Stenholm announces grant for ACU telemedicine project

For Immediate Release
Sept. 22, 2000


Tom Craig, Director of Media and Community Relations
(915) 674-2692

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Charles Stenholm today announced that a distant learning and telemedicine grant proposed by Abilene Christian University has just been approved by the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Development office. The nearly $350,000 grant to ACU, in conjunction with the Abilene Intercollegiate School of Nursing, will utilize distant learning for training local West Texas registered nurses.

"For more than a decade, West Texas has been at the forefront of telemedicine and distance learning," Stenholm commented. "I am extremely pleased that we now will be able to take the next step which can guarantee the opportunity for a Bachelors in Nursing degree, as well as experience in using telemedicine equipment."

The proposed program will allow registered nurses to continue their progress toward a Bachelor in Nursing degree via distance learning in a two-phase process. Phase One involves ACU and AISN obtaining a distance learning facility at each campus and connecting both facilities to each other through a statewide videoconferencing network.

Phase Two consists of the integration of telemedicine applications into all AISN nursing programs. Telecommunications technology allows heath care providers to treat patients in isolated rural health clinics, even when physicians and equipment are in distant medical centers.

The project contact for ACU, Shawna Dowell, expressed great delight upon hearing of the grant approval on Wednesday afternoon.

On Thursday, Secretary Glickman will announce a total of 84 grants involving $11.5 million for 49 distance learning projects encompassing over 300 educational facilities. In addition, nearly 200 medical institutions will receive over $7 million for 35 telemedicine projects. These grants allow rural students to participate in classes taught by instructors at distant locations or to access information from libraries and other learning centers.

"People in rural areas deserve access to quality health care and education opportunities every bit as much as urban residents," Stenholm remarked. "We're fortunate to live at a time when technological advancement makes that kind of access possible. I have very high expectations for the good that will be accomplished by ACU and AISN with this new program."


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Last update: Sept. 22, 2000
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