Planner tackles health needs of soldiers, families, neighbors at Fort Drum

Two years after earning his master’s degree in public health, Ian Grant said he never would have imagined he’d be managing an annual budget of $1.5 million in state grants for population health.

Ian Grant, MPH

Ian Grant, MPH

That’s exactly what he’s doing as population health program manager for the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization in Northern New York.

“My role is identifying health needs and leveraging resources to address those needs through partnerships,” Grant said recently during a grand rounds presentation at Upstate. “Our coalition includes insurers, schools, chambers of commerce, and numerous community-based organizations.”

The organization’s three-county service area includes the U.S. Army base at Fort Drum, family members of the soldiers and the surrounding communities, which are mostly rural. Compared with urban populations, residents of rural areas tend to be older, poorer, sicker and more likely to be uninsured, Grant said. New York state health statistics indicate North Country residents have higher rates of adult and child obesity, binge drinking, diabetes, smoking and suicide.

Grant works with nine hospitals, three public health agencies and several community organizations to protect and improve the health of more than 250,000 residents. His group relies on a web-based health information system at www.ncnyHealthCompass.org to inform and engage community members and monitor health improvements.

He said the public health training he received through the CNYMPH program – which makes use of experts at Upstate and at Syracuse University – informs his work every day.

summercover“I get to use my CNYMPH training in research, data analysis, administration, health planning and program evaluation to help create a healthier community.”

This article appears in the summer 2015 issue of Upstate Health magazine.

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