FULTON – In celebration of National Rural Health Day, the Rural Health Network (RHN) of Oswego County recognized two members of the community for their exceptional leadership and their work as health providers and advocates for Oswego County residents.
Jen Fassano, RN, director of Oswego Health’s emergency department, and Tina Bourgeois, senior LPN in the Oswego County Health Department, were honored with the Rural Health Network’s Rural Health Champion Award for their dedication to improving services within the county.
Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) Community Health Program Manager Virginia Baugh and OCO Health and Nutrition Services Director of Operations Leanna Cleveland presented the awards, honoring the award winners in separate presentations.
Fassano, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from SUNY Oswego, followed her drive for emergency services as she began her career in healthcare as an EMT for Oswego County Ambulance. In 2014 Fassano transitioned from ambulance to Oswego Health Emergency Department as she joined the team as an ED Tech while pursuing her AAS in Nursing at Cayuga Community College. After graduation, Fassano served as a graduate nurse in the emergency department until she became fully licensed as a registered nurse in 2016.
Fassano was promoted to senior RN in May 2021 and then to director of the emergency department in December 2021.
Melissa Purtel, RN, BSN, BSM, Director of Nursing at Oswego Health, shares, “Jane is someone who takes great pride in her work, her colleagues and her patients, and her leadership in our emergency department is outstanding. Having gained firsthand experience as an EMS provider, Jen has a community focus and builds relationships with her colleagues in the community. We are very proud of her accomplishments and look forward to a very bright future for Jen here at Oswego Health.
The relationships Fasano forged during the pandemic were important because she played a vital role in ensuring our community had access to emergency care.
Fassano coordinates and facilitates an emergency services committee between providers and local EMS agencies to identify communication breakdowns to improve access to care. In addition, she recently stepped up and received training on crisis intervention and plans to bring these resources to local emergency responders and its employees at Oswego Health.
Katherine Pagliaroli, MS, BSN, RN, SVP of Clinical Operations and Chief Nursing Officer, said, “Jane is a great example of how nurses are encouraged to grow within our system, and with our community partners. Working together to provide the best local healthcare.”
The Rural Health Champion Award is part of Oswego County’s Rural Health Network in celebration of National Rural Health Day, November 17.
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 health needs. National Rural Health Day celebrates the “power of the rural”, highlights the unique health challenges faced by rural citizens and calls for rural health service providers, state offices of rural health and other rural health services to address those challenges. Demonstrates the efforts of the stakeholders. It’s also an opportunity to honor the selfless, community-minded, “can do” spirit prevalent in rural America.
“It will be a challenge to find anyone in the county whose child, friend, family member or Tina herself has not been vaccinated,” Cleveland said. “Tina loves working with residents as well as other health professionals in and around Oswego County. Whether it is in vaccination clinics, screening for communicable diseases, working in STD or HIV clinics, or visiting patients at home; Tina’s straightforward high-energy service delivery and interaction with coworkers provided a breath of fresh air.”
Bourgeois’ welcoming personality and trademark great hair have become synonymous with the Oswego County Health Department.
“Tina has been a staple for the Oswego County Health Department for more than 30 years, during which time she has positively impacted thousands of residents,” said OCHD Director of Preventive Health Services Jodi Martin, MSN-PHN, RN. Told. “The past few years have been very difficult times for public health, so it is truly an honor to have one of our own frontline staff members recognized for her hard work and dedication to this community.”
Never taking himself too seriously, he doesn’t realize how much of an impact he’s made at Oswego
“Tina has earned rock star status among her public health peers and community members,” Cleveland said. “Tina’s knowledge, personality, patience and passion for public health is admirable and she works tirelessly to improve the health and lives of Oswego County residents. She is a true rural health champion and deserves the recognition and prestige she has earned during her career in the health department.
“We are proud to salute Tina and Jen for the amazing work they do,” Cleveland said. “They really do make a difference and are deserving recipients of the Rural Health Champion Award.”
Operating under the auspices of Oswego County Opportunities, the Rural Health Network is a federation of health care providers and human service providers in Oswego County. Members take a collaborative approach, working together to address the major health issues facing Oswego County. For more information about Oswego’s Rural Health Network, visit the Rural Health Network (RHN) pages on the OCO website at www.oco.org.
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