NoCo Celebrates National School-Based Health Care Awareness Month

North Country Family Health Center (NCFHC) joins school-based health center providers and advocates from across the nation in recognizing the month of February as National School-Based Health Care Awareness Month. National School-Based Health Care Awareness Month is sponsored by the School-Based Health Alliance, a national organization that promotes and supports school-based health centers to assure all children received high quality, comprehensive healthcare. The Alliance is celebrating the month with the theme, Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies.

North Country Family Health Center opened its first school-based primary care site at North Elementary in the Watertown City School District in December 1993. Since 1993, NCFHC has opened five additional School-Based Health Centers and expanded its school-based services to include not only medical services but dental and behavioral health services as well.

Today, NCFHC operates six School-Based Health Centers in the Watertown City and South Jefferson School Districts. Students in the Watertown City School Districts are served at School-Based Health Centers at North Elementary (serves all elementary aged children), Harold T. Wiley Intermediate School, Case Middle School, and Watertown High School. Students in the South Jefferson School District are served at School-Based Health Centers at Mannsville Manor Elementary and Wilson Elementary. Students who attend the Clarke Middle/High School at South Jefferson utilize the School-Based Health Centers at either Mannsville or Wilson Elementary. In addition to the six School-Based Health Centers NCFHC also provides school-based dental only services to students at Alexandria Central, Copenhagen Central, Lowville Academy & Central School, and South Lewis Central. In 2017, over 2,000 students utilized the School-Based Health Centers. Currently NCFHC staffs 19 employees within its school-based sites.

“We are very proud of our School-Based Health Centers and our employees who staff our Centers,” comments Joey Marie Horton, Executive Director, North Country Family Health Center. “Having the opportunity to provide care to children right where they are, in school, is critical. Our goal is to help students stay well and avoid school absences – we truly believe that healthy students learn better.”

No student is turned away from the School-Based Health Centers and all services are provided with no out of pocket cost to families. Therefore, health insurance co-pays and deductible do not apply to families. Students are seen for sickness, chronic health issues, annual physical exams, dental services and counseling services to name a few. “As a working parent within the Watertown City School District I utilize the NCFHC School-Based Health Center for my children, who attend South Jefferson schools. It is a fabulous service and I feel confident with my children’s diagnosis. I don’t have to take extra time off from work when my kids are sick because they have the opportunity to be seen right at school, and if my kids need a prescription it is ready to go when I get to the pharmacy,” states Rebecca Sullivan, Physical Education teacher Ohio Street School.

“Our School-Based Health Centers are a great back-up plan for parents. We communicate with student’s primary care provider and coordinate the care they need – whether it is just a cold or a chronic ongoing issue,” states Heather Lupia, School-Based Health Center Administrator. “We enjoy being at the schools and are proud of all the services we can offer students.”

Enrollment in school-based health centers is easy! Parents, or guardians, can visit the North Country Family Health Center’s website,, on the site’s main page under school-based care to sign-up their son or daughter. Anyone needing assistance enrolling their son or daughter can contact the School-Based Health Center Administrator, Heather Lupia, at

NoCo Welcomes New Internist, Joanne La Fleur, MD

Joanne La Fleur, Internist North Country Family HealthCenterNorth Country Family Health Center (NCFHC) is pleased to welcome Joanne La Fleur, MD to their staff as the Health Center’s new Internist. Dr. La Fleur will provide care for adults and specializes in the day to day management of chronic diseases. She joins the Health Center’s current team of community-based primary care providers: Scott Stern, MD; Farhana Asim, MD; Kit Veley, FNP; and Kate Gates, ANP-BC all who coordinate care for adults and children within the Center’s Pediatrics & Family Practice located at 238 Arsenal Street in Watertown.

Dr. La Fleur completed her undergraduate education at McMaster University in 2007 and then received her Doctorate of Medicine from Michigan State University in 2012. She completed her residency at the Medical College of Georgia, July 2012 – August 2015 and was awarded Resident of the Month at the Medical College of Georgia in 2015. Dr. La Fleur is a member of the American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association, and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Prior to joining the staff at the Family Health Center she was a Hospitalist in Lawton, Oklahoma at the Comanche County Memorial Hospital.

“We are fortunate to welcome Dr. La Fleur to our staff. Her training in chronic disease and disease prevention will assist our adult patients – especially our aging patients who deal with complicated conditions. She understands the importance of care coordination and integration of services which are tenants of the Health Center’s model of care and is skilled at proving patient health education and prevention strategies,” comments Joey Marie Horton, Executive Director, North Country Family Health Center. “Dr. La Fleur will complement our existing staff and makes a great addition to the North Country medical community.”

If you are interested in making an appointment with Dr. La Fleur please call our office at 315-782-9450. She is actively taking new patients age 18+. Additionally, the Health Center’s other pediatric and family practice providers are actively taking new patients as well. Please call to make your appointment, our patient service representatives would be glad to assist you. North Country Family Health Center prides itself on being a Patient-Centered Medical Home and provides services that are accessible, high quality, affordable, patient-centered, and integrated.

