Lucas Joins SWOSU Announcing $1 Million USDA Telemedicine Grant

Cheyenne, OK – Earlier today, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) joined Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) President Dr. Diana Lovell and SWOSU Center for Rural Health Director Dr. Randy Curry announcing a $1 million United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Distance Learning & Telemedicine grant awarded to the SWOSU College of Pharmacy Rural Health Center. The award will provide telemedicine equipment to rural schools across the state of Oklahoma.

“Bridging the digital divide isn’t just convenient for our communities- it’s necessary if we’re going to ensure our rural neighbors have the same access to health care, learning opportunities, and economic growth as our suburban neighbors. As Congress and federal agencies like USDA continue to invest in rural America, it’s programs like USDA’s Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant program that are critically important to expanding medical and educational access across our communities,” said Congressman Lucas.  “I’m proud to join Southwestern Oklahoma State University in announcing a $1 million grant that will help students in our state’s schools tap into the enormous potential of modern telemedicine tools and expand upon the endless teaching opportunities for those going into healthcare. I applaud the leadership of Dr. Diana Lovell and Dr. Randy Curry at SWOSU and the SWOSU Center for Rural Health, and I look forward to continuing to support and advocate for the bridging of America’s digital divide.”

In collaboration with Poteau Public Schools and Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center, the SWOSU Center for Rural Health will make use of these funds to enhance their existing telehealth programs in southeast Oklahoma and will facilitate the expansion of telemedicine programs in 18 public schools and rural communities in western Oklahoma. The total population of the towns that are being served is over 50,000 people with over 12,000 students. The towns include: Arapaho, Arnett, Burns Flat, Cheyenne, Clinton, Cordell, Elk City, Erick, Fargo, Hydro, Reydon, Sayre, Shattuck, Sweetwater, Taloga, Thomas, Vici and Weatherford.

In addition, students in the SWOSU College of Pharmacy and SWOSU School of Nursing programs will be exposed to unique educational experiences using state-of-the-art equipment with a focus on learning how to better provide quality health care in a digital environment. 

“SWOSU looks forward to bringing telemedicine/telehealth resources to Oklahoma’s rural communities,” said SWOSU President Dr. Diana Lovell. “The university is so appreciative of this amazing grant that will assist our SWOSU College of Pharmacy Rural Health Center.”  

Lucas has long been a supporter of Southwestern Oklahoma State University and the Rural Health Center. In May of 2021, Congressman Lucas wrote a letter of support to USDA, advocating for funding for the SWOSU Center for Rural Health project.

Click here for more information on the project and the award. 

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