Advancing the health and well-being of rural people and communities
Rural Matters January 2022
Message from Mark Bordeau

Welcome to our first issue of Rural Matters for 2022. We are only 3 weeks into the New Year and our team at the Rural Health Network is wasting no time in finding new and innovative ways to advance the health and well-being of the rural communities we serve. In this issue of Rural Matters you will learn about the $500,000 grant we just received from Bristol Meyers Squibb. The grant will allow us to hire two Community Health Workers and for the first time ever, two Community Health Educators. Additionally, the team at the Rural Health Network is hard at work applying for several new grants that if awarded, would allow us to work with new community partners and will positively impact our region.

This week we recognize and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and the inspiring legacy he left behind. Dr. King once said “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” I am proud of the entire team here at the Rural Health Network. They work hard every day to do the best they can to be of service to our rural communities. 

Speaking of service, I would like to introduce you to six new members of our Board of Directors. Our Governance Committee worked hard to recruit an amazing class of new board members. 
Natalie Brubaker- Natalie Brubaker is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Schools at Susquehanna Valley CSD in Conklin, NY. She has a BS and MS in Health Education from SUNY Cortland as well as a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership from SUNY Cortland. Natalie lives in Apalachin, NY with her husband and two sons ages 13 and 14. She enjoys supporting her boys in participating in football, hockey and lacrosse. Natalie is excited to be a part of the Rural Health Network as it brings her back to her roots as a Health Educator and allows her to combine her background in health education with her current role in administration. Natalie has firsthand knowledge of the barriers that those in rural communities face with respect to services and basic needs. She looks forward to working with the Rural Health Network to help navigate those!
Cathy McLachlan- Cathy is a retired dietitian who worked for 39 years at Delaware Valley Hospital in Walton NY.  She is married with 3 sons and 5 grandchildren. She has lived in rural Delaware County her entire life and has a deep understanding of the needs of the rural population. She joined the board because of her connection to the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription program and her desire to help others.
Tamara Phams- Tamara is Senior Director of Corporate Health Information Management at The Guthrie Clinic.  She relocated to the area from Memphis, TN. Tamara spent time in Boston, MA serving at Rosie’s Place, Boston Medical Center Cuddle Program, and Food Pantry. She earned a degree in Health Information Management with a minor in general business from Tennessee State University. Tamara currently resides in Sayre, PA. She wants to serve on the board to be a voice for communities often forgotten. Also the Rural Health Network mission aligns with her moral goal: promoting health and wellness to the rural people and communities.
David Reynolds - David is a Respiratory Therapist and an Emergency Medical Technician. He is a graduate of Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY. Currently, David is working at Sidney Medical Emergency Services in Sidney. He is a facilitator in the Bassett CDSMP program and a Certified Instructor of Tai Chi with Otsego Office for Aging.
Christine Shaver - Christine currently serves as the Director of Program Operations for Tioga Opportunities, Inc. where she has worked since 2013. She oversees the agency’s Aging Services, Family Planning Clinic, WIC Program, Residential Housing facilities, and Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. Christine earned both her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s degree in Education from Binghamton University. She grew up in Broome County and is now a Tioga County resident where she lives with her husband and two children. The majority of her career has involved efforts to improve the health and wellness of those she serves. Christine is excited to join the Board of Directors for the Rural Health Network because she wants to learn how she can support the agency’s health initiatives and members of our community.
Meghan Staring – Meghan has worked at the Catskill Center for Independence since 2007, and in 2017 became the Executive Director. She moved to Oneonta from the Herkimer area in 2006. This was never meant to be a permanent move for Meghan, but she quickly planted “roots” and now calls East Meredith home. Meghan wants to be a member of the Rural Health Board of Directors because she supports our mission, and hopes to make an impact in our communities.
We are growing again! Pictured below is construction currently going on here at the Rural Health Network. When completed, we will have 3 new offices that will allow our staff to better serve our community. 

As we begin 2022, I will close with another quote from Dr. King “I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.”  I hope and dream that 2022 brings better health and prosperity to our rural people and communities.

Mark Bordeau
Executive Director
A view of the doorways to three new workspaces currently under construction at our office.
Announcing a New Grant that will Grow our
Community Health and Education Services
Rural Health Network is pleased to share that we have received a $500,000 grant from Bristol Myers Squibb to kick off the Community Health CORE project. The project will address health disparities in access to care for medically underserved rural families in Broome and Tioga Counties, and is a collaboration between Rural Health Network and Ascension Lourdes Hospital Primary Care Network. The program model integrates Community Health Educator and Community Health Worker support into the clinical care team to address root causes of health concerns, connect people to primary care, and close care gaps related to therapeutic areas of oncology and hematology.

