ACC Uses Federal Grant to Bridge Gap Between Telemedicine and Education

(Oct. 26, 2021) – Alamance Community College has received a $644,911 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to create a network link between the campus and local Emergency Medical Service (EMS) stations that will bridge the gap between telemedicine and higher education.

The College will utilize the existing WE-HELP Initiative (Web Enhanced Healthcare Education Linking rural communities Program) to leverage video-conferencing technology to create a virtual network among 20 Alamance County first-responder bases (fire departments and EMS stations). The result is the delivery of educational programming to over 600 first responders and essential healthcare workers and students.

ACC’s own Nursing and EMS instructors will deliver the instruction from the network hub located on the Alamance Community College campus and administered by the Distance Learning department.

“Through high-fidelity simulations and integrated technology, we will increase our opportunities for interprofessional development between the Nursing and EMS students. The continuum of healthcare will be strengthened through a better understanding of each other’s roles, responsibilities, and scope of practice within the healthcare system,” said Alex Della-Penna, Director of Emergency Medical Services at ACC.

The network will include virtual meeting and classroom technology at 20 EMS stations across Alamance County. Firefighters, for example, will learn how to manage patient overdoses as demonstrated on robotic mannequins by nursing instructors at ACC.

“This network will allow not only for training to be shared, but can be leveraged as a communication tool in other situations as needed,” said Jennifer L. Jones, Director of Distance Learning at ACC.

The $644,911 grant was awarded to the College through the 2020 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program and administered by the Rural Utilities Service, part of the United States Department of Agriculture. ACC matches 15%, making the total grant $741,695. The grant is for three years.

The College held a signing ceremony on October 20 with representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to officially accept the grant.