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Posts tagged: Telemedicine

Remote Alaska Receives Broadband Service through the Recovery Act

One of the best things about living in Alaska and working for USDA is seeing how our programs improve things for the folks who call this region home.  Other than electricity and running water, nothing improves the quality of life more than broadband. Read more »

Discussing the Power of Telemedicine

I am very pleased to launch our latest effort to encourage more widespread use and understanding of the life-saving field of telemedicine through our Power of Telemedicine web discussion.  Telemedicine has grown steadily over the past decade. The USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) has participated consistently along the way, supporting innovation in telemedicine as early as 1993 with our Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program. Our telemedicine program is designed specifically to meet the health care needs of rural America.  Through loans, grants and loan and grant combinations, advanced telecommunications technologies provide enhanced health care opportunities for rural residents.  It, together with our Distance Learning program, has funded over 900 projects in 48 states and several US Territories totaling over $300 million. Read more »

Texans Talk Broadband in the Lone Star State

Approximately 200 Texans from across the Lone Star State traveled to San Antonio earlier this week to discuss opportunities to extend broadband to unserved and underserved communities in the fourth of 10 public broadband workshops held nationally.  The demand for broadband is sweeping the nation and changing the way we live, work  and stay connected to loved ones.

Rural communities without access to broadband are falling into a technological gap that will affect generations if not rectified quickly.  Recent studies show that while 80 percent of Texas is classified as rural, only 38 percent of this demographic has access to the internet.  That equates to 62 percent of our state’s rural population not having access to the worldwide marketplace, educational information, and telemedicine.

“The opportunity has never been greater for rural communities to benefit from recovery act funds that will improve broadband services and enhance rural business entrepreneurship, educational distance learning and telemedicine capabilities, while diversifying farmers and ranchers marketing capabilities,” commented Paco Valentin, USDA Rural Development Texas State Director.

Keynote speaker, USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Victor Vasquez, outlined the President’s goal to stimulate the economy and the importance of broadband to communities in rural areas – to businesses, citizens and anchor institutions.  He said everyone has a need for broadband connection which will enable them to meet the challenges of competing in a global economy and to be in the mainstream of trade and the cultural evolution.  He stressed the importance of listening to the changes and the details of the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) in order to compete favorably and that building networks were as important to building the infrastructure as they are to building good business coalitions.

Workshop attendees were given information on how to apply for the second round of broadband grants and loans under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is making $4.8 billion available to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure.   The desire is strong among community leaders to ensure rural Texans step onto the information bandwagon sooner rather than later.  Applications will be accepted until March 15, 2010 and all awards will be announced by September 30, 2010.

For information on more workshops and archived webcasts, visit  Additional forums will be held over the next two weeks at the following locations: February 4, Sioux Falls, SD; February 5, Detroit, MI; February 9, Blacksburg, VA; February 11, Fayetteville, NC; and February 12, Atlanta, GA.

Texas Broadband
USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development, Victor Vasquez, addresses the Broadband Workshop in San Antonio, Texas.

Texas Broadband
USDA Rural Development Texas State Director, Paco Valentin, welcomes participants to the Broadband Workshop in San
Antonio, Texas.

Written by Gayle Cargo, Public Information Coordinator, Rural Development-Texas

Under Secretary Marks 60th Year of USDA Telecommunications at Cooperstown, New York Event

It was great to have Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager on hand for our combined event with Bassett Healthcare on Tuesday. The event highlighted the 60th anniversary of our Telecommunications Program and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Amy, a breast cancer survivor, spoke to the crowd about the importance of breast cancer screenings and early detection, which is crucial to curing the disease. Her remarks about being the mother of two boys, as well as a wife, daughter and sister were truly moving. I’m proud that my agency has made such a positive contribution to women’s health in this very rural part of our state. Read more »