In announcing the grant, Mary Maruscak, Director of Community Health Education said: "Our Community Health team will take a person-centered approach to encourage self-management and self-advocacy in partnership with the clinical team from Lourdes. It’s the ideal combination of wrap-around services to set patients up for better health in the long term.” 

Bristol Myers Squibb’s foundation and corporate giving program focuses on several therapeutic areas of interest, including cardiovascular, immunology, oncology and hematology. 

Job Openings - We are currently recruiting candidates for the first phase of program implementation. View all open positions here and apply here.

Community Health Worker - Provide outreach to engage identified individuals from rural county-specific populations to efficiently access health related services including: prescription medication, vision/dental services, financial assistance, health literacy/insurance, transportation, healthy foods, housing, and self advocacy. Identify level of need, which can range from one-time information and assistance to longer-term case management for individuals with chronic physical and/or behavioral health conditions. Refer and facilitate participation in chronic disease case/self-management, care coordination and/or health education.

Community Health Educator -Responsible for assessing the health education needs of clients and populations across the region, marketing, recruiting for and delivering evidence-based health education programs, and working alongside Community Health Workers and other key staff to conduct outreach to targeted communities. The Community Health Educator will assess impacts of participation in evidence-based health education programs through data collection and analysis, and will work collaboratively to maintain client engagement, support, and referrals.
Healthy Living Workshop Series
Rural Health Network is offering a free virtual Healthy Living Workshop Series. Workshops empower adults to achieve a better quality of life while living with conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, chronic pain, depression, memory loss, and much more. Some topics covered are: managing symptoms, improving skills in problem solving and communication with your health care providers, medication management, and healthy eating. 

There is no charge for participation, but you must be able to participate via video for the whole session. Sessions run 2.5 hours with a 20 minute break. 

Sessions will be held once per week on Wednesdays from February 16 - March 23 and will be held from 2:00 - 4:30 PM.

Register by emailing Mary Maruscak or calling 607-692-7669, ext. 209.
AmeriCorps Positions Available
Making a Difference in Your Community in 2022!
Part- and full-time AmeriCorps positions are still available for a 2022 start! We have positions of all sorts, great for those interested in learning more about public health. These are temporary positions of all lengths, at locations such as Cornell Cooperative Extension's Farm to School Program, Broome County Office for Aging, Steuben County Public Defender's Office, CHOW, Southern Tier AIDS Program, the Food and Health Network, and more! All AmeriCorps positions involve a year or less of service, so they're a great way to invest in your community, gain valuable experience in the broad field of public health, and earn a stipend and Education Award (to be spent on loans or tuition). Commitments range from 300 hours of service to full-year, full-time hours.

Here's a great short video about AmeriCorps service.

For more information about these positions or other AmeriCorps positions available with Rural Health Service Corps, please visit our website or contact Haley Desilet at 
We're pleased to announce that Raini Baudendistel has joined our team as the Director of Getthere Mobility Management programs.

Raini grew up in a rural area where transportation was a sincere issue for residents. She worked in employment & training for nearly ten years before transitioning to victim's services. Throughout her career, she recognized what a barrier transportation was for people, especially in smaller, rural areas. Raini said "I feel like I can contribute to the great work and success of the Rural Health Network as they meet the needs of people throughout the five county area where Getthere provides services.  

In my first six months, I look forward to learning from staff and community partners about the local and regional needs as well as exploring available and sustainable resources in an effort to assist those who are working to overcome current transportation barriers. I hope to enhance my team's amazing efforts and work alongside them to plan a robust future for our program and those we serve."

When she's not working, Raini is typically spending time in nature. "Whether on a beach, kayaking down the river, or riding an ATV through the woods. The water, sun, and peace that brings to me while spending time with family & friends is immeasurable."

2021 Highlights

  • The Getthere Call Center assisted with more than 5,000 mobility management cases in 2021, our largest volume yet.
  • Over 1,000 individuals received assistance through Connection to Care to access healthcare appointments or other health-related services.
  • More than $158,000 of transportation assistance was provided.