Internists are regularly referred to as “a doctor for adults” because they focus on the management of chronic medical problems and the reoccurrences of those problems. Internists typically assist patients who have had heart failure, strokes, lung problems, and or high blood pressure. Internists work with patients to assist with issues such as weight management, smoking, and other infectious and chronic diseases that compromise a patient’s health.

“I look forward to my new position at North Country Family Health Center and am excited to begin working with and educating patients,” comments Dr. La Fleur. “My treatment approach is that of a partnership with my patients. My job is to help with day to day management of my patient’s chronic problems in addition to helping them prevent secondary health issues.” Dr. La Fleur resides in Watertown with her husband, Chris, and their two children. The family enjoys exploring all that the North Country and the Thousand Islands has to offer.




Mannsville Manor Elementary School-Based Health & Dental Program Celebrates 10 Years of Operation

IMG_1481North Country Family Health Center (NCFHC) is pleased to announce its School-Based Health & Dental Program at the Mannsville Manor Elementary, 423 North Main Street, Mannsville is celebrating its 10th year of providing health and dental services at the school. NCFHC will host a luncheon from 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Friday, November 3rd for all staff at the elementary school in honor of the 10 year celebration.

“Mannsville Manor Elementary is a very special site as it was our first School-Based Health Center to open within the South Jefferson Central School District 10 years ago,” comments Joey Marie Horton, Executive Director, North Country Family Health Center. “All students are eligible to enroll in the School-Based Health & Dental Program regardless of income or current healthcare provider. Enrollment is a great back-up plan in case a student doesn’t have a healthcare provider.” Startup funding for the Mannsville site was provided by a $65,000 grant from the Northern New York Community Foundation.

Mannsville Elementary School-Based Health Center is staffed by a family nurse practitioner, a patient service representative who coordinates student visits to the nurse practitioner, and a licensed clinical social worker who is able to provide behavioral health services when necessary. Staff care for students when they are sick or if they experience chronic care issues such as diabetes or asthma. Well child and annual physical exams are also offered to students. In addition the School-Based Center offers preventative dental services with the help of a dental hygienist and a patient service representative who schedules regular dental cleanings for the students. “We are proud to serve 275 of the 338 elementary students at Mannsville – up approximately 12.7% from last year,” comments Heather Lupia, School-Based Health Center Program Administrator.

“Many parents choose to enroll their children just in case – in case they are not able to leave work to care for a sick child or they are not able to get their sick child into their primary care provider as soon as they’d like. Additionally, many parents choose us as their primary care provider for their children.”

In addition to the Mannsville Manor Elementary School, NCFHC also hosts a similar School-Based Health & Dental Program at Maynard P. Wilson Elementary. South Jefferson Middle and High School students can utilize the Mannsville Elementary or Wilson Elementary site, for their medical needs too. Preventative dental services are provided at Clarke Middle/High School. Similar to South Jefferson Central School District, NCFHC has School-Based Health Centers within the Watertown City School District at North Elementary, Wiley Elementary, Case Middle School and Watertown High School. NCFHC provides dental only sites at Alexandria Central, Copenhagen Central, Lowville Academy & Central School and South Lewis School Districts.             “It has been proven time and time again that healthy, happy students are more engaged in school in general,” comments Jeff Ginger, Principal, Mannsville Manor Elementary. “Our students, as well as our teachers and staff, are lucky to have the on-site health and dental services provided by the North Country Family Health Center’s School-Based Health & Dental Program. As Principal I understand the importance of having healthy, happy students attending my school each and every day.”

North Country Family Health Center Awarded Business of the Year

Congratulations to the staff and Board of Directors!

The Greater Watertown North Country Chamber of Commerce presented the Family Health Center as Business of the Year in the non-profit category of 50 or more employees.

Joey Marie Horton, Executive Director, accepted the award today at the Chamber’s luncheon. Ms. Horton commented, “I would like to dedicate this award to the staff of North Country Family Health Center that have built a legacy of caring and have remained dedicated to our mission of imporving the heatlh, wellness, and quality of life of individuals in our community since our founding in 1971. It is because of our amazing staff – and their passion as well as their dedication to serve – that made this award possible.”

LeRay Family Dental Celebrates Opening

June 12, 2017
North Country Family Health Center’s new Family Dental office, at LeRay Medical, celebrates its official opening!

Community, board and staff members enjoyed tours and refreshments at the new Family Dental office.

The Family Dental office provides services to both adults and children and is located just off Route 11, outside Fort Drum’s main gate. Schedule your appointment today ~ 315-782-2628.

Pictured in the ribbon cutting ceremony were: (left to right) Denise Young, NOCO Board President; Mary Jo Richards, representative from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s office; Bonnie Fikes, representative from Senator Patty Ritchie’s office; Nicole Quintin, Dental Practice Administrator; Jana Shaw, MD, Chief Medical Officer; Cheryl Fazio, Clinical Operations Officer; Dr. K. Nicole Bell, DDS, Family Dental; and Joey Marie Horton, Executive Director.