USDA is supporting 106 projects in 38 states and one territory with $34.7 million in grants to fund educational projects and expand access to health care services in rural areas through USDA's Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program. The program provides access to education, training and health care resources in rural areas.
In making the announcement, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said that too many rural areas cannot take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by broadband for improved education and health care. These funds will help communities enhance their educational and training programs and deliver improved health care services for their residents.
For example, in Oklahoma, an award of nearly $500,000 to INTEGRIS Health, Inc. will replace outdated systems with modern video teleconferencing equipment throughout this network of 20 rural schools, hospitals and health centers. As part of the package, links to 11 resource hospitals and physicians offices will provide a variety of health and educational services, such as speech therapy and telestroke services.