USDA Announces Distance Learning & Telemedicine Project Grants

June 23, 2012
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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this month that the USDA is awarding 52 projects as part of its Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Loan and Grant Program. The awards, which total nearly $14 million, were given to 52 schools, health care agencies, medical centers and hospitals across 29 states. The list of projects receiving awards includes, among others, 19 distance learning projects, 12 telemedicine projects and one project that combines the two.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this month that the USDA is awarding 52 projects as part of its Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Loan and Grant Program. The awards, which total nearly $14 million, were given to 52 schools, health care agencies, medical centers and hospitals across 29 states. The list of projects receiving awards includes, among others, 19 distance learning projects, 12 telemedicine projects and one project that combines the two. Projects in rural counties and counties with high minority populations will be receiving almost half of the total allotted funding.

The USDA’s DLT Grant Program is intended to help enhance health care and health care education in rural areas of the country through the use of telemedicine and telecommunications technologies. Recipients receive funding that will pay for the equipment necessary to develop and improve telemedicine and distance learning programs in rural areas. These advanced telemedicine and telecommunications technologies will help practitioners and educational institutions provide better health care and learning opportunities for rural and often low-income residents. Visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/supportdocuments/rdDLT2012ProjectList.pdf for a complete list of the projects to receive funding from the DLT Grant Program.

Doctors and patients in rural areas have perhaps the most to gain from telemedicine. Before the advent of advanced telemedicine technologies, most patients in rural areas would be forced to travel long distances to be evaluated by specialists in larger urban areas. With the latest telemedicine solutions, however, health care practitioners, clinics and hospitals in even the most remote locations can connect their patients with specialists in real time from the comfort of a familiar setting – the practitioners’ own examination room. With telemedicine technology, patients can receive the specialty care they need when they need it – without ever having to leave their community.

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