This post was written by Jackie Hanrahan ’18
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.
The Chenango United Way is a not-for-profit organization that works to improve the quality of life for residents of Chenango County. They focus on funding programs and projects in three main categories: education, income, and health. For both 2015 and 2016, Chenango County was awarded with a dual year medical Innovative
Readiness Training (IRT). What does this even mean? An IRT mission is a real world training opportunity to improve military readiness while providing no-cost services to communities in need. This year 180+ military personnel from across the country came together to provide medical, dental, vision, and veterinary services to 1850 patients for ten days.
As the lead agency for the IRT event this year, the Chenango United Way worked to bring publicity to the event, recruit 400+ volunteers, and, along with the military, plan and implement the logistics. Prior to the event, Jackie helped to register volunteers online all while tracking overall volunteer numbers and filling urgent needs. Further, Jackie created and structured a volunteer orientation presentation that was presented to every registered volunteer the week leading up to the IRT.
While the military personnel worked hard to provide effective and efficient services to patients, the IRT executive committee and the United Way staff donated their time to maintain the structure and security on the civilian side of the event. Throughout the ten days, Jackie organized volunteers and oversaw the patient flow of the event. Whether it was checking in volunteers, delivering water throughout the site, or transporting patients to their cars, Jackie worked to ensure that the event ran as smoothly as possible.
While health care continues to be a large issue for those in Chenango County, the IRT contributed to easing this urgent need. In addition to the 1850 patients seen, 10,310 individual services were rendered saving the community over $914,000. While this event is not a permanent solution, it acts as an enormous step in creating a healthier and better cared for Chenango County.