West Virginia University’s Telepsychiatry Program received a $1.2 million grant this week from the Health Resources and Services Administration to expand telemedicine services in four West Virginia counties.
Through videoconferencing, psychiatric and pediatric specialists at WVU are able to provide behavioral health, obesity, diabetes, asthma and oral health services to underserved areas of West Virginia.
Currently, members of the WVU Telepsychiatry team serves thousands of residents in 17 West Virginia counties.
With the new money, the program will collaborate with rural school-based health centers in Barbour, McDowell and Pocahontas counties and a community-based organization, Power House, in Wyoming County.
According to a press release, school-based health clinics are “natural partners for telepsychiatry treatment, because they often serve as the hub of health care and social services for rural communities.”
The program hopes to improve detection of students at high risk for behavioral and mental health problems. It also aims to determine the prevalence of oral health issues, asthma, obesity and type 2 diabetes in students using the telepsychiatric consultation services.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation.