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Health departments announce the completion of community health assessment

By Press Release

Press Release:

Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming County Health Departments, in collaboration with Rochester Regional Health at United Memorial Medical Center, Orleans Community Health, and Wyoming County Community Health System, have announced the completion of the 2022-2024 GOW Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan.

Every three years, health departments, local hospitals and community partners come together to complete a comprehensive assessment of the community’s current health status and needs. This process includes collecting quantitative data, qualitative data, and community feedback related to health in our community. Much of the data looks beyond the traditional medical definition of health to examine the social determinants of health, such as housing, income, employment, education, and access to healthy food, all of which play an integral role in health outcomes.

“With the help from the public and our community partners, we were able to collect a total of 2,094 survey responses between March and June 2022,” stated Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “The Community Health Assessment compares the data trends in the GOW region and guides the selection of priority areas for the Community Health Improvement plan.”

The Community Health Improvement Plan is an interactive document that is continuously updated based on the needs of the community. It is a strategic plan for local health departments, hospitals and community partners to work on over a three-year period to address the priority areas identified in the Community Health Assessment, and to improve the community’s health. 

In the 2022-2024 GOW Community Health Improvement Plan, the community survey and community conversations helped inform some of the public health initiatives that the local health departments and hospitals will focus on in the coming years. The 2022-2024 priority areas are:

  • Prevent Chronic Disease
  • Prevent initiation of tobacco use
  • Increase cancer screening rates
  • Improve self-management skills for individuals with chronic diseases
  • Promote Well-Being and Prevent Mental and Substance Use Disorders
  • Prevent opioid overdose deaths
  • Prevent and address adverse childhood experiences

"We look forward to collaborating with community partners throughout the GOW region to address these local public health issues and improve the health of the communities we serve,” stated Laura Paolucci, Wyoming County Health Department Public Health Administrator. “By working together to address these priority areas, we can increase access to public health programs and services to meet the needs of our residents.” To access the 2022-2024 GOW Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan, visit your respective health department website. 

  • GO Health Website
  • Wyoming County Health Department

To provide comments on the GOW Community Health Assessment, complete this feedback form.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region welcomes new Medicaid enroller

By Press Release

Submitted photo and press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR), a member of the Western New York Independent Living Inc. Family of Agencies, welcomes Betesha Thompson to assist people with disabilities in the Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming County (GOW) Region as a Medicaid Application Assistance Program (MAAP) Facilitated Enroller. 

Thompson comes to ILGR after having gained experience as: a Heath Care Coordinator at East House in Rochester; a Children’s Behavior Health Service Provider at the Hillside Family of Agencies, also in Rochester; a Residential Living Specialist at Eagle Star Housing in East Pembroke; a Residential Advisor at Iroquois Job Care Center in Medina; and a Direct Support Professional at The Arc of Monroe in Rochester.

She holds a Regents Diploma from Albion High School.

Looking forward to assisting persons in need, Thompson says, "I intend to use all of my skills to make sure every individual I work with has that person-centered experience."

In this position, she will assist individuals who are over 65 years of age, legally blind, or receiving Social Security Disability in applying for Medicaid insurance by determining the type of Medicaid coverage that is best for them. She can even assist in completing the application and collecting necessary documentation to submit with the Medicaid application.

Additionally, she will conduct outreach activities to educate, engage and enroll qualified individuals who live in the GOW Region.

ILGR is delighted that Thompson is bringing her vast experience to serve the GOW region in her new capacity.

ILGR offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

Nearly half of the 3,500 COVID-19 vaccine doses at first GCC clinic booked by Erie County residents

By Press Release

NYS Mass Vaccination Clinic Targeting the Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming County Region Update:

The New York State-run temporary mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic scheduled for Friday through Tuesday at Genesee Community College (GCC) in Batavia opened for appointments on Thursday, March 4th at 7:59 a.m. and within 90 minutes all were accounted for. 

We encourage those who are still seeking vaccination to periodically check the state vaccine site as some may cancel their appointments. You can check for appointment availability here or call 1-833-697-4829.

“After careful analysis of the registrations, what we expected to happen once we were told the clinic was open to anyone eligible, regardless of residency, did happen…The GOW region will be receiving less than 25 percent of the allotted 3,500 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” said Paul Pettit, Public Health director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

“For those in the Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming (GOW) region who were able to register for this weekend’s state-run temporary mass clinic we understand how challenging it was. For those who live in our GOW region and were shut out of this clinic, we will continue to advocate for vaccine for our residents.”

Here is the breakdown by county of residence for those who will be receiving the 3,500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine at GCC over the next five days:

  • Erie County -- 1,666 spots or 47.6 percent;
  • Genesee County -- 596 spots or 17.03 percent;
  • Niagara County -- 446 spots or 12.74 percent;
  • Monroe County -- 326 spots or 9.31 percent;
  • Orleans County -- 169 spots or 4.83 percent;
  • Wyoming County -- 99 spots or 2.38 percent;
  • Livingston County -- 73 spots or 2.09 percent;
  • Ontario County -- 45 spots or 1.29 percent; and
  • 15 other counties and out-of-state residents each had less than 1 percent.

“The purpose of our request was to help increase our vaccination rate, and provide for our county residents who have been shorted throughout this pandemic," Pettit said. "This clinic assuredly did not significantly impact our rates.

