The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Center for Rural Health and Center for Distance Health will provide health education for providers in the Delta and prescription assistance for Delta residents through a three-year $1.38 million federal grant to the Greater Delta Alliance for Health (GDAH).
The grant is from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) through its Delta States Network Development Grant program. The GDAH, a partnership of eight small, independently owned rural hospitals in southeast Arkansas, will contract with UAMS to provide the services, which will include an annual summit on chronic disease for health care providers.
UAMS will provide continuing education classes for physicians and nurses in live sessions and via real-time video connections through the statewide Arkansas e-Link telehealth network. Arkansas e-Link, led by UAMS, is using high-speed data transmission lines to connect 454 community institutions in Arkansas for videoconferencing. Classes will begin in the late fall and early 2014.
The first year's summit and classes will focus on best practices for diabetes care, the second year on cardiovascular disease and the third year on obesity.
“The Greater Delta Alliance for Health recognizes that to address the disparities so prominent throughout the Delta, our health care providers must know how to best treat their patients, communicate with their patients, acknowledge the barriers their patients face, and be familiar with resources available to help their patients. Only then can there be a recognizable improvement in the statistical outcomes that are prominent in the regions,” said Mellie Bridewell, GDAH executive director.
Nineteen south Arkansas counties in the Delta will benefit from the initiatives. They are Ashley, Arkansas, Bradley, Calhoun, Cleveland, Chicot, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Grant, Jefferson, Lee, Lincoln, Lonoke, Monroe, Phillips, Ouachita, St. Francis, and Union counties. More than one health care facility in each of the counties will provide the classes through e-Link.