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Holly Mascolo ’17 addresses the issue of food insecurity in Morrisville, NY

By ramann on August 16, 2016

Written by Holly Mascolo ’17

Holly Mascolo '17 enjoying a peanut butter and jelly lunch party

Holly Mascolo ’17 enjoying a peanut butter and jelly lunch party with co-workers

Growing up in a suburban community on Long Island, I never had to think twice about grocery shopping. I would wake up to a refrigerator full of fresh vegetables, meat, and milk. If we ever needed any more food, or to pick up something quickly, my parents would drive less than five minutes away to one of the three grocery stores within a five-minute drive from our house. I never stopped to consider a scenario different from this or to think about how fortunate I really was.

The first time I heard the phrase “food security” was my sophomore year at Colgate. Lots of communities– and in particular, low-income communities– lack access to fresh grocery items in their area. This often leaves individuals with no choice but to shop at nearby convenience stores for the quick items that they need, or to travel far distances out of their communities to shop. However, leaving the immediate area is not always a viable option for individuals, especially the elderly or those who do not have access to a car or other means of transportation. These communities where individuals lack access to fresh food and a variety of groceries are thus considered food insecure. According to the USDA (2015), food deserts are typically defined as communities that are low-income and have low-access to fresh foods, normally located one mile away from a supermarket in urban areas and ten miles in rural areas. ¹ Living in a food secure area my entire life left me fairly oblivious to this issue until I began to learn about it in my environmental studies classes at Colgate.

The issue of food insecurity can be found right in Madison County. In May of last year, the only grocery store in Morrisville closed its doors, leaving residents in the area to travel seven or more miles to the nearest grocery store in Hamilton, or further to other neighboring grocery stores. While Morrisville is not technically considered a food desert, this lack of a grocery store is seen as a problem within the community. It is especially a challenge for individuals who lack access to transportation, which means mainly the elderly, students at the nearby college, or those who struggle to travel far in the winter weather. There is a certain irony to the fact that Morrisville is nearly classified as a food desert, as there are so many farms in the local area and so many opportunities for fresh food to be purchased during the growing season in Upstate NY. However, without the retail infrastructure in place to bring food to individuals in Morrisville, it is difficult for people to access the foods that they need to lead a healthy lifestyle without leaving the community. Read more

Erin Burke ’18 curates new exhibit at the Oneida County Historical Society

By ramann on August 16, 2016

Written by Erin Burke, ’18

Erin Burke '18 with part of her finished exhibit at the society

Erin Burke ’18 with part of her finished exhibit at the Society

When you walk into a museum, the exhibits are neatly finished, cleanly executed, and seem almost timeless. The narrative presented to you speaks with the authority of fact. Blockaded behind glass cases and signs that say, “Please do not touch,” the artifacts take on a certain mysticism that often accompanies things that are “forbidden.” So how do those objects get there? Who chooses them? This summer, Erin Burke ’18 got to explore what happens behind-the-scenes at the Oneida County Historical Society. Read more

Jeffrey Marr ’18 works with Hudson Headwaters Health Network to improve care

By ramann on August 15, 2016

Contributed by Jeffrey Marr, ’18

Jeffrey Marr '18 at Hudson Headwaters Health Network, Warrensburg, NY

Jeffrey Marr ’18 at Hudson Headwaters Health Network, Warrensburg, NY

This summer I had the opportunity to work as an intern with Hudson Headwaters Health Network through the Upstate Institute’s Field School. Hudson Headwaters is a large non-profit health network in the Adirondack region that covers an area of around 5,000 square miles and serves a population of around 80,000 people. Hudson Headwaters provides comprehensive and coordinated healthcare services to this population including primary care, urgent care and specialty services. In doing so, it seeks to provide each person with access to quality preventative care to ensure that they, and the population as a whole, are as healthy as possible. Hudson Headwaters serves a rural area that is at risk of being under-served by the healthcare system. While Hudson Headwaters serves a heterogeneous patient population, many of its patients are low-income and are at risk of falling through the cracks. To combat this, Hudson Headwaters provides millions of dollars worth of uncompensated care and pharmacy discounts every year. Read more

Ashlea Raemer ’18 strengthens community connections to local agriculture

By ramann on August 9, 2016

Contributed by Ashlea Raemer ’18

Ashlea Raemer '18

Ashlea Raemer ’18

Madison County is home to one of the strongest agricultural communities in New York with agriculture being the base of the county’s economy. In 2005 this community created the Madison County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan that cited four main goals, one of which was agriculture economic development. This led to the creation of the Agriculture Economic Development (AED) program in 2006 when the county funded the AED specialist position, housed out of Madison County Cornell Cooperative Extension, and created the Agriculture Advisory Committee to serve as directors for the AED program. The AED program focuses on marketing Madison County agriculture, assisting farmers, and attracting new farmers to the area.

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Luke Felty ’18 considers availability of local food in restaurants

By Upstate Institute on August 5, 2016

Contributed by Luke Felty, ’18

Luke Felty '17 and the Partnership for Community Development in Hamilton

Luke Felty ’18 and the Partnership for Community Development in Hamilton

According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, there are over 800 farms in Madison County. Dairy, beef, eggs, and produce; ­­there’s a huge supply of food being grown right here, but how much of that food gets consumed here? Direct to consumer sales, like farmers markets, offer an important outlet for small farms, but why aren’t there more restaurants featuring products from some of these 800 farms? Working alongside the Partnership for Community Development (PCD), I set out to help identify the barriers to local food access that make local food systems more difficult to interact with than traditional systems of distribution. The PCD is a not for profit economic development agency, but what does local food have to do with economic development? Why should we want local food in our area restaurants anyway?

