Success Story
Release No.STELPRD4009127
, Mar 24, 2011 --

USDA Rural Development

Telecommunications Program

Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program

Finger Lakes Migrant Health Care Project

New York


Thirteen rural healthcare clinics in ten of the most medically underserved counties in the Finger Lakes Region of New York needed help expanding health care coverage to migrant workers. Additionally, they needed assistance providing a Telehealth Network for the region so that local medical facilities could stay connected.

How Rural Development Helped:

The Finger Lakes Migrant Health Care Project received a Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant in 2008 in the amount of $197,877 and leveraged $218,500 in matching contributions. They received a second DLT grant in for $488,265 in 2010. These funds were used to establish the New York State Farmworker Telehealth and Learning Network, which will expand dental and wellness screenings for migrant children and improve educational opportunities for K-12 and out-of school youths within the migrant community. The 2008 grant also funded telemedicine equipment for thirteen rural healthcare clinics. Funds received in 2010 were used to expand the existing network to eight additional hospitals in the region. It will also provide local examination facilities with video telecommunications and other equipment so that the rural patients can access specialists and other healthcare resources at a distance, as well as provide resources for offering cultural and language courses to further employment opportunities for migrant workers.

Most recently, in 2012, Finger Lakes Migrant Health Care Project received a third DLT grant of $215,650. This grant will focus on the farm worker community. The project will connect rural clinics with four existing partnering hub sites providing video consultation with physicians in the areas of eye care, dental care, behavioral health consultations, occupational health, and other necessary health care. They also plan to offer linguistically appropriate distance-education programs, including healthcare career opportunities with clinical mentoring and Continuing Medical Education courses.


This project gave the residents access to health professionals, specialists, and educational resources at five different hub sites, including the University of Rochester Medical Center, The Cornell University Farmworker Program, and the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health. The services provided include real-time telemedicine consultation with specialists, dental screenings, web-based personal health records, and distance learning programs for both the residents and the health care professionals in the rural areas.

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