University of Alabama heads up rural health project with $1.8M grant
By WVUA 23 News Reporter Whitney Leibold
The University of Alabama is leading a project that will increase emergency telemedicine capabilities in Alabama’s rural counties.
UA Capstone College of Nursing professors Nathan Culmer and Todd Smith received $1.8 million dollars in funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program. The grant is going toward new telemedicine units, which are devices that will connect 49 ambulances with 18 hospitals across 19 counties, helping ensure patients are taken to the hospital that can best serve them.
“(Ambulance personnel) will be able to communicate with the hospitals, so they can provide in the field data and information to doctors and emergency physicians across Alabama,” Smith said.
The units will ensure faster response and dispatch times and help patients facing life-threatening conditions get to the most appropriate facility for their needs.
“The University of Alabama has a long history in looking in rural areas to try to provide for those rural needs especially when it comes to health care,” Culmer said.
Bibb, Greene and Hale counties are included in the project.