October 17, 2016
RENO, Nev. (Oct. 17, 2016) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced more than $1.3 million to fund three telecommunications projects for improved technology systems to support distance education and telemedicine in Nevada. Forty-six education sites at elementary, middle and high schools, community colleges, Cooperative Extension Service Centers, and Nevada Youth Training Centers will access improved technology and more advanced educational curricula, and 21 additional health care sites will be able to provide acute and preventive health care services.

"These telecommunications systems help connect rural people in remote communities to experts and resources across the country," said USDA Rural Development State Director Sarah Adler. "High school students will be able to access advanced courses through distance learning; the telehealth system expansion will provide rural access to health care services that are currently not available. A tremendous amount of collaboration among Renown Health, the Nevada System of Higher Education, University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, health providers, USDA and other providers went into these applications for a very competitive program; it is terrific to get these results.”

Renown TeleHealth received a $436,936 grant to provide acute and ambulatory healthcare services in 21 rural healthcare communities in Nevada and California through a high-definition telehealth network. Rural hospitals, clinics and correctional institutions in eight Nevada and three California counties will be able to connect patients, families and caregivers to area emergency and elective healthcare services.

USDA granted the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) $493,351 to provide videoconferencing equipment in 13 Nevada counties to replace outdated equipment and software for video, audio and interactive collaboration at 30 interactive sites across the state. Most of the connection sites are at elementary schools, high schools, and rural community college campuses.
 
USDA approved $454,676 for the Elko County School District to connect 16 schools and 10 communities with advanced distance learning technology in Elko and White Pine County.  The new systems will include video conferencing stations, archiving and replay equipment and bridging gear. This will allow Great Basin College to offer college level courses, language and math courses to smaller high schools. the Communities in Schools of Northeastern Nevada (CISNE) located in Elko, will provide counseling and behavioral health services through their systems connected to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).

The Distance Learning and Telemedicine program helps rural communities acquire technologies to connect educators and medical providers with other professionals and other needed expertise that would be too far to access otherwise. This program taps into modern telecommunications and technology to improve education and healthcare which are two imperative factors for economic and community development.

Nationwide, USDA Rural Development awarded $23.4 million in grants to support 45 distance learning and 36 telemedicine projects. Since 2009, the agency has provided $213 million for 634 DLT projects in rural areas nationwide. USDA’s Rural Utilities Service, which administers the DLT program, also offers infrastructure programs that bring broadband, safe drinking water and improved wastewater treatment facilities to rural communities.
  
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“USDA is an equal opportunity provider, lender and employer.”
 
About USDA
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area nationwide, has an active portfolio of more than $214 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. For more information visit www.rd.usda.gov/nv
 
About Renown Health
Renown Health is a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving a 17-county region comprised of northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 6,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, skilled nursing, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition of being the first in the region to successfully perform leading-edge medical procedures. For more information, visit renown.org.
 
About NSHE
The Nevada System of Higher Education -- comprised of two doctoral-granting universities, a state college, four comprehensive community colleges and one environmental research institute -- serves the educational and job training needs of Nevada. NSHE provides educational opportunities to nearly 106,300 students and is governed by the Nevada Board of Regents.
 
About Elko County School District
The Elko County School District is grateful to be a recipient of a USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant. This program will enhance educational opportunities across the district, including expanded advanced placement and dual credit programming for approximately 5,000 Elko County School District students as well as White Pine County School District students and the incarcerated and dual-status youth of the Nevada Youth Training Center's Independence High School. In addition, this funding will expand access to mental health care and provide for enhanced nursing services to geographically isolated communities across rural Nevada. This funding is fostering collaboration amongst districts and helping to build community relationships which no doubt will have positive impacts for all the students and communities of Elko and White Pine Counties.
 

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Allison Williams

Public Relations Business Partner
Email: news@renown.org
Phone: 775-691-7308
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