Rural Health Network Welcomes New Providers and Recognizes Dr. David O’Brien

FULTON, NY – Representatives from the Rural Health Network of Oswego County have had a busy month as they celebrated National Rural Health Day and welcomed 21 new healthcare providers to local Network health care practices.

“We are pleased to be able to welcome such talented healthcare professionals to Oswego County,” said program coordinator Danielle Wert. “From physicians, to mid-level providers such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, their medical expertise will benefit all those that the RHN serves.”

Dr. David O'Brien
Dr. David O’Brien

In addition to welcoming the new providers, one of the highlights of the event was the presentation of the Rural Health Network Practitioner of the Year Award.

The award recognizes a physician who provides outstanding healthcare, makes a lasting contribution to the rural health care system in Oswego County, and is involved in the community.

Wert said that the nominees for the award included 5 of the areas most respected physicians: Laura Hamilton, M.D., a volunteer at the Rural and Migrant Ministries in Richland; Dr. Jay Chapman, M.D., Northern Oswego County Health Services, Inc. (Pulaski Health Center); Dr. Marie J Desravines, M.D., OCO Fulton Health Center; Corliss Varnum, M.D., Port City Family Medicine; and Dr. David O’Brien, M.D. Medical Director at St. Luke.

The recipient of the Rural Health Network Practitioner of the Year Award was Dr. O’Brien. An American Board Certified physician in Internal Medicine, Dr. O’Brien opened his private practice in Oswego in 1965 and was named medical director for St. Luke’s in 1975.

A graduate of Oswego High School and LeMoyne College, he earned his medical degree from SUNY College of Medicine at Syracuse, and his internship training at Philadelphia General Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa.

An active member of the Oswego County Medical Society, Dr. O’Brien has volunteered his time and talents on behalf of many area organizations.  In addition to caring for literally thousands of members of our community, Dr. O’Brien has used his medical skills around the world with several missions to Africa and volunteering at various hospitals in a number of countries.

In 2005, Dr. O’Brien received the St. Luke-John Foster Burden Award for his guidance and commitment to the St. Luke organization and the care he has provided, not only in his community, but also in areas of the world most in need of exceptional medical care.

“Dr. O’Brien is very deserving of this award and we pleased to be able to present him with the Rural Practitioner of the Year Award,” added Wert.

In addition to their celebration of National Rural Health Day, Wert said that the RHNOC’s advisory committee, which guides the development and activities of the Rural Health Network, has created several sub-committees to address specific health care issues in Oswego County:

County Health Issues; which addresses chronic disease, physical activity and nutrition, tobacco use and access to care.

Co-Morbid Conditions Focus Group; which addresses developmental disabilities, mental health, substance abuse, and the NYS Medicaid Health Homes initiative.

Funding and Public Policy; which looks at funding opportunities, data resources, grant writing collaboration, and training and policy issues that may impact Network members ability to serve their patients.

Health Workforce that focuses on career awareness, educational pipeline activities, recruitment and retention of health care providers and professional training and development.

Technology Committee that focuses on health information technology, electronic medical records, and other technology related health care issues.

Wert added that the Rural Health Network’s web presence is also improving.

“The RHN website is getting a new, updated look that will better reflect the mission of the network, make it easier for member providers to interact, and keep the community updated on the latest achievements of the Rural Health Network,” said Wert.

The website can be found at and will soon be available through a link from the Oswego County Opportunities’ website,

“We are fortunate to have a very robust Rural Health Network in Oswego County. We have 24 active Network member organizations, representing virtually every aspect of healthcare, that are committed to improving the delivery of and access to quality and affordable health care in Oswego County and contiguous areas,” said Wert.