|$10 million grant supports network of VA health care |
The Fargo VA Medical Center and the Center for Rural Health at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences were awarded federal funding from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs to enhance health care delivery to rural veterans and close gaps in quality and access to care that result from geographic isolation. The five-year, $10 million grant supports a new network of VA health care facilities and academic institutions that will work together to develop and disseminate strategies that optimize care for rural veterans.
The partnership includes VA hospitals and community-based clinics located in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, as well as university partners at the UND Center for Rural Health, the University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, and University of Nebraska. In addition to developing and disseminating strategies to optimize care for rural veterans, the new multi-state Rural Health Resource Center will also assist the VA Office of Rural Health in Washington, D.C., in creating policies to eliminate potential disparities in care faced by rural veterans.
The Rural Health Resource Center director is Peter J. Kaboli, VA staff physician, and associate professor of general internal medicine, University of Iowa; co-director is Alana Knudson, associate director for research at the UND Center for Rural Health, and the Fargo VA Medical Center. Dr. Knudson is an accomplished investigator and program leader whose research includes population health, quality and safety, and financial access for rural and frontier populations.
“What we discover through this center’s projects will influence how veteran health care is delivered across rural America,” said Dr. Knudson.
The Rural Health Resource Center will focus on identifying gaps in rural health care and unique barriers to care faced by rural veterans and then use this knowledge to develop and test innovative strategies to improve access and quality and eliminate disparities.
The funding allows the VA and university research team to bring together experts in health services research, public health, health care policy and financing, and dissemination and implementation of best practices.
“The UND Center for Rural Health is the lead academic agency in this multistate partnership and was instrumental in putting together a highly innovative, competitive proposal,” said H. David Wilson, vice president for health affairs and dean of the UND medical school. “The UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences has long been a national leader in the area of rural health, and we look forward to assisting rural veterans, both across the nation, and right here at home.”
“The staff at the Fargo VA Medical Center are excited to work with our academic partners at the University of North Dakota, the other affiliated universities and VA Medical Centers in Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota to enhance service to rural veterans through the efforts of the Veterans Rural Health Resource Center,” said Robert P. McDivitt, FACHE, Fargo VA Medical Center director. “We are proud to be a member of this outstanding team.”
-- Wendy Opsahl, Communications Coordinator, Center for Rural Health, firstname.lastname@example.org, 777-0871