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2008 Outreach Scholarship Community Partnership Award

Telemedicine Effort Honored

Sally R. Davis (left) and Pamela S. Whitten (right) with MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon (center) at the 2008 Awards Convocation.
Sally R. Davis (left) and Pamela S. Whitten (right) with MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon (center) at the 2008 Awards Convocation.

The 2008 recipients of the Outreach Scholarship Community Partnership Award have attracted significant funding and national recognition for their pioneering efforts to harness the power of information technologies to improve public health care delivery in rural areas.

Pamela S. Whitten of MSU's Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and Sally R. Davis, director of the Upper Peninsula Telehealth Network based at Marquette General Health System, are testing the implementation of telemedicine services for residents of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Unique challenges that face patients in Michigan's Upper Peninsula include strong winter weather, remote home locations, and specialized services available only in distant urban areas. Dr. Whitten and Ms. Davis have teamed up to become passionate advocates for delivering health care services to these underserved populations.

They have also published papers in top telehealth journals. These articles analyze the organizational and structural issues that must be addressed before the technology can succeed.

John E. Barnas, executive director of Michigan Center for Rural Health, said "Their leadership and guidance mean that many rural patients now stay home and 'visit' the doctor, who is 100 miles away. Can there be any greater gift to an elderly patient when the wind is howling and the snow is blowing?"

For more information about MSU support for outreach work, visit outreach.msu.edu/awards.