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USDA Announces Funding to Increase Access to Educational and Health Care Services in Rural Utah

Jamie Welch Jaro
Salt Lake City
Release Date

USDA Rural Development Utah State Director Randy Parker today announced that USDA is awarding grants for four projects to increase access to job training, educational and health care services in Utah.

“Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has emphasized that e-connectivity is essential to the prosperity of our rural cities and towns,” Parker said. “USDA is committed to partnering with organizations that expand distance learning and telemedicine services to connect rural communities to the best education and health care, including challenges associated with opioid misuse.”

USDA is awarding a total of $1,113,376 through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program for four projects in Utah which will benefit rural residents.

Below are summaries of USDA’s investments in Utah:

  • Utah State University is receiving $496,523 to update interactive video classrooms and supporting audio visual equipment to expand broadcast capacity. The project will provide access to health and mathematics education programs. Additionally, it will allow equal access to other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs at the university and improve program delivery to Duchesne, Grand, San Juan, Sanpete, and Uintah Counties.
  • The San Juan County School District is receiving $416,325 to help the district expand interactive video classrooms and replace end-of-life equipment. The project will benefit six end-user sites by establishing 21 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-distance learning enabled classrooms/learning environments. The project will also expand extra-curricular STEM-related clubs and learning activities and increase access to professional development and instructor collaboration.
  • Utah Navajo Health Systems, Inc. (UNHS) is receiving $133,208 to help provide telemedicine services at each of four UNHS health centers in San Juan County. These health centers treat patients who are not able to travel or otherwise access services due to the remote location of their communities or other barriers to care. UNHS provides primary healthcare services and behavioral health services to southern San Juan County in Utah.
  • Memorial Hospital at Craig in Craig, Colorado, is receiving $67,320 to help purchase telemedicine equipment for the telehealth network in Moffat County, Colorado. The Memorial Hospital and the Memorial Regional Health Medical Clinic, both in Craig, Colorado will be connected with University of Utah Health in Salt Lake City, Utah and Regroup Therapy, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois. This project will provide northwestern Colorado patients with access to healthcare specialists at University of Utah Health as well as behavioral telehealth and tele-psychiatry specialists at Regroup Therapy Inc. The project will also include treatment for substance and opioid misuse.

Today’s announcement is part of a larger statement made by Secretary Sonny Perdue in which he said USDA is awarding $39.6 million for 128 projects to increase access to job training, educational and health care services in rural areas nationwide. More than 4.5 million residents in 40 states and three territories will benefit from the funding.

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/ut.