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USDA Officials Highlight Prior Investments to Improve Health Care in the Delta

Megan M. Patrick
Release Date

Two USDA officials today highlighted a partnership between the Department of Agriculture and Delta State University to expand access to health care for residents of the Mississippi Delta and announced that additional funding is available for the program in 2014.

“I am proud to be here today to show our continued commitment to ensuring that all Delta residents – regardless of their income or where they live – have access to high-quality medical services,” said Lillian Salerno, Administrator of USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service. “Delta State University has been a key partner here in Mississippi. We look forward to working with them on this important project.”

Last fall, USDA awarded the University a $200,463 grant for a project to train counselors and clinicians in the Delta. Additionally, the University will use the funds to increase mental health services to children who live in the area.

Delta State University is one of three Mississippi groups that recently received funding through USDA Rural Development’s Delta Health Care Services Grant Program. Earlier this week, USDA Deputy Under Secretary Doug O’Brien announced that the Department is accepting applications for Delta Health Care Services grants for 2014.

For information on how to apply for this year’s funding, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-04-14/pdf/2014-08363.pdf page 20857 of the April 14, 2014 Federal Register. Applications are due June 13, 2014.

Rural Development Mississippi State Director Trina George underscored the importance of this funding. “Everyone needs access to quality health services,” George said. “Investments like these at Delta State will reduce the difficulty that many rural families face in accessing mental health help.”

The USDA-Delta State University partnership has three goals:

· To provide professional development for pre-service and in-service mental health practitioners;

· To provide professional development and training opportunities for faculty clinicians; and,

· To provide mental health services to community residents and training for mental health counselors.

    USDA’s Delta Health Care Services Grant Program provides financial assistance through partnerships with health care professionals, institutions of higher education, research institutions and other individuals and organizations in the Delta Region. The grants may be used to develop cooperatives, provide services, conduct health education programs, expand facilities or provide job training in the 252-county Delta region.

    President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.