FCH News

Webutuck Central School District (WCSD) is a rural agricultural community located in the northeast corner of Dutchess County, NY.  Employment opportunities are limited and result in 60% of the student population being classified as economically disadvantaged. It is well-established that accessing immediate, high-quality healthcare can be a taxing experience for many individuals.  This can be especially challenging for families with school-age children and magnified for households that are underserved and underinsured. Lack of access to primary healthcare can have negative implications for student health, but also has a negative impact on classroom performance, social behavior, and the successful transitioning to adulthood.

WCSD is committed to seeking new ways to enhance the success of our students’ educational outcomes and experiences.  As such, WCSD has collaborated with Open Door Family Medical Centers to establish a School-Based Health Center (SBHC) in the district.  The expediency of this project is a direct result of the extraordinary generosity of the Foundation for Community Health (FCH).  As the recipient of a $100K grant from FCH, the WCSD/OD SBHC will be the first of its kind in the Mid-Hudson/Harlem Valley.  The SBHC will provide students immediate access to high-quality physical, mental, and dental primary care with no out-of-pocket expenses. Through the SBHC, both FCH’s vision and WCSD’s mission to address the health and well-being of the greater Harlem Valley will occur. The WCSD/OD SBHC has a targeted opening date of September 2021.  For more information, go to: Health Services / School-Based Health Clinic (webutuckschools.org)

To envision a stable Sharon Hospital of the future, the leadership team and board of directors have partnered with the Foundation for Community Health to study the development of a sustainable healthcare model to support medical needs in northwest Connecticut and northeast New York for years to come.

Intending to identify realistic and implementable best practices for the delivery of care in rural communities, the report will examine the demand for services and programs, in addition to fiscal and operational performance evaluations. With consideration for historic, current and anticipated community need, the review will also include insights from recent interviews and previous community health needs assessments, town halls, public hearings and the many community meetings held over the past 18 months.

The study is led by Stroudwater Associates, a private healthcare consulting firm that helps strengthen the vital role of hospitals and clinics in rural America across strategic, financial, clinical and operational areas.

“We share an obligation to improve the region’s quality of life with comprehensive programs that support our rural communities,” said Dr. Mark Hirko, president of the hospital. “This collaboration is an innovative step to ensure Sharon Hospital delivers sustainable care for the foreseeable future.”

Survey data, to be shared with the community upon completion, will offer key guidance as Sharon Hospital looks to adapt an operational and financially viable model of care aligned with best practices for rural hospitals.

“It is our hope that this study results in the development of an actionable plan for Sharon Hospital that will ensure its resiliency, enhance its responsiveness to the community and allow it to continue to play its historically critical role as an anchor for all healthcare services,” said Nancy Heaton, CEO for the Foundation for Community Health.

As the hospital and community work to evolve beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic challenges, the study will bridge knowledge about barriers, trends and determinants to healthcare access in rural areas, such as proximity, affordability, utilization, resources, socioeconomic status and population demographics.
Funding for the analysis was awarded to Sharon Hospital by the Foundation for Community Health, also located in Sharon. The private, nonprofit foundation is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of residents in the greater

Harlem Valley in New York and the northern Litchfield Hills of Connecticut, with an emphasis on serving those most vulnerable.

Learn about FCH’s new strategic framework. This month, FCH’s Board of Directors approved a new strategic framework for the foundation. The 10-month process culminated in the development of three new strategic priority areas and an updated Mission, Vision and Values statement. It is also through this process we committed to ground our philanthropic practice in Trust-based Philanthropy, a practice first developed by The Whitman Institute.

In February '21, Main Street Magazine focused on families and our greater shared community. They spoke with Nancy about community health and wellbeing.  Read the full article:  PDF icon"A Quiet Partner"

The Foundation for Community Health has awarded a $100,000 grant to the Webutuck Central School District (WCSD) for construction costs for the first full-service, school-based health center (SBHC) in our community. The aim is to establish the health center for the 2020/21 school year and to make it available to all students. Read the additional information about this project and listen to radio interviews with the Superintendent of Schools, CEO of the Health Center and FCH’s CEO, Nancy Heaton. Click links below.

PDF iconWebutck Scool Based Health Center Synopsis

PDF iconWebutuck School Based Health Center Description

Ray Castellani with Marshall Miles

Lindsay Farrell with Marshall Miles

Nancy Heaton with Marshall Miles

Mimi Tannen talks with Marshall Miles about her work on the Foundation for Community Health's Board of Directors and the work in our community.  Listen here (click)

Listen to Nancy Heaton in the first of a series of interviews with Robin Hood Radio's Marshall Miles.  They discuss the Foundation for Community Health and the important work on behalf of the residents of our community.  Listen here (click).

Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub) profiles our two-week summer immersion program for medical and physician assistant students.  The Health Profession Rural Summer Immersion Program (HPRSIP) is a collaborative program that introduces medical and PA students to the healthcare services and lifestyle in our community for two weeks in the hopes of attracting them to practice in our area.  Due to COVID-19, the 2020 summer program has been postponed until 2021. The program is described at  https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/project-examples/1086


“We at the Foundation for Community Health join with those in mourning the inhumane death of George Floyd — the latest in a series of horrifying and unjust killings of black Americans at the hands of police — and in demanding that it is time for local and national government, to acknowledge that Black Lives Matter and begin the hard work of change. Change that reorients power so that is shared with marginalized communities, and builds new systems that honor our shared humanity and acknowledges the value of all experiences and perspectives.”  Please read the full statement:  PDF iconRacism is a Public Heath Issue

While Census day has come and gone, it is not too late to complete the 2020 Census form.  In fact, the COVID 19 pandemic has highlighted how necessary it is for our local communities, as well as our nation, to have an accurate count of all who reside here.  The Census is the data on which all of our government resources are distributed from health and human services to public education, libraries, etc.  In addition, business, foundations, planners in all fields use this data to make important decisions about where to place or spend resources.  Filling out the Census is fast and easy.  If you have lost your “unique” code that was mailed to you, you can still complete the form online at MyCensus,gov or call 1-844-330-2020.  2020 Fact Sheet

The Board and Staff of the Foundation for Community Health were greatly saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague, Sally W. Berg, on February 7 during her annual stay in Florida.   Sally served on our board between 2013 and 2019.  During that time she shared her expertise and worked on committees such as the Governance, Strategic Planning and Grants Review.

It can be said that she lived a life filled with philanthropic contributions that made a meaningful difference in the lives of many.  Among her many accomplishments, Sally founded the Friends of New York Cornell Hospital in Westchester County. She also received a Courage Award from President Reagan for an Outward Bound course she organized for women with breast cancer while she was the Associate Director of Service and Rehabilitation for the Westchester Division of The American Cancer Society. Subsequently, she became the co-chair of SHARE, an organization offering emotional and educational support for women with breast cancer. During her tenure over a three year period, she was able to increase the funds raised by 280%. In 1993, she co-founded The Catalog for Giving, raising over $5 million for community based organizations working with at-risk youth of New York City. From 2000 to 2004, she served on the Legal Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial District in New York City and from 2003 to 2012, she was on the board of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and she was still serving on the board of the Fund for Columbia County. 

Her friend and fellow FCH board member, Hila Richardson, shared  that “she [Sally] was an extraordinary woman who lived a full, interesting and meaningful life.  Many charities benefited from her endless energy and unstoppable determination to further their missions.  She could make you laugh while getting you to donate your money or time at the very same moment.  She was unique in her intelligence, generosity, sense of humor and love of family and friends. She leaves a big hole in many lives”. 

 Sally was a caring and committed board member who was  concerned about the wellbeing of her neighbors and community and worked to do something about it.  Sally W. Berg leaves a legacy that we are proud to acknowledge.   “I will miss her quick wit and her passion for helping people” said Nancy Heaton, FCH CEO.   

Her obituary and other information will be shared as it becomes available.

It is estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States experience intimate partner violence during their lifetime.

PDF iconCultivating Solutions:  Gender-Based Violence

Collaborating to Create a Low-Cost Rural Health

FCH spearheads the creation of a program to encourage health  care students to practice in the Sharon Hospital area of northwestern Litchfield County, CT and New York's northeastern Dutchess County. Students are exposed to living and working in this area possibly influencing where they choose to practice after graduation. See links below for more information:

PDF iconCultivating Solutions Summer Immersion

PDF iconSummer Immersion Brochure

PDF iconSummer Immersion Application

PDF iconAHEC Newsletter Student Immersion

PDF iconHealth Affairs:  Foundation Funding to Improve Rural Healthcare - Grant Outcomes

The Foundation for Community held its 14th annual Medical Educational Event. Local clinicians learned the latest trends, appropriate treatments and new diagnostic resources for patients with sexually transmitted infections. PDF iconRepublican American Med Ed Coverage

The Foundation for Community Health encourages all members of the Sharon Hospital community to participate in the Public Hearing on the merger of Western Connecticut Health Network and Health Quest taking place next week.

