Northern Area Health Education Center CEO elected to state Association of Rural Health board
Monday, October 10, 2011 - 4:43 am

CANTON -- Northern Area Health Education Center (NAHEC) Chief Executive Officer Richard K. Merchant has been elected to New York State Association of Rural Health (NYSARH) Board of Directors.

Charles F. Fahd II, FACHE, NAHEC Board of Directors Chairman and Massena Memorial Hospital CEO, said he is delighted Merchant will serve on the NYSARH Board of Directors. "Richard's experience in leadership roles for various healthcare-related organizations in Texas and now in New York and the success of the Northern Area Health Education Center make him an ideal and valuable asset to furthering the mission of the New York State Association of Rural Health”, said Fahd.

Of his appointment, Merchant said, “I am pleased to serve as a member of this board. The New York State AHEC System and NYSARH are aligned in the common goal of bettering health and human services in the state of New York, and I am optimistic that working together we can achieve greater results.”

The New York State Association for Rural Health is a not-for-profit, non-partisan, grassroots membership organization working to preserve and improve health and human services in New York State.

The New York State AHEC System seeks to enhance the quality of and access to healthcare, improve healthcare outcomes and address the health workforce needs of medically underserved communities and populations by establishing partnerships between institutions that train health professionals and the communities that need them most.

The Northern Area Health Education Center, Inc., as part of the New York State AHEC System, was established in 2001 to address healthcare workforce needs in the region. NAHEC serves Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Franklin and Clinton counties. Since its inception, NAHEC’s efforts have provided healthcare career information, guidance, and support to over 25,000 students, residents and incumbent workers in the region.

Merchant was chosen to initiate the development of NAHEC in 2001 and has served as the leader of the nonprofit organization since that time. Before that, Merchant was part of the Boulder BioSciences executive leadership team, directing the international bio-tech company in the research and development of DHA Omega 3 applications.

Merchant spent six years as a faculty member at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston in the Department of Family Medicine. During that time, he also served as the director of departmental research at the Methodist Hospital Family Practice Residency Program. He holds appointments in the department of Family Medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Medicine, and the department of Physical Therapy at Clarkson University.

The NAHEC office is on Main Street in Canton. For more information, call 379-7701 or visit NAHEC online at