With Keuka College President Amy Storey standing at his side, Sen. Chuck Schumer on Wednesday pledged his continued support for $1.6 million in federal funds toward the College’s proposed community outpatient clinic – a facility that would provide healthcare services to the greater community while training the next generation of medical professionals.
Sharing the stage was Keuka College alumna Natalie Payne ’14, executive director of the Saunders Finger Lakes Museum. The senator is also seeking $2 million toward the construction of a new museum building at the Branchport site – a total of $3.6 million that he called “the shot in the arm the Yates County economy needs to boost both its tourism industry and public health workforce.”
“Just three short years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Finger Lakes’ bustling tourist economy hard and simultaneously left our healthcare system extremely vulnerable,” Sen. Schumer said during a press conference at the Branchport museum. “I have fought to deliver historic investments to help New York recover from the pandemic, and now I have secured a major federal boost to help Yates County build back stronger than before.”
Operating as part of Keuka College’s School of Health and Human Services, the proposed Rural Community Outpatient Clinic would provide a variety of medical and therapy services, meeting a crucial need in a county that is chronically short of adequate healthcare resources.
“The clinic would provide primary healthcare, counseling, athletic training, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and wellness services to both on-campus students and underserved residents surrounding the College,” said President Storey. “It would also help us provide clinical training opportunities for some 100 students per year in our healthcare programs, addressing the severe shortage of clinical training opportunities in New York state and, ultimately, the statewide shortage of healthcare professionals.”
Keuka College has a long history of educating health and human service majors in programs including nursing, occupational therapy, and social work. Approximately 70% of Keuka College alumni subsequently reside in New York.
“This $1.6 million investment will be game-changing for Keuka College, its students, and the surrounding Finger Lakes community,” said Sen. Schumer, the Senate’s majority leader. “These federal dollars will not only provide affordable and accessible healthcare to 1,000 area residents but will also address the severe shortage of healthcare workers in Yates County and provide vital resources as the community continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Along with funding for the outpatient clinic, Sen. Schumer outlined the $2 million he’s seeking to complete the construction of the new Saunders Finger Lakes Museum at a former Branchport school site.
“For years the Finger Lakes Museum has been a dream for this community,” he said. “But now with this funding I have secured, we are one step closer to finally making it a reality.”
Museum Director Payne said the completed museum will increase a sense of pride and awareness for the region while encouraging appreciation for the greater Finger Lakes and New York state.
“Our 30-acre campus will be a place for enjoyment, education, and inspiration throughout all seasons for youth, families, adults, and the increasing tourist and resident populations surrounding our 11 Finger Lakes,” she said.
Funding has yet to be finalized. Both projects are included in the fiscal year 2024 Agriculture-FDA bill that was recently approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee but the entire 2024 appropriations package needs congressional approval later this year.