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Health planning organization shuffles positions amongst staff


The Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization didn’t have to look very far to fill a handful of positions recently.

After Joey Marie Horton moved Feb. 10 from the nonprofit to become the permanent executive director of the North Country Family Health Center, the organization simply shuffled its staff members around to fill positions Mrs. Horton left vacant and others that needed to be filled.

“We’re very pleased that we have skilled folks internally that can move into those positions and leadership roles,” said Denise K. Young, FDRHPO executive director.

One rising star who has moved up the ranks within the organization throughout the past couple of years is Tracy L. Leonard. In just five years, she went from FDRHPO’s pipeline outreach coordinator, helping to connect students with health education and career opportunities, to the regional recruitment project manager, to most recently being named to Mrs. Horton’s old position as director of the North Country Healthcare Providers Educational and Research Fund Inc.

“It’s very exciting to be able to move up professionally,” she said. “It’s a good direction to where I want to be. The transition certainly is exciting. It can be scary, but it’s nice to know I have resources and people around me to support me.”

As the network director, Ms. Leonard will remain an employee of the organization, as the nonprofit provides administrative support to the network. That includes overseeing day-to-day operations, developing the budget, reviewing programs, developing goals and fostering collaboration among participating hospitals.

She said 15 percent of her time will remain as regional recruitment project manager, and the remaining 85 percent will be focused on the North Country Healthcare Providers Educational and Research Fund, which is a limited liability corporation formed by several hospitals in St. Lawrence, Franklin, Essex, Jefferson and Clinton counties.

Ms. Leonard is studying for her master’s degree in organizational leadership through SUNY Potsdam. She said she hopes to graduate in the spring of 2015.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Young said, FDRHPO will hold off on searching for a deputy director, a position Mrs. Horton also had filled.

Ms. Leonard was responsible for FDRHPO’s rural health program grant, but that is something that Ian D. Grant will take over. What will happen with Mr. Grant’s old position of community and patient engagement team leader has yet to be determined, Ms. Leonard said.

“We need to assess how things go,” she said.

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