USDA Announces Funding Opportunity for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Projects

Name
Jessica Bowser
City
Topeka
State
Kansas
Release Date
Jun 03, 2015

USDA Rural Development State Director Patty Clark announced that the agency is accepting applications for its Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program, which provides increased access to education, training and health care resources in rural areas.

“USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants can assist rural communities with financing technology that can connect them with the rest of the world,” said Clark.  “Last year’s grant recipients in Kansas brought video conferencing technology to foster children living in eastern Kansas, and educational opportunities for high school students in southwestern Kansas.”

USDA's Rural Utilities Service, a Rural Development agency is making $19 million available for fiscal year 2015. The Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program finances telecommunications equipment, computer networks and advanced technologies for use by students, teachers, medical professionals and rural residents. Minimum grant amounts are $50,000; maximum amounts are $500,000 for fiscal year 2015.

Since 2009, USDA has provided more than $182 million to expand access to learning at nearly 4,700 rural educational facilities and to improve delivery of medical care at more than 2,500 rural health facilities.

In 2014, two Kansas organization received Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program grants.  The Southwest Kansas Educational Consortium received a grant to update its 20-year-old distance learning system.  The consortium is comprised of six schools (Ashland, Fowler, Meade, Bucklin, Greensburg and Minneola) and three community colleges (Dodge City Community College, Seward County Community College, and Pratt County Community College) that collaborate and share resources.  The other grant recipient was KVC Health Systems Inc., headquartered in Olathe. KVC staff developed a robust video conference program for telemedicine services to assist foster families.  The company’s MyLink program will assist more than 1,000 foster families in four states to link to behavioral healthcare services through an iPad.

The Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program application deadline is July 6, 2015.  For more information on the program, contact USDA General Field Representative in Kansas, Shekinah Bailey at (316) 570-3249 or shekinah.bailey@wdc.usda.gov

USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.