FULTON – In celebration of National Rural Health Day, the Rural Health Network (RHN) of Oswego County honored two community members for their exceptional leadership and work as advocates for Oswego County health providers and residents.
Oswego Health’s Emergency Department Director, Jen Fassano, RN, 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.
The awards were presented by Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) Community Health Program Director Virginia Pugh and OCO Health and Nutrition Services Director Leanna Cleveland in separate presentations honoring award recipients.
Fasano, who has a BA in Psychology from SUNY Oswego, followed her pursuit of emergency services as she began her career in healthcare as an EMT at Oswego County Ambulance. In 2014, Fasano transferred from ambulance to emergency health in Oswego where she joined the team as an ED student while pursuing the AAS in Nursing at Cayuga Community College. After graduating, Fasano worked as a graduate nurse in the emergency department until becoming fully licensed as a registered nurse in 2016.
In May 2021, Fasano was promoted to senior RN and then quickly progressed to the position of Director of the Emergency Department in December 2021.
Oswego Health’s Director of Nursing, Melissa Portell, RN, BSN, BSM shares, “Jane is someone who is very proud of her work, her colleagues, and our patients, and her leadership in our ED is outstanding. Having first-hand experience as an EMS provider, Jane is community-focused and builds on the relationships she builds She connects with her colleagues here in the community. We are very proud of her accomplishments and look forward to Jane’s very bright future here at Oswego Health.”
Throughout the pandemic, the relationships Fasano built have been pivotal as she has been instrumental in ensuring our community has access to emergency care.
Fasano coordinates and facilitates the Emergency Services Committee between service providers and local EMS agencies to identify communication breakdowns to improve access to care. In addition, she recently stepped up and received crisis intervention training and plans to provide these resources to local emergency responders and her staff at Oswego Health.
“Jen is a great example of how we can encourage nurses to grow within our system, working with our community partners to provide great local health care,” said Kathryn Pagliaroli, MS, BSN, RN, Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations and Chief Nursing Officer.
The Rural Health Champion award is part of Oswego County’s Rural Health Network’s oversight of National Rural Health Day, which falls on November 17.
Created by the National Organization of Rural Health Government Offices, National Rural Health Day recognizes that rural communities are great places to live and work and have unique health care needs. National Rural Health Day celebrates the “power of the countryside,” highlighting the unique health care challenges faced by rural citizens and showcasing the efforts of rural health care providers, government offices of rural health and other rural stakeholders to address these challenges. It’s also an opportunity to honor the selfless, community-minded, “can do” spirit that pervades rural America.
“It would be hard to find someone in the county who hasn’t had a child, friend, family member, or themselves vaccinated by Tina,” Cleveland said. Tina loves working with residents, as well as other health professionals in and around Oswego County. Whether that be in vaccination clinics, investigating infectious diseases, working in STD or HIV clinics, or visiting patients at home; Tina’s high-energy service delivery and interaction with colleagues provides a breath of fresh air.”
Bourgeois’ welcoming personality and signature gorgeous hair have become synonymous with the Oswego County Health Department.
“Tina has been a staple of the Oswego County Health Department for more than 30 years, and during that time she has positively impacted thousands of residents,” said Judy Martin, OCHD’s Office Preventive Health Services Director, Judy Martin, MSN-PHN, RN. “The past few years have been a very difficult time for public health, so to recognize one of our female frontline employees for her hard work and dedication to this community is a real honor.”
Not taking anyone seriously, she is unaware of the level of influence she has had on Oswego
“Tina achieved rock star status among her public health peers and members of the community with whom she interacted,” Cleveland added. “Tina’s knowledge, personality, patience, and passion for public health are commendable as she works tirelessly to improve the health and lives of the people of Oswego County. She is a true champion in rural health and deserves the recognition and reputation she has earned during her career in health management.”
“We are proud to be able to salute Tina and Jane for the amazing work they do,” Cleveland added. “They really make a difference and deserve to be awarded the Rural Health Champion award.”
The Rural Health Network is sponsored by Oswego County Opportunities, a consortium of health care and human service providers in Oswego County. Working together Members take a collaborative approach to addressing the major health issues found in Oswego County. For more information about the Oswego Rural Health Network, visit the Rural Health Network (RHN) pages on the OCO website, www.oco.org.
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