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Southwest Telehealth Resource Center Blog

Every now and then it’s good to sit back and reflect, take stock and think about where you’re going next. In the grant world, this happens on a regular basis – every time you want to submit a new one or if lucky submitting for a continuation or renewal. The SWTRC has been successful in obtaining funding since its inception, but this cycle was a little different. The SWTRC is funded by HRSA, the Health Resources & Services Administration. Specifically by the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT). So what could be new if we’ve been “in business” for nearly 10 years?

Telehealth services are available to providers in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Nevada

Helping healthcare providers connect with patients in some of the most underserved areas of the Southwest is the mission of the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center (SWTRC).

One of 14 telehealth resource centers in the U.S., the SWTRC was established in 2009 under the aegis of the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP), headquartered at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson.  

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to form a partnership to support healthcare access in rural communities.

As a result, since 2012, Leila Samy, Rural Health IT Coordinator, HHS Office of the National Coordinator, has worked with rural communities around the country, organizing statewide meetings to address issues such as healthcare financing, telehealth infrastructure, broadband demands and other topics relevant to establishing and maintaining healthcare access in rural communities.

I recently had the opportunity to speak at “Georgia’s Health Care Reform Task Force” with other members of the Emory Virtual Patient Care team headed by Greg Esper, MD. Dr. Esper is a neurologist and Director of New Care Models at Emory and champion for expanding Emory’s telehealth footprint in GA (https://www.emoryhealthcare.org/physicians/e/esper-gregory.html).

Tucson’s recent designation as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy is a tribute to our long history of harvesting  plants native to the Sonoran desert and heritage plants brought over by the Spanish, as well as the innovation and local mindedness of our community, and the multitude of food system initiatives constantly striving to improve the food security of our diverse populations.

A food system consists of the entire process from which food moves from farm to fork, including production, processing, packing, distribution, consumption, and food waste management. A healthy, sustainable food system is directly connected to public health goals like reducing hunger and obesity, protection and conservation of natural resources, and facilitating economic growth.

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