About Us


Who we are

Established in July 2001, NAHEC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) community-based organization working to improve health care access, delivery, and outcomes in a 5-county region of Northern New York.

The NAHEC service area is home to hospitals and health care providers located in predominantly rural areas. There are numerous geographic pockets of federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs) within the NAHEC region, specifically in the areas of primary health care, mental health care, and dental health care.

The mission of NAHEC was adopted in June 2002 and reads as follows: NAHEC, through collaborative efforts, improves access to quality health care by promoting improvements in the supply, training, development and distribution of health professionals in a 5-county area.

Strategic planning is guided by the mission and allows NAHEC to focus its efforts in four priority areas:

  1. Health careers exploration
  2. Continuing education programs and services
  3. Clinical training opportunities
  4. Community partnership development

Our Region

Northern Area Health Education Center, Inc., through collaborative efforts, improves access to quality healthcare by making improvements in the supply, training, development and distribution of health professionals across various county areas.  Our Pipeline to Practice approach connects students to careers, professionals to communities, and communities to better health.  As part of the larger New York State AHEC System, NAHEC is one of nine centers in the State of New York offering statewide capacity for addressing healthcare workforce needs.  NAHEC serves Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Franklin and Clinton counties.

Our Staff

Richard Merchant
rkm@nahecnet.org | 315.379.7701

Karin Blackburn
Center Director
kblackburn@nahecnet.org | 315.379.7701

Katie Rafferty
Accounting Manager
krafferty@nahecnet.org | 315.379.7701

Kathy Hughes
Program Coordinator
khughes@nahecnet.org |  315-379-7701 Save & Exit

Board Members

Paul Dingman
Administrator (Retired)
Plattsburgh City School District

Vice Chair
Stephen E. Knight
Chief Executive Officer
United Helpers

Marlinda L. La Valley
Vice President of Administrative Services
Canton-Potsdam Hospital

Anne Richey
Executive Director
Cerebral Palsy Association of the North Country

Deborah Gifford
Elderwood of Uihlein at Lake Placid -Elderwood Senior Care





Katherine L. Beissner, P.T., Ph.D.
Dean, College of Health Professions
SUNY Upstate Medical University

Gerald Cayer
Chief Executive Officer
Lewis County General Hospital

Rich Duvall
Chief Executive Officer
Carthage Area Hospital

Steven Frederick
Vice President of Institutional Advancement
Clinton Community College

Ex-Officio Member
Carrie A. Roseamelia, PhD
Assistant Dean for Rural Medicine and Research Assistant Professor
Dept. of Family Medicine, SUNY Upstate Medical University