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Young named winner of chamber's ATHENA Award

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The Greater Watertown – North Country Chamber of Commerce has named Denise K. Young- Executive Director, Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO) as as the 2012 ATHENA Award Recipient.

The ATHENA Award is a nationally and internationally recognized program introduced in Jefferson County in 1991, which celebrates the potential of all women as valued members and leaders of the community and recognizes those who support them. The ATHENA Award honors individuals who strive toward the highest levels of professional accomplishment, and those who excel in their chosen fields, have devoted time and energy into their community in a meaningful way, and who open paths so that others may follow.

The selection committee, composed of previous award recipients, reviewed the nominations using the official ATHENA International selection criteria and chose Young as this year's recipient. Thomas H. Carman, President & CEO of Samaritan Medical Center nominated Young for the award.

Hired in 2007 as the first Executive Director of the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization, Mrs. Young has been a driving force in improving the healthcare system in the region. Her leadership, vision and personal commitment to healthcare and wellness have resulted in the transformation of our region's healthcare system to one that is progressive, responsive and robust. This has been accomplished by bringing the right people to the table to work collaboratively to leverage resources and build consensus to align services to meet community need. Under her leadership, the FDRHPO accomplishments are numerous, including:
• More than $84 million in master-planned upgrades to the five hospitals in the Fort Drum health service area.
• $500,000 commitment from NYS to address growing behavioral health needs.
• Four newly licensed and operational outpatient mental health clinics and an additional 70 Tricare
credentialed behavioral health providers.
• Over $16 million secured for technology infrastructure upgrades to connect healthcare facilities and clinics surrounding Fort Drum.
• Over $648,000 in state and local investment to improve coordination and delivery of EMS surrounding Fort Drum.
• Mobilization of $4.1 million in community and state and federal grant investment for physician and allied health professional recruitment in the region.
Denise's accomplishments, her volunteerism and personal commitment to health and wellness can be seen throughout the community. Here are a few of the many programs she has participated in the North Country:
• Watertown Noon Rotary – Immediate Past President, Director and 2nd Vice President.
• Founder of the Watertown Rotary Interact Leadership Institute
• 2010 Recipient of Fort Drum's Woman of the Mountain Award for her service to the Soldiers and their families.
• North Country Healthy Heart Network – Board, Executive Committee Member
• Northern New York Rural Healthcare Alliance – Board Member
• Jefferson County Community Services Board – Past Chair

“I am humbled and honored to be selected," said Ms. Young in a press release from the chamber. "There are so many outstanding role models in my life who have mentored and guided me. Truly, anything that has been accomplished has been through the hard work and dedication of an extraordinary team of people and the support of my family. It is they who deserve to be recognized.”

The 2012 ATHENA Award recipient will be presented with the award at the Chamber's Fall Dinner, Thursday Sept. 13 at Ryan's Lookout in Henderson Harbor.
Reservations can be made by contacting the Greater Watertown – North Country Chamber of Commerce at 1241 Coffeen Street or online at www.watertownny.com. For more information call 315-788-4400 or email events@watertownny.com.

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