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Lydia Ulrich ’16 continues independent study and collaborates with Bassett Research Institute

By ramann on August 2, 2016
This post was written by Lydia Ulrich ’16
Lydia Ulrich '16 in front of Bassett Hospital

Lydia Ulrich ’16 in front of Bassett Hospital

When Professor Ellen Kraly approached me last fall and asked if I would be interested in producing geographic information systems (GIS) maps for Dr. Richard Brown, a psychiatrist at Bassett Medical Center, I had no idea that nearly a year later this independent study would turn in to the opportunity to work directly with Bassett Research Institute. My field school fellowship arose as an opportunity to continue the efforts of this independent study project with Dr. Brown and Professor Kraly as my advisors and Bassett Research Institute as my community partner for the summer. Bassett Research Institute is part of the Bassett Healthcare Network and is located at Bassett Medical Center, an acute care inpatient teaching facility in Cooperstown, New York. Bassett Healthcare Network is an integrated health care system that includes six corporate affiliated hospitals and a regional network that provides preventive, primary and specialty outpatient care at 28 rural health clinics and 19 school-based health centers in nine counties across Upstate New York.

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Jackie Hanrahan ’18 helps Chenango United Way bring medical services to Greater Chenango County

By ramann on August 1, 2016
This post was written by Jackie Hanrahan ’18
Jackie Hanrahan '17 at the IRT

Jackie Hanrahan ’18 at the IRT

Despite the recent political activity surrounding health care in the United States, many people continue to struggle finding affordable and accessible health insurance. In particular, those in rural areas – including much of Central New York – are unable to see a doctor regularly, and have little to no access to dental, vision, and other
specialty health fields. This summer, Jackie Hanrahan ’18 has been working with the Chenango United Way to help bring medical services to the Greater Chenango County area.
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Catherine Quirion ’17 gathers and analyzes data for BRiDGES

By ramann on August 1, 2016
This post was written by Catherine Quirion ’17

The Madison County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse’s mission is to improve the quality of life of Madison county residents by providing much-needed services for individuals and families affected with problems regarding substance abuse.

Cat Quirion '17 participating in one of the Hamilton Area Community Coalition events

Cat Quirion ’17 participating in one of the Hamilton Area Community Coalition events

Within their Oneida office, BRiDGES covers an impressive realm of services, including tobacco use, alcoholism, different illicit substances use, as well as suicide prevention and overall physical and mental health.

The different programs within BRiDGES better the community through both the delivery of prevention as well as intervention programs. These programs have played a significant role in creating and promoting a healthy environment for our community ever since their start in 1985.

One big issue that is extremely relevant nowadays for the organization is the increase in marijuana use due to different societal factors, namely, that marijuana is starting to become legal in more and more states. This is where my work at BRiDGES begins. For this summer, my main task is to gather data on marijuana in the county, data that involves both use and opinions on the topic of marijuana use and potential legalization. Through speaking with different health professionals in the county, as well as many residents, I have been able to get a better understanding of the ways in which marijuana use is perceived by the population in Madison County. By the end of the summer, my task will be to compile the data I have gathered into a short report, in order to make the data more readily available to anyone interested in the topic of marijuana use.

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Steph Poland ’17 Works on the Consumer Bankruptcy Project at Legal Aid Society

By ramann on July 26, 2016
This post was written by Steph Poland  ’17
Steph Poland '17 and Susan Conn '79

Steph Poland ’17 and Susan Conn ’79

This summer I have had the opportunity to be an intern at Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York (LASMNY) and work directly with attorney Susan Conn, who graduated from Colgate in 1979. While interning at LASMNY, I have begun to understand the poverty levels in New York, specifically in Utica, and I have seen first-hand the impact that Legal Aid has on low-income individuals and families. Legal Aid Society is a not-for-profit law office that offers free legal information, advice, and representation to those who cannot afford an attorney. The work the people at Legal Aid do is vital for the residents of mid- New York and without the work of the secretaries, paralegals, and attorneys, many residents would be unable to receive legal aid in civil (non-criminal) cases. LASMNY provides interpreters and offers over one hundred and fifty languages to serve a wide population and offers advice regarding employment benefits, housing, special education, access to health care, divorce, family matters, domestic violence, SSD or SSI benefits, welfare, and bankruptcy.

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Meagan Herlihy ’17 organizes necessary data for Abraham House

By ramann on July 26, 2016
This post was written by Meagan Herlihy ’17
Meagan Herlihy '17 at work in Abraham House, Utica NY

Meagan Herlihy ’17 at work in Abraham House, Utica NY

Although an inevitable part of life, conversations involving death are often avoided. Society pushes aside its dying populations because the people within them cannot confront their own mortality; instead, it’s easier to ignore it. This affects the discourse around terminally ill patients of all ages. Abraham House, along with the medical support of local Hospice and Palliative Care, has been transforming the discussion on end-of-life-care. Located in Utica, Abraham House is a non-profit organization that specializes in providing 24-hour care, support and comfort, free of charge, to guests who have embraced the final moments of life. With my background in emergency medicine, interests in the medical field, and the comfort and commiseration I have around the dying, Abraham House offered the perfect fit.

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