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Rural Health Network Development

The Rural Health Network Development program seeks to improve the health of New York’s rural communities by providing support for rural providers to improve access to care, enhance coordination of services, increase efficiency of service delivery, and introduce needed community services through the formation and operation of rural health networks.

For more information about the Lead-Free & Healthy Homes Mohawk Valley Coalition, visit leadfreemv.org

Lead Free & Healthy Homes Mohawk Valley

In its commitment to improve community health, Herkimer County HealthNet partnered with The Community Foundation and several other organizations to form the Lead-Free & Healthy Homes Mohawk Valley Coalition. The goal of the coalition, which was formed in 2016, is to reduce the rates the childhood lead poisoning in Herkimer and Oneida counties by 2030.

Lead poisoning in childhood can result in a host of health-related issues that can have life-long consequences for children. Lead poisoning has been linked to learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, decreased muscle and bone growth, speech and language problems, and behavior problems. (Source: Let’s Make Lead History)

Lead-based paint and lead contaminated dust have been identified as the most hazardous sources of lead for U.S. children and was banned for use in housing in 1978. However, houses built prior to that time are very likely to contain lead-based paint. The deterioration and interruption of this paint (chipping, peeling, cracking and chalking) poses a serious risk to children, especially at ages two and under as well as for pregnant women. (Source: Let’s Make Lead History)

Both Herkimer & Oneida Counties have a large housing stock that pre-dates 1978. Children have the potential to be exposed to lead-based paint in their own homes or at their baby sitters’, grandparents’, and friends’ homes.

For more information about the Lead-Free & Healthy Homes Mohawk Valley Coalition, visit leadfreemv.org

Lead Screening Project

Childhood lead poisoning is one of the most common pediatric health problems in the United States today, and it is entirely preventable. Lead poisoning is caused by swallowing or breathing in lead which can harm children and adults. Lead can harm a young child’s growth, behavior, and ability to learn. Children under six years old are more likely to get lead poisoning than any other age group. Most often, children get lead poisoning from breathing in or swallowing dust from old lead paint that gets on floors and windowsills, hands and toys. Lead can also be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy. Although lead poisoning is preventable, lead continues to be a major cause of poisoning among children.

Routine blood lead testing of young children is essential to assure early identification and coordination of follow-up to prevent further exposure. Under NYS Public Health Law (PHL), healthcare providers are required to:

In 2016, HCHN obtained funding from Excellus Health Plan via the Community and Member Health Improvement grant program to provide “point-of-care” technology (LeadCare II) in community health clinics and physician offices. Lead care II equipment provides on-site blood lead levels testing to increase compliance with mandated testing requirement.

The placement of LeadCare II testing equipment into health care practices, clinics, and/or physician offices directly supports on-site testing of children with the goal of increasing the number of children screened. Herkimer HealthNet will place up to seven (7) LeadCare II testing equipment and supplies in the two County area of Oneida and Herkimer.

HCHN works with the Oneida County and Herkimer County Departments of Health to identify healthcare practices/physicians willing to accept placement of the LeadCare II Blood Level Testing System.



(Initiatives for Multi-Sector Public Health Action)

IMPACT work focuses on the prevention and control of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke in the Central New York (CNY) region. Local IMPACT strategies are designed to target high-need geographic areas by incorporating improvements in 4 key areas: 

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and HealtheConnections in Syracuse, NY leads the Local Initiatives for Multi-Sector Public Health Action (Local IMPACT) project, funded by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), to help prevent and control obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and reduce health disparities among adults. In September 2015, NYSDOH awarded four organizations, called partnerships, to work in high need areas throughout New York State. The primary Central New York partner is HealtheConnections in Syracuse, NY. HealtheConnections’ Population Health Improvement work focuses on convening stakeholders from across the CNY region to share data-driven, evidence-based practices, and fostering strategies for achieving local priorities. Local IMPACT activities build upon this foundation, utilizing partnerships in six CNY counties and collaborations with local subject matter experts.

Herkimer County HealthNet supports the implementation of Local IMPACT strategies in Herkimer County with a focus on healthy environments and lifestyle change programs (Diabetes Prevention).

Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, & Play Grant

Herkimer County HealthNet administered the five-year Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play grant from the NY State Department of Health.

The purpose of the initiative was to implement community level interventions to promote healthy lifestyles to prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes. HCHN worked on initiatives to prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases by making it easier to be physically active and eat more fruits and vegetables in Herkimer County. One success of this program is our trail guide. 

Are you interested in participating in upcoming committee meetings and focus groups? Let us know by sending us a note.

Age-Friendly Herkimer County

Herkimer County Office for the Aging partnered with Herkimer County HealthNet and was awarded a grant from the New York State Office for the Aging in collaboration with the New York State Departments of Health and State. The grant is designed to assist counties with incorporating healthy, age-friendly community principles into all relevant policies, plans, ordinances, and programs. Herkimer County’s aim in pursuing this initiative is to develop and promote resources that will contribute to healthier living environments in communities throughout the County, and help improve the quality of life for residents of all ages. Toward those ends, the Office for the Aging worked with other regional agencies and organizations, including the Herkimer County Administrator, Catholic Charities of Herkimer County, Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce, Herkimer Industrial Development, Herkimer County DSS, Herkimer Working Solutions, and Herkimer County Community College to form the Herkimer County Age Friendly Coalition. the past year the Coalition has been meeting to discuss ideas and strategies for developing communities that meet AARP’s and the World Health Organization’s definition of “age friendly.” The Coalition also worked with Herkimer County Community College to recruit a student volunteer, Julie Benhoff, to create an original logo for the initiative. Ms. Benhoff graduated Magna Cum Laude in May from Herkimer County Community College with an associate’s degree in Fine Arts. The logo she created will be featured on all Coalition materials and will help market the Age Friendly initiative.

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