Marsha Dixon and RHSC Assistant Director Haley Desilet played the role of community agencies staff in the simulation.

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, the Rural Health Network held a poverty simulation this past January at Binghamton University's Hinman College for a group of over 80 participants. Since Hinman College is Binghamton University's official service-learning school, we also decided to incorporate a combined theme of food and racial justice into the simulation to further engage the group of socially-minded students. The project was coordinated by Food and Health Network Program Coordinator Christian DiRado-Owens and AmeriCorps VISTA member Caroline Russo with support from AmeriCorps members and the United Way of Broome County. Thanks to a collaboration with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier and their Speakers Bureau program, we were able to invite Speakers Bureau graduates Jackie Bogart, Catherine Rogers, Andrea Harding, and Rosemary Pellett to participate in a panel discussion with the students to share their personal experiences living with food insecurity and poverty. The women also served alongside RHSC members as role-playing volunteers in the simulation itself.

Catherine Rogers wrote an article reflecting on her personal experience of the event. She said, "There were laughs and there were tears; we were all moved in many ways. The students were genuinely concerned, also shocked, at some of the hardships the poor endure and must overcome - to meet their most basic needs, stay safe, and even just to stay alive."

The Food Bank of the Southern Tier included Catherine's full article in their most recent newsletter and gave permission to share it with our readers.   Read the full article here.

For more information on Rural Health Service Corps, please vist our website.  
Rural Health Policy & Advocacy 
Many of our partners may be interested in this upcoming webinar scheduled for Wednesday, February 28 from 2:30 - 4:00 PM.   Leadership Approaches to Defending and Advancing Prevention and Public Health is co-hosted by American Public Health Association, Prevention Institute, Public Health Institute, and Trust for America's Health. The panel discussion featuring national public health leaders will highlight policy priorities for advancing prevention and wellness with the Administration and Congress. This Web Forum will also showcase the importance of leadership both in public health and across multiple sectors to integrate health care, behavioral health, social services, environmental health, and transportation. Read more and register for the webinar.
Leadership Message

Why mobility is a foundation of Rural Health:

The term mobility is defined as "the ability to move or be moved freely and easily" (source: English Oxford Living Dictionaries). Most are familiar with the term "upward mobility" often used to describe the process of improving an individual or family's economic status. The word mobility is also used in the context of describing an individual's physical movement challenges or limitations. More recently the transportation sector has introduced the concept of "mobility management" to describe an array of services and strategies that consider the unique transportation (mobility) needs of individuals. 

Improved mobility and affordable transportation options help position rural residents for better health by improving access to healthy food, health care services, education, employment, and social connections.

Transportation expenses are often the second highest expense to individuals and families after housing. In some low income rural households transportation can be the highest expense due to the cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle and high operating expenses due to long distances travelling to employment, etc. 

Rural Health Network's Mobility Management program has been helping improve the mobility of rural people in our region since 2011.   Read my full article for more about mobility challenges in our area, our current projects and projects in development.

-Jack Salo      
Executive Director
Save the Date - Volunteer Conference
Transit Awareness Day in Albany
NY State Senator Joseph Robach, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee speaks at public transportation rally.

On January 31, 2017 the New York Public Transit Association (NYPTA) held its annual Transit Awareness Day event in Albany. As both a strong advocate for improved community mobility and NYPTA member, Mobility Management of South Central York (MMSCNY) was glad to participate. The event included a public transportation rally, meetings with lawmakers, and public transit displays in the Legislative Office Building of The New York State Capitol. Among the speakers at the rally were NYPTA President Bill Carpenter and State Senator Joseph Robach, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.

The majority of the day's schedule was set aside for meetings with elected representatives. MMSCNY attended several meetings as part of a contingent of mobility managers and community transportation providers from Upstate New York. Meetings were held with Assembly Members Clifford Crouch, Barbara Lifton, and Phil Palmesano, as well as State Senator Fred Akshar, and the staffs of both State Senator Tom O'Mara and the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources.

Though numerous issues relating to transportation were discussed, of particular interest to MMSCNY was the establishment of a state-level committee that would focus on coordinating the transportation efforts of state departments and better integrating their various transportation initiatives.

Workplace Wellness Survey
HealthlinkNY Community Network, the Population Health Improvement Program (PHIP) in the Southern Tier, is supported by t wo Rural Health Network SCNY staff . The project is in the early planning stages of creating a workplace tool kit to support behavioral health.  The hope is to connect with existing workplace wellness programs to see if their programs currently incorporate a behavioral health component (mental health, substance use, or emotional wellness). 

HealthlinkNY Community Network is looking to collaborate and expand upon existing workplace wellness initiatives.  If you are currently involved in any workplace wellness initiatives, please take a few minutes to complete this survey to let us know about your work.  

We are also looking to identify similar programs or initiatives in the community that are already in place.  Please consider forwarding this article to any companies which offer workplace wellness initiatives. 
Connect with Rural Health Network of SCNY

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