News Release
Release No.STELPRD4016716
ContactLarry Yerich(907) 271-2424 ext. 125
USDA-Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service Approves $422,521 Grant
Anchorage, AK, Jun 06, 2012 --

@@USDA-RD Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund today announced USDA-Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) funds have been awarded to the Eastern Aleutian Tribes, Inc. to help finance an expansion and upgrade of its telemedicine equipment.

“The Eastern Aleutian Tribes service area experiences what the U.S. Coast Guard calls the harshest and most challenging weather operating conditions in the U.S. The area also has at least 75 active volcanoes which can create huge challenges for providing care, in arguably some of the most remote communities in our nation,” said Michael Christensen, Executive Director, Eastern Aleutian Tribes, Inc.

“Receiving the award of this Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant will add the capacity to access critical medical and educational resources; and new technology that will allow development of a robust telemedicine and educational link system with which we can overcome many of the environmental and distance challenges. We are very excited that USDA-RD’s RUS has allowed these vital services to be extended to our communities, added Christensen.

“The Eastern Aleutian Tribes organization is the only health care safety net provider in the 80,000-square mile Eastern Aleutian region of Alaska; the West Aleutian community of Adak; and the Kenai Peninsula community of Whittier,” said Nordlund. The Tribes provide comprehensive health care services through several primary, behavioral and dental health care programs. The eight hub/end-user sites in this project are scattered throughout an island chain stretching 1,200 miles westward from Anchorage, the nearest urban area through thousands of square miles of ocean,” shared Nordlund.

USDA-Rural Development administers and manages utilities, housing, business and community facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $155 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing affordable health care, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, and providing broadband access to 10 million Americans. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents and improve the quality of life in rural America.

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