"With only 864 of the 3,500 doses of vaccine remaining in our three counties, we are still well below the current statewide vaccination rate. We will continue to seek additional allocations to bring parity for the counties’ vaccination rates.”

Independent Living of the Genesee Region hires coordinator for homeless services

By Billie Owens

Submitted photo and press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) welcomes Alan Huntington to its staff to be their Program Specialist to coordinate Continuum of Care for Western New York (CoC) services in partnership with the Homeless Alliance of Western New York in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties.

A concept introduced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a Continuum of Care is a collaborative funding and planning approach that helps communities plan for and provide, as necessary, a full range of emergency, transitional, and permanent housing for homeless as well as other resources to address their needs.

He will encourage participation in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) as well as regularly meet with Warming Shelters and other organizations to provide information on resources to their direct service staff.

Huntington brings useful experience from his recent work with the City of Amarillo, Texas, where he was trained on HMIS and worked with the CoC committees to end homelessness for veterans in that area.  He was also assisting the social workers on the Coming Home housing project there which helped those who are chronically homeless and have complex needs.

Huntington holds a law degree from the University of Colorado Law School, Class of 2011. His defense of an innocent homeless man in one of his trials led to his desire to further serve the homeless. He says that, “You will find a passionate advocate for my home county and area homeless individuals in me.”

ILGR is delighted that Alan Huntington is bringing his passion and experience in helping homeless people to serve the GOW region in his new capacity.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living, Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

Observing COVID-19 precautions, ILGR continues to serve those with disabilities

By Billie Owens
Press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR), the largest organization of, and for, people with disabilities in the GOW counties, continues to stay open, using today’s technology. 

Concerns raised by the need to limit the spread of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease-2019) pandemic have changed how it serves the community. We are running support groups online and we are doing “face-to-face meetings” but they are now just over the computer or phone, to empower people with disabilities, including established consumers, new referrals, and others that have just discovered us.

Here are just some of the avenues that have been developed to connect with the community:

  • The drivers of Independence Express van transportation service are delivering food, paperwork and medicine to people with disabilities who are unable to get to and from stores, offices, and businesses, free of charge.
  • Working from home, Peer Counselors are providing person-to-person contact, offering relief for the isolation of dozens of individuals trapped in their homes.
  • Independent Living Specialists, Peer Advocates, and Health Home Care Coordinators are insuring that people with disabilities continue to receive their Benefits; participate in government programs and services; are given instructions on Independent Living Skills like cooking, cleaning, money management and other aspects of organizing a person’s life. 
  • The Medicaid Application Assistance Program is working to make sure that individuals who are blind, over 65 years old, or disabled can acquire and/or maintain the appropriate health insurance. People with disabilities will not be forgotten during this time when monitoring one’s health is critical.
  • Our Taking Control Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Program has been identified as an “essential program”, ensuring: that people with disabilities in need of in-home health care are receiving the service; that their Personal Assistants (PAs) are given proper orientation to perform the job; that hours and work benefits are managed appropriately, that the PAs are paid on time, and are reliable.
  • NY Connects works with State and local Offices of the Aging or Senior Services to enable the elderly, persons with disabilities and caregivers to access needed information and services during this time of anxiety.
  • Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service’s volunteer readers provide current news and information, as well as respite from the hour-by-hour stress of the pandemic, by broadcasting the printed word 7 days per week, 24 hours per day to people with a print disability.

Assisting their brothers and sisters with disabilities to stay safe and healthy while remaining in the community, the men and women of WNYIL are not only overcoming their own functional limitations but are giving back to the communities in which they live, work, and now fight for all of us.

If you know someone who is in need of any of these services, call ILGR at (585) 815-8501; or go to our website at  Be aware that you are not alone nor helpless.

Reception this Friday for 'Declarations from the Heart' with poetry and graphic art from artists with disabilities

By Billie Owens

ARTiculations Ability Exhibition® -- a forum for artists with disabilities in Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties to display their work publicly -- will open at Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) in Batavia on July 12.

Titled "Declarations from the Heart," it features the poerty of Jacqueline Fields. Her poetry is being displayed with graphic art provided by the UHAA.

A product of a partnership between ILGR and the University Heights Arts Association (UHAA), the Exhibit will be on display through Sept. 30th. The Opening Reception is Friday, July 12th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at ILGR’s office 319 W. Main St. in Batavia, at the Crickler Executive Business Center (former Pepsi distribution building).

Fields will be present to share information about her work at the reception.

From the artist: "I have been writing poetry for about 41 years which started from simple rhymes I included in letters and cards to friends and family. The gift of expression, especially in the form of poetry, is one of the greatest gifts from God, because I feel that it’s the doorway to the heart and mind."

Other artists with disabilities residing in the area of Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties are encouraged to submit their work to this juried competition, as there will be additional ARTiculations® planned quarterly exhibits in the future.

Independent Living has been “art partnering” for people with disabilities with the UHAA, a group of artists in North Buffalo with a commitment to community that places art in businesses and nonprofits through an established ARTpartnering program.

The organizers are pleased to note that the ARTiculations Ability Exhibitions® have “mapped” into UHAA’s system by placing a plaque with a Quick Response (QR) code scatter bar graph that can bring up information about it when scanned by your smart phone.

For questions on the event, please call Cathy DeMare at (585) 815-8501, ext. 400.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

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