U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development and Oklahoma State Director Kenneth Corn announced today more than $152,000 in grant, which was awarded on behalf of the Biden Administration to Oklahoma Joint Reconstruction Institute to expand access to quality healthcare in rural Oklahoma.
Funding is through USDA Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program. The program helps rural education and health care entities remotely reach students, patients and outside expertise. These capabilities make world-class education and health care opportunities accessible in rural communities. The ability to use virtual education and telehealth resources is critical to reach remote and rural towns and tribal communities in Oklahoma for these areas to grow and prosper.
“Rural Oklahoma has had a lapse in access to specialty healthcare services for far too long, and President Biden has made it a priority in his administration to start remedying those shortfalls,” Corn said. “When I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Paul Jacob at the Oklahoma Joint Reconstruction Institute, he stated that this program will have the opportunity to help so many rural and tribal communities in our state by allowing his medical team to come to them instead of driving multiple hours to the metro.”
This competitive program helps rural communities use advanced telecommunications technology to connect to each other - and the world - overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that promote equity and economic opportunity in rural America, specifically those that advance these key priorities:
- Supporting health care needs stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, and helping prepare for future pandemic events
- Ensuring racial equity
- Rebuilding our rural economy
- Addressing the climate crisis
“The Biden-Harris Administration has not forgotten Rural Oklahoma and they are committed to delivering immediate changes by harnessing technology, so we can make meaningful and impactful changes for better health outcomes to so many rural Oklahomans through this program,” Corn said. “I can’t think of a better partner than Oklahoma Joint Reconstruction Institute to help us deliver that change to our friends and neighbors across the Sooner State.”
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. To learn more, visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/ok.