Oco News

Health equity is topic at forum hosted by Rural Health Network and partners

For many in Oswego County, access to healthcare can be a challenge. Barriers such as long wait times due to a lack of providers, transportation issues, and social determinates such as age, where one lives and works, and other environmental factors can affect a number of health risks and outcomes.

To address the barriers that exist in Oswego County, and find ways to overcome them, the Rural Health Network of Oswego County, in partnership with the Learn, Identify, Focus and Transform Committee (LIFT), recently hosted a Health Equity & Access forum. More than 50 individuals representing 39 organizations attended the event.

“Our goal with this forum was to bring together our network of agencies and healthcare providers to discern the current state of health equity in our communities, identify barriers that exist and discuss initiatives that may alleviate these barriers,” explained Joelle Hutson, coordinator of Community Health with Oswego County Opportunities (OCO).

The forum provided the opportunity for agencies to share information on services they offer that meet some of the needs in the community. “Keeping abreast of the services available helps us to identify needs that exist and determine what additional services we need to alleviate those needs,” said Hutson. pictured here, from left in the front are Tina Eusepi of Oswego County Opportunities (OCO), Alicia Vann of Desens House, and Virginia Bough, Toni Ross, and Leanna Cleveland of OCO. Back row from left; Sara Sunday of the Oswego County Office for the Aging, and Carolyn Handville, Ellen Lazarek, and Joelle Hutson of OCO.

The collaboration we have between our agencies and health care providers is excellent. Their willingness to come to the table to problem solve is encouraging. The information shared and the data collected at the forum will go a long way in achieving our goal of health equity in our county.”

Sponsored by the Richard Shineman Foundation, the Health Equity & Access forum was the first of a series of forums the Rural Health Network will be hosting in the future. “Healthcare professionals are always looking for avenues that may provide feedback and to take part in collaborative efforts to make our community as healthy as possible. The Rural Health Network is hopeful to fulfill that and provide them the next steps to take action,” added Hutson.

For more information on the Rural Health Network and health related services in Oswego County contact Joelle Hutson at 315-598-4717 ext. 1227 or via email at jhutson@oco.org.

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