PDF iconFCH Calls for Community Engagement at Public Hearing

PDF iconStatement on Maternity at Sharon Hospital from July 2018

Residents of the Foundation for Community Health's service area can get help paying for costly medications. Local social service agents register those in need quickly. Needed medications are accessed through local participating pharmacies. PDF iconRegistration Information

FCH is seeking consulting services to access and develop recommendations by April 15.  Please see our full RFP and feel free to call with questions:  860 364 5157  PDF iconRFP

FCH requests the Office of Health Strategy create a process by which it will be able to measure how well each Affiliate Hospital community retains a significant voice in determining and "tailoring the delivery of healthcare services to meet its needs" - a stated goal in the CON application.

PDF iconFCH Testimony Public Hearing Health Quest merger 12/4/2018

In an effort to stem the tide of untreated tooth decay, the Foundation for Community Health (FCH) has invested in school-based oral health preventative services since its inception. More than 7,000 children in the northern Litchfield Hills of Connecticut and the Greater Harlem Valley of New York have recieved necessary preventative dental care since 2007.

PDF iconCULTIVATING Solutions:  Improving Children's Oral Health

PDF iconstatement_on_maternity_at_sharon_hospital.pdfThe Foundation for Community Health (FCH) understands our community's concerns about the recent announcement that the maternity services at Sharon Hospital are to be discontinued.

The second of Foundation for Community Health's series on cultivating solutions for our communities’ complicated rural health issues in partnership with our neighbors, local organizations and government is now available on transportation and the road to good health.

PDF iconCultivating Solutions May 2018 Transportation Edition

PDF icon2018 Transportation Study Report

PDF icon2018 Transportation Study Executive Summary

Despite Northwest Connecticut's bucolic landscape, substance abuse is a growing problem with devastating impacts on those struggling with addiction, their families and the wider community.

PDF iconCultivating Solutions:  Addressing Northwest CT's Addiction Crisis

The Foundation for Community Health partnered with the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, the Berkshire Taconic Foundation and McCall Center for Behavioral Health to research and create this report. It is at once achingly heartbreaking and powerfully hopeful. The opioid epidemic impacts every single one of us - please take some time to read and process this information - and then take the steps suggested to help. PDF iconRead the full report...

"For the second year in a row, the Foundation for Community Health has sponsored the program that brings young men and women to the area for a firsthand look at the benefits of working in rural locales." Click here to read the article

The 2017 FCH Medical Education Event took place on May 25th at the Interlaken Inn. This year's topic: "Trauma and the Brain: The Body Remembers." was presented by Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD. Click here to view the news article highlighting the 2017 FCH Medical Education Event

RHMSI Program Students

Click here to read an article about the FCH initiated Rural Health Medical Student Immersion Proram, written by participating student Yamini Chalikonda, as featured in The Touro College and University System News and Communications.

2016 NYSARH Award Recipients

FCH's Director of Communications & Special Programs, Gertrude O'Sullivan, was one of the 2016 New York State Association for Rural Health (NYSARH) award recipients for "Outstanding Rural Health Program: Scrub Club Pathways to Health Careers." Click here to view the 2016 NYSARH Award List and click here to read: "Scrubs Club Leaders Honored for Healthcare Plans."

Sharon Hospital

"Sharon Hospital is the central part of our region's healthcare delivery system," said FCH CEO Nancy Heaton. "With this transition back to not-for-profit status, we can once again work closely with the hospital and provide more services to the community." Click here to read the article

Students participating in the Leadership Empowerment Program

Read the article highlighting an FCH funded program

"It was an exciting time at Taconic Hills Central School District..."

Medical Student participants

"In an attempt to showcase the quality-of-life features and perhaps entice some young doctors to consider settling here, a group of activists came up with a plan. Why not introduce medical students to the area and show them firsthand the benefits of living and working in a rural region?" Click here to read the article

FCH Receives Citation from State of Connecticut

FCH Receives a Citation from the State of Connecticut

FCH has received a Citation from the State of Connecticut General Assembly for our 10th Anniversary.

FCH Receives Commendation from Dutchess County Legislature

FCH Receives Commendation from the Dutchess County Legislature

FCH receives a Commendation from the Dutchess County Legislature for our 10 year anniversary. 

US Senator Richard Blumenthal

10th Anniversary Congratulatory Letter from U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal

Read a 10th Anniversary congratulatory letter from U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Read the article about FCH Director of Communications and Special Programs, Gertrude O’Sullivan, highlighting her impact on the North East Community Center

“The story of NECC is the story of people who have a passion to help others and who won’t take no for an answer ...”

Nancy Heaton is welcomed to Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation's Center for Nonprofit Excellence advisory board

"… The foundation also welcomes two new members to the CNE advisory board: Nancy Heaton, executive director of the Foundation for Community Health in Sharon, Conn., and …"