Rural Health Network honors Oswego County healthcare workers

Healthcare Champions. Oswego County Opportunities Rural Health Network recognizes the entire Oswego County healthcare workforce, especially the vaccinators, as Rural Health Champions for their extraordinary efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rural Health Champion designation is part of the Rural Health Network of Oswego County’s observation of National Rural Health Day, celebrated on Nov. 18. Pictured are healthcare professionals representing Oswego County’s health care organizations and providers.

FULTON – Each year in celebration of National Rural Health Day, the Rural Health Network (RHN) of Oswego County recognizes a direct service healthcare provider with the Rural Health Champion Award for their exceptional leadership and their work as advocates for Oswego County health providers and residents.

With what Oswego County and the world experienced in 2020, Rural Health Network Coordinator Leanna Cleveland felt that given the extraordinary circumstances it was important to honor Oswego County’s entire healthcare workforce.

“The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world more than one year and a half ago,” said Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang. “Since it started, Oswego County as a community has worked together to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on the community and achieved mitigation goals. The COVID-19 vaccines roll out was a game changer. Since last December, all healthcare providers, including retired physicians and nurses, stepped up to promote and administer the vaccines.”

“The Rural Health Network would like to recognize and thank the healthcare workforce and COVID 19 vaccinators in Oswego County for their unwavering dedication to the health and wellbeing of our community,” said Coordinator of Community Health Leanna Cleveland. “We are proud of our healthcare workforce, especially the COVID-19 vaccinators. We thank them for their tremendous contributions to our community during the pandemic. They are more than deserving of this recognition and we are grateful for dedication to caring for our community and the way they have, and continue to, respond with a tremendous effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic be showing up to work every day despite everything happening around us.”

Local data, like many data from the region, in the nation, and outside the country, showed vaccines are effective and are working to protect the community.

“Oswego Hospital, ConnextCare, pharmacies, independent providers, and the county health department put a lot of resources into vaccinating residents,” said Huang. “With their efforts, they made a difference for the county. The Rural Health Champion award is a great opportunity to honor our healthcare workforce and the COVID-19 vaccinators who tirelessly administer vaccinations and promote the COVID-19 vaccine in the county. Their efforts work to remind those who are not vaccinated to reconsider their decision and encourage them to get vaccinated.”

When it comes to recognizing Oswego County’s healthcare workforce, the efforts of the staff of Oswego Health is immeasurable.

“The past 20 months have certainly been unchartered territory,” shared Oswego Health Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Michael C. Backus. “Everyone has had to work harder, smarter, and collaborate in ways never imagined. On behalf of our employees at Oswego Health, thank you to those who stepped up to the challenge of COVID and continue to keep our community safe.”

The Rural Health Champion Awards are part of the Rural Health Network of Oswego County’s observation of National Rural Health Day, which was celebrated on Nov. 18. Recipients of this award must live or work in Oswego County and have demonstrated leadership in improving the availability and delivery of services in Oswego County.

Established by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, National Rural Health Day recognizes that rural communities are wonderful places to live and work and have unique healthcare needs. National Rural Health Day celebrates the “Power of Rural”, bringing to light the unique healthcare challenges that rural citizens face and showcasing the efforts of rural healthcare providers, State Offices of Rural Health and other rural stakeholders to address those challenges. It’s also an opportunity to honor the selfless, community-minded, “can do” spirit that prevails in rural America.

“We are proud to be able to honor Oswego County’s entire health care workforce for the tremendous work they are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect our community,” said Cleveland. “They truly are amazing and are worthy recipients of the Rural Health Champion Award.”

Operating under the auspices of Oswego County Opportunities, the Rural Health Network is a consortium of health care providers and human service providers in Oswego County. Working together the members take a collaborative approach to addressing major health issues that exist in Oswego County. For more information on the Rural Health Network of Oswego visit the Rural Health Network (RHN) pages on the OCO website,

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