Job Opening
Getthere has an opening for an additional Mobility & Transportation Advocate. The Mobility and Transportation Advocate (MTA) works in a collaborative team environment to utilize mobility management strategies to improve transportation access, independence, and service coordination. MTA’s staff the Getthere Call Center and provide one-on-one transportation case management, education, and assistance to older adults, people with disabilities, and lower-income individuals. Apply Here

Volunteer Drivers Needed for Community Rides in Norwich
Food and Health Network has partnered with Broome-Tioga BOCES Rock On Cafe and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County to create a Farm to School Video Series. These videos will highlight some of the most integral aspects of the farm to school program and showcase the people that make it possible. The first two videos in the series are now available.

Part One - Overview of the Farm to School partnership

Part Two - On the Farm

The January Farm to School newsletter is also available to read now. Learn more about upcoming menus, taste tests, and the nutritional benefits of carrots, and get a recipe for Sesame Lime Cabbage Salad.
News From Northern Broome CARES
Meet a new member of our team

Michele Summers joined our Northern Broome CARES NORC project staff in January. She will volunteer 6 hours per week as an experienced licensed health care professional providing health care management services including phone calls, home visits and primary care consultations. She lives in the service area and will assist enrolled clients with medication management, health literacy, self management, and following physician orders. 

Michele is a Family Nurse Practitioner who holds certification and membership through the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. She is also board certified in Gerontological Nursing through ANCC. 

She has over twenty-five years of experience in the education field, and a lifelong passion for health promotion. While at Binghamton University, Michele earned her BS in Nursing in 2009 with the prestigious SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence; an MS in Family Nursing-Nurse Practitioner and a Certificate in Nursing Education in 2014. In 2018, she was awarded a PhD in Nursing. She is currently a Clinical Associate Professor with the Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences of Binghamton University and sole proprietor of a private house call practice in northern Broome County. 

Northern Broome CARES Second Annual Holiday Gifts program

Northern Broome CARES in Whitney Point celebrated the holiday season by delivering gifts to 142 senior households in the Northern Broome County area. This is the 2nd annual gift giving event by NB CARES. The gifts were donated from Rural Health Network Staff and Board members, Visions Federal Credit Union Contact Center, Northern Broome CARES Advisory Committee Members, The Whitney Point School District & PTA, The Lynch Family and many other community members.

During the holidays, children typically take precedence when it comes to gift giving, which is wonderful, but it's especially important to the NB CARES staff that seniors also have a gift to open on Christmas, or their holiday of choice. One Northern Broome Senior told us that "It really made the morning that much brighter for my partner and I, we purchased a gift for each other, but then we had this beautiful gift bag full of new gloves and slippers for each of us, a couple puzzles, some candy (that didn't last long) and some really nice lotion that is what I need for my feet! It was a wonderful surprise and I can't tell you how much it was appreciated- and just nice to be thought of!" 

Another senior said, "It was really nice to get some new gloves for driving, I deliver Meals on Wheels and I think someone noticed that I could use some nice driving gloves but I was managing Okay. They're so warm, and it's a lot easier on me with these cold days!"

Living and working in a small community and seeing everyone work together to make each day a little brighter, especially during the holidays is what makes it so amazing. Northern Broome CARES is lucky to be a part of this community.
Michael Treiman, Program Coordinator, and Mindy Alexander, Community Health Worker, prepared to deliver gifts to northern Broome seniors in December.
Students from the Whitney Point schools made holiday greeting cards to accompany the gifts.
If you test positive using an at-home COVID-19 diagnostic test and live in Broome or Delaware County, you are asked to report your positive results at the links below.

Tioga County is not requesting residents to self-report their at-home test results. Additional guidance is available on their Public Health Department website.

The federal government is also making at-home test kits available to every US household. Visit to order four free tests.
Interesting News and Resources
What Mask Should You Wear? Graphic sharing the least to most protection available in both English and Spanish.

Community Health Needs Assessment
Every three years, Lourdes conducts a Community Health Needs Assessment to better understand the health needs of our community and to plan services and programs to meet those needs. As part of this work, we have prepared a survey to learn about the unmet needs of the residents living in Broome and parts of Tioga Counties. To complete the survey, click here. The survey will take approximately 7 minutes to complete. Please take a moment to respond before January 31, 2022.

Job Openings with NOFA-NY The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York has three current positions listed. If you are looking for a position with an organization of farmers, gardeners, and consumers working together to create a sustainable regional food system that’s ecologically sound and economically viable, visit their website.

Assessing Implementation of Hospital Price Transparency This NYSHealth Foundation funded report from Manatt Health looks at how hospitals in New York State have responded to a federal price transparency rule that took effect in January 2021.The report also highlights examples of effective early approaches to price transparency that may serve as models for hospitals that are further behind in implementation. 
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