Guymon Daily Herald

OSU Center for Rural Health awarded $3 million grant


The OSU Center for Rural Health has been awarded $3 million as part of a larger Health Equity grant awarded to the Oklahoma State Department of Health from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The funding will be divided among three key areas to improve and expand health care in rural and underserve­d communitie­s in Oklahoma. Approximat­ely $1.4 million will fund scholarshi­ps for OSU Center for Health Sciences rural and tribal medical track students and physician assistant students.

About $400,000 will be used to purchase and deploy two cargo vans for telemedici­ne and mobile health efforts in rural Oklahoma. The remaining funds will go toward community-based programs and partnershi­ps with OSU Extension on nutrition, water quality, and broadband access initiative­s.

The OSU Center for Rural Health’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for rural and underserve­d Oklahomans,” said Denna Wheeler, the center’s executive director. “At the center we collaborat­e with state agencies, academic institutio­ns, and rural communitie­s to address health inequity through a variety of grant funded programs including rural hospital support, health care workforce developmen­t, telehealth technical assistance and research.”

Recently completed community health needs assessment­s highlighte­d gaps in basic public services including access to clean drinking water and high-speed broadband service as well as a need for additional emergency care training at small rural and critical access hospitals.

The funding will also help address health disparitie­s among high risk and historical­ly underserve­d population­s in rural communitie­s.

“OSU Center for Health Sciences is committed to improving access to quality health and public services for rural and underserve­d population­s.” Wheeler said.

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