In 2020, the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York launched a new strategic plan and vision with a focus on socioeconomic and racial health equity. To support this work, we commissioned a scan to identify opportunities for improving outreach efforts to three rural counties in the Southern Tier of western New York—an area with vast health needs that have been historically under-resourced. The narrative report resulting from this scan, Community Health Needs and Opportunities in Western New York’s Southern Tier, finds that overarching systemic needs rooted in the social determinants of health exist throughout these counties and are major contributors to health outcomes in the region. Transportation access, health care workforce shortages, under-funded community services, and the impact of poverty are among the factors named as contributing to health disparities in the region.
The report also captures positive attributes in community health in the three counties, including a strong network of community-based organizations working to meet the needs of the people of the Southern Tier, innovative programs and initiatives to address issues such as trauma-informed care practices, and a commitment to collaboration among health care and community service providers that has been strengthened by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on research conducted by health care consultants Kate Ebersole and Sharon Mathe, the report features testimonials from some of the region’s community health leaders, capturing their perspective on the state of health care locally and how the pandemic has had an impact on their work and partnerships. Community Health Needs also includes a snapshot overview of the local network of health care services, as well as information and context about the socioeconomic and cultural make-up of the region.
Date Published: February 11, 2022