WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Congressman Dan Boren announced Thursday the award of a $321,739 grant to the Choctaw Nation Health Center in Talihina, Oklahoma.
The rural development grant will be used to expand educational opportunities for those in the service area seeking medical training by offering interactive video conferencing and online courses. The funding will provide the videoconferencing equipment necessary to increase access to care for patients suffering from behavioral problems and to offer training, mentoring and certification for mental health specialists located in the region.
“I am pleased to announce this funding is coming to the Choctaw Nation,” said Boren, in a news release. “I know these resources will greatly assist the health center with cost-effective medical training and service initiatives. Improving access to medical care in rural areas is key to building stronger communities.”
The health center is the hub of the Choctaw health care services, covering all of southeastern Oklahoma. Since its inception in 1999, the Choctaw Nation Health Center has been providing necessary inpatient and outpatient medical care to the surrounding rural communities.
“This grant can make a difference in many lives,” said Chief Gregory E. Pyle. “We are very grateful to receive the chance to not only provide the possibility for advancement in training, but to ensure a healthier future for residents in southeastern Oklahoma.”
The grant was awarded through the USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Loan and Grant Program. The program is designed specifically to meet the educational and health care needs of rural America. Through loans, grants and loan/grant combinations, advanced telecommunications technologies provide enhanced learning and health care opportunities for rural residents.