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TeleHealth Program at UM Health System Receives Verizon Grant

1/12/2010

The TeleHealth program at UHealth-University of Miami Health System has received a $24,500 grant from the Verizon Foundation to use telemedicine to provide pediatric specialty care to underinsured and underserved students in the North Miami Beach feeder pattern of the Miami-Dade County Public School System.

“Verizon’s support of our telemedicine program will allow children to receive care from UHealth experts,” said Anne Burdick, M.D., M.P.H., professor of dermatology and associate dean for telehealth and clinical outreach. “Children will also have improved access to specialty care and their time in the classroom will therefore be maximized. This program is a model of how physicians will provide convenient quality health services by telemedicine technology in the very near future across Miami-Dade County and the nation.”

Verizon has long been engaged in efforts to improve health care, and the company has been an advocate for the empowerment of patients with electronic medical records. The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education, fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence, and invests in projects that provide technology to help underserved populations and people with disabilities access information on crtical health issues.

“Technology is a tremendous tool that can play a significant role in assisting health care providers to increase the efficiency and reach of their programs,” said Michelle Robinson, Verizon president – Southeast region. “Verizon is proud to partner with the University of Miami Health System on this valuable project.”

In 2000, the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation partnered with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to develop and implement a comprehensive school-based health program within a single academic feeder pattern. The School Health Initiative targets students in five North Miami Beach public schools: Fulford Elementary, Greynolds Park Elementary, G.K. Edelman/Sabal Palm Elementary, John F. Kennedy Middle School and North Miami Beach Senior High School.

“The School Health Initiative has more than 20,000 patient encounters every year and telemedicine will serve to take us to the next level by facilitating referrals of children who need access to specialists such as dermatology, cardiology, or even psychiatry, said Joycelyn Lawrence, M.D., medical director of the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation School Health Initiative. “With the underserved, access to these disciplines may be delayed due to travel distance, financial difficulties, inability to take time off from work, or even misperceptions. Telemedicine will ease these burdens by allowing school-aged children and their families to have access from the comforts of their own school.”