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Karen Watt is recognized for her service to community health center

Posted 8 November 2018 at 2:30 pm

Press Release, Orleans Community Health

File photos by Tom Rivers: Karen Watt, chairwoman of Oak Orchard Health, is pictured inside the center’s Albion facility on Route 31.

ALBION – Karen Watt, chairwoman of the board of directors for Oak Orchard Health, has been honored by the Community Health Care Association of New York State.

During that group’s annual conference on Oct. 21, Watt was presented with the Rosemarie Forstner Award. Each year, CHCANYS honors its trailblazers and those who are working today to ensure access to high quality health care for all. The Rosemarie Forstner Award honors exemplary health center staff or board members who show a distinctive level of excellence and consistent participation in the center’s operations for at least three years.

Oak Orchard Health nominated Watt because of her inspiring passion and understanding of the issues facing health centers, and most importantly, their patients. A member of the Board of Directors for 19 years, she is a true advocate and champion for the mission of community health centers, especially Oak Orchard. Karen is very well versed in how a good community health center operates in order to take the best possible care of its patients.

She is deeply committed to the health care of the migrant farmworker population – the very people Oak Orchard was created to serve. She embodies their core values of excellence, collaboration, compassion and innovation and is a true supporter of the mission, which is to cultivate health and wellness by providing engaged and innovative medical, dental, and vision care for our community.

Karen Watt and her grandson Evan lead a walk to raise funding for local cancer patients at Watt Farms on Oct. 29, 2016. The farm for 11 years hosted a walk that raised about $350,000.

Watt is the co-owner of Watt Farms in Albion. She has served as president of the Orleans County Farm Bureau and as a director on the New York Farm Bureau board of directors, advocating for the fruit industry and direct markets.

In addition to her advocacy for migrant farm worker health as a board member of Oak Orchard Health, she has served on the National Advisory Council on Migrant Health, including a year as its chairwoman. She is currently Vice Chair of the board of the National Center of Farm-Worker Health and received the 2013 Outstanding Migrant Health Center Board Member Award from NACHC, the National Association of Community Health Centers.

Watt is also an advocate for breast cancer research and organized the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Orchard Walk at Watt Farms each fall from 2005-2017. For 11 years, the event raised over $350,000 for the American Cancer Society and in 2016-17 raised money for the local Genesee-Orleans Cancer Services Program.

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