U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development announced that the University of South Dakota (USD) has been selected to receive grant funds to connect the University of South Dakota campuses in Vermillion, Pierre, Rapid City, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota with 24 rural hospitals and clinics including one on Lake Traverse Indian Reservation. USD will receive $499,897 through USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Program.
“The DLT program delivers medical and educational opportunities that are needed in rural areas,” said Bruce Jones, Acting State Director for USDA Rural Development. “These funds will ensure educational opportunities exist for residents of the state of South Dakota no matter where they live.”
USD is a public coeducational research university located in the community of Vermillion, South Dakota. USD was established by the Dakota Territory legislature in 1862, 37 years before the establishment of the state of South Dakota, USD is the oldest public university in the state.
The funds will be used to support this distance learning project. All hub and end-user sites have sufficient broadband networks in place to support it. USD Vermillion campus, the lead organization, will oversee this project towards its overall goal of preparing medical students and nursing students for careers in rural healthcare practice. This project will provide service to the South Dakota Counties of Minnehaha, Pennington, Hughes, Clay, Grant, Lawrence, Walworth, Tripp, Roberts, Brule, Spink, Moody, Custer, Day, Hutchinson, Hand, Gregory, Charles Mix, Jerauld, Bon Homme, Turner, Haakon, Faulk, Douglas, and Turner.
“This DLT program will benefit South Dakota by building stronger connections between rural healthcare facilities and the University of South Dakota’s state-of the-art simulation centers,” said Cheryl Tiahrt, Deputy Chief Information Officer at USD. “The funds will allow us to build a telehealth video network linking the University’s resources and educators to healthcare professionals and students across the state.”
The DLT Grant Program provides access to education, training and health care resources in rural areas. USDA Rural Development has eight offices in the state that assist rural communities. Office locations include a state office in Huron, along with area offices in Aberdeen, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Yankton.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has produced historic investment in rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have strengthened America’s small towns and cities and helped improve the nation’s economy.