U.S. Department of Agriculture says four Alaska organizations are in line to receive $1.4 million in grants for distance learning and telemedicine.
The projects are designed to help increase access to health care and advanced educational opportunities in rural Alaska. Many of them provide mental health treatment
The grants come from the USDA’s Rural Development office.
"These investments mean that students in rural Alaskan schools will have educational opportunities often not available outside urban areas. This funding also means that people who live and work in rural areas will not have to travel long distances for specialized health care services," said state director Jim Nordlund.
The four Alaska recipients are:
• Dena' Nena' Henash dba Tanana Chiefs Conference, $375,000 to expand its telemedicine program.
• Copper River School District, $488,558 to provide distance learning services to five primary schools in remote Alaska villages. The schools will share curriculum and professional development, mentorship. Three of the sites are on Native Alaskan trust lands.
• Hope Community Resources, Inc., $279,820 to purchase video conferencing equipment to provide mental health and disability counseling along with training and support services to individuals and their families.
•Arctic Slope Native Association, Ltd., $287,198 to purchase a tele-pharmacy remote dispensing system. Currently, medication can only be to flown into the remote five clinics.
Since 2009, the USDA Rural Development office has invested more than $2 billion in 226 rural Alaskan communities. These investments include project funding for housing, community facilities, business, energy, water and sewer, telecom and electric, according to the department.