Originally Released: December, 1998
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The University of Maryland School of Medicine has been chosen to oversee the operation of two national programs to improve the health of people in rural communities throughout the United States. The School will receive a federal grant of $405,000 each year for the next three years to administer two initiatives -- the Rural Information Center and Rural Information Center Health Services.
The selection of the University of Maryland School of Medicine was announced at a news conference by Delegate Casper Taylor, Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, who is from rural Western Maryland, and Donald E. Wilson, M.D., M.A.C.P., dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The purpose of the Rural Information Center (RIC) and Rural Information Center Health Services (RICHS) is to provide information and referral services to citizens in rural areas, local government officials, health professionals, researchers, educators, businesses and community organizations.
"This prestigious grant from the US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services signals recognition by the federal government of our School of Medicine's leadership on rural health issues," says Donald E. Wilson, M.D., M.A.C.P., dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The Rural Information Center was established to enhance the quality of life in rural areas by providing a vast array of information services on health care and other issues of importance. It is a joint project of the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Agricultural Library.
Rural Information Center Health Services was jointly created by the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Agricultural Library to collect and disseminate information on rural health issues, research findings, sources of funding and innovative ways to deliver health care to rural areas.
RICHS' staff responds to individual inquiries, refers callers to experts who can provide additional information, searches databases on requested topics, furnishes publications and identifies current federal research of interest to those who call.
"Good health care and access to accurate information are essential for the economic and social viability of a rural community," says Wayne Myers, M.D., director of the Office of Rural Health Policy within the Department of Health and Human Services.
"The University of Maryland School of Medicine has a long-standing commitment and an excellent track record of serving the health care needs of Maryland, including citizens in rural parts of the state. That's why they will make an excellent partner in this program," says Dr. Myers.
"Although the University of Maryland School of Medicine is located in downtown Baltimore, the school has collaborated for the past 25 years with organizations in Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore to improve the health of citizens in those areas. We are very pleased that, with this grant, the school will have the opportunity to have a greater impact on residents of rural areas throughout the United States," says Delegate Taylor.
The toll-free phone number for RIC/RICHS is 800-633-7701.
For patient inquiries, call 1-800-492-5538 or click here to make an appointment.