Des Moines University and the University of Iowa are beginning projects designed to improve the availability of healthcare in the state. David Plundo, associate dean for clinical affairs at Des Moines University, says they’ll be creating health education centers.
Plundo says it provides access to care, mostly for rural and undeserved communities, and will create a pipeline for students and people in rural areas to get information on healthcare, and then help them return to deliver care. The schools will create a total of seven area health education centers (AHEC) with grant money from the U.S. Department of Health.
He says the Des Moines University project will focus on counties north of I-80 and the University of Iowa will supply centers south of I-80. Center. Doctor Plundo says they don’t know yet what types of healthcare will be provided in each of the centers.
Plundo says each center will have different needs and the first year will be spent determining the needs of each area. The federal grant of nearly two million dollars will fund the first three years of the Des Moines University program. He says they hope to get an infrastructure established and hopefully will get more grant money and other funding to keep it going. Plundo says improving rural access to healthcare is a benefit to all Iowans.
Plundo says there’s such a disparity in healthcare in the state because of the large number of rural areas. He says a lot of farm areas have very little access to care and health plans compared to urban communities, and improving the rural care will help the entire state. The University of Iowa College of Nursing received two-point-six million dollars for their portion of the program.