About Us


Who we are

Established in July 2001, CNYAHEC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) community-based organization working to improve health care access, delivery, and outcomes in a 14-county region of Central New York.

The CNYAHEC service area is home to 19 hospitals located in predominantly rural areas serving a total regional population of over 1.62 million people. There are numerous geographic pockets of federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs) within the CNYAHEC region, specifically in the areas of primary health care, mental health care, and dental health care.

The mission of CNYAHEC was adopted in June 2002 and reads as follows:
CNYAHEC, through collaborative efforts, improves access to quality health care by promoting improvements in the supply, training, development and distribution of health professionals in a 14-county area.

Strategic planning is guided by the mission and allows CNYAHEC 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

As part of the larger New York State AHEC System, CNYAHEC is one of nine centers in the State of New York offering statewide capacity for addressing healthcare workforce needs.

Located in Cortland, New York, the CNYAHEC office is found in the heart of its service area and central to the counties it serves. The CNYAHEC 14-county regional service area includes Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Schuyler, Seneca, Tioga, and Tompkins counties.

Our Staff

Richard Merchant

Annabelle Fears
CNYAHEC Center Director

Jessica Dennison
CNYAHEC Program Manager

Christen Aldrich
Administration and Communications Manager
christen@hwapps.org / 530.680.5501

Whitney Callaghan
NAHEC Center Director
whitney@nahecnet.org / 315.323.5485



Ashleigh McGowan
HWNY VP of Innovation and Design
amcgowan@cnyahec.org / 607.423.9199

Christina DeLorenzo
cdelorenzo@nahecnet.org / 315.379.7701

Kris Merchant 
HWNY Director of Projects and AHEC SET Program Coordinator
kris@hwapps.org / 315.212.7517

Ben Aldrich
HWNY Director of Technology and Data Security
ben@hwapps.org / 315.244.7260

Judi Wesser
InService Solutions Specialist
jwesser@cnyahec.org / 607.863.3981

Board Members

Allison A.N. Duggan, MD, FACS
Chief Clinician Medical Director
Elevance Health

Vice Chair
David W. Felton
President & Chief Executive Officer (Retired)
Crouse Community Center Nursing Facility

Tammy L. Austin-Ketch, PhD
Dean and Professor, College of Nursing
SUNY Upstate Medical University

Fred Farley, PhD, FACHE, CNAA
Associate Professor 
College of Business
Alfred University


Gloria E. Meredith, PhD
SUNY Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences 
Founding Dean Emerita, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Binghamton University 





Shari Weiss, PhD
Executive Director
Cayuga Community Health Network

Tricia A. Peter-Clark, FACHE
President/Chief Executive Officer

Brian Forrest, SPHR
Human Resources Manager
Coach and Equipment

Kent N. Hall, MD
SVP/Physician Practices and Operations
Mohawk Valley Health System