Westchesters Top Health Leaders 2012: Amy Ansehl, RN

Amy Ansehl is filling important voids in our healthcare knowledge. Indeed, the 55-year-old assistant professor—who is the director of public health practice at New York Medical College’s (NYMC) School of Health Sciences and Practice and the executive director of the Partnership for a Healthy Population—helps educate and advocate for Westchester residents, especially those in poorly educated, high-need communities.

As the NYMC’s practicum coordinator, every year Ansehl places more than 100 of the College’s students in community-based internships at 80 agencies throughout the county. Her students have helped the March of Dimes Foundation educate women about the risks of preterm births, worked with the United Way on its community data book, and partnered with the Westchester County Department of Health on HIV education. “It’s really front-line community health,” Ansehl says.

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Her medical students’ internships also focus on health literacy. That means advising patients on how to quickly and clearly state their health problems and concerns to doctors and other healthcare providers. In today’s hurried world—one in which most people are given little “face time”—first-rate communications skills with caregivers are imperative. Ansehl also teaches medical professionals how to converse succinctly with their clients. For example, last year she coached 80 nurses from the Visiting Nurse Services in Westchester, which conducts more than 200,000 patient visits a year.

“More and more healthcare is moving from the hospital to the home,” Ansehl says. “We make a big difference in the lives of people who every day need home healthcare.”

Ansehl, who is a registered nurse and board-certified family nurse practitioner with a master’s of science in nursing, also conducts conferences during which the general public and medical professionals are updated on vital cutting-edge information. “We [at the NYMC School of Public Health and at the Partnership for a Healthy Population] are really out there in the community, whether it be through our students, our presentations, or conferences,” she says. “It’s all about making people healthier.”

Photo by John O’Donnell

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