Distance Learning and Telemedicine Investments will Benefit More Than 12 Million Rural Residents
WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2020 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $72 million in grants to help rural residents gain access to health care and educational opportunities. These investments will benefit more than 12 million rural residents.
“Increasing access to telemedicine and distance learning is critical to building healthier and more resilient rural communities,” said Secretary Sonny Perdue. “Paired with our monumental effort to expand high-speed broadband access in rural America, these investments will help rural health care centers and education institutions reach more rural residents with essential services and opportunities. Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to be a strong partner to rural communities because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
USDA is funding 116 projects through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program. The program helps health care and education institutions buy the equipment and software necessary to deploy distance-learning and telemedicine services to rural residents.
Perdue announced investments today in Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
In Washington State, the University of Washington’s School of Dentistry’s Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program will receive a $1 million grant to install interactive video conferencing equipment at rural clinical sites in six Washington State counties and five Montana counties. This Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM)-focused project will aid in the clinical education of the dentistry students in addition to facilitating the provision of dental services to a rural population of 987,068 rural residents in both states.
“Distance learning and telemedicine make it easier and safer for thousands of rural residents to take advantage of economic, health care and educational opportunities without having to travel long distances.” said Kirk Pearson, State Director for USDA Rural Development in Washington State. “We are happy to see the University of Washington expand its tele-dentistry footprint in rural Washington and Montana.”
To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development state office. USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs 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 areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.