Grant Awarded to OHSU's Rural Health Institute

10/17/01    Portland, Ore.

Ford Family Foundation awards more than $1 million to benefit rural communities

Oregonians in rural communities will soon have access to better health care thanks to a recent grant from The Ford Family Foundation of Roseburg, Ore., to the Rural Health Institute at Oregon Health & Science University. The grant, totaling $1,046,991, will improve health care delivery and health education services throughout the state.

The Rural Health Institute at OHSU was founded to promote the long-term health and sustainability of Oregon's rural communities by expanding and coordinating the university's existing activities and clinics in communities throughout the state, as well as creating new initiatives.

This grant will enable the institute to launch and expand four new outreach programs:

  • Emergency Procedures Training Program for Rural Oregon: This program will provide resources and funding to enable OHSU emergency medicine specialists to travel statewide and deliver intensive training to rural medical professionals in the emergency procedures most needed in their communities.
  • Self-Directed Learning Program for Public Health Nurses: Public health nurses are often the front line of care for rural families who have children with special health needs associated with disorders such as autism and cerebral palsy. This program will be delivered through the OHSU's Child Development and Rehabilitation Center (CDRC). The program aims to better prepare nurses in rural communities through customized professional training to provide and coordinate a full range of services to families with special needs children.
  • Health Networks for Rural Schools: This program will train nurses to replicate the successful Health Network for Rural Schools -- a program established in Union County by the OHSU School of Nursing's La Grande campus. By pooling resources and using the skills of OHSU nursing faculty, the schools in these districts will be able to provide health services to their students.
  • Rural Family Nurse Practitioners: Nurse practitioners provide primary and preventive care in many small, underserved communities that cannot sustain a traditional medical practice. This program will be based at the OHSU School of Nursing's La Grande campus, and will train nurse practitioners in how to collaborate with rural communities to establish and sustain successful rural practices.

In addition to these activities, the Rural Health Institute will coordinate efforts designated to extend the economic benefits of biomedical research to Oregon's rural communities, broaden access to clinical trials for our state's rural citizens, and establish the telecommunications infrastructure necessary to connect rural practices to the many resources available at OHSU.

"One of OHSU's missions is to provide the best care and support possible to every corner of the state," said OHSU President Peter O. Kohler, M.D. "We are deeply grateful to the Ford Family Foundation for enabling us to build on this mission. The Rural Health Institute represents an important investment in the future of Oregon's rural communities."

Kenneth W. and Hallie E. Ford established Ford Family Foundation in 1957. The foundation endeavors to help individuals through organized learning opportunities to be contributing and successful citizens; and to support non-profit activities, agencies and projects with particular emphasis on small to mid-sized rural communities in Oregon and Siskiyou County, California. The foundation is headquartered in Roseburg, Oregon.

The Rural Health Institute is one priority of The Oregon Opportunity, an OHSU-wide fund-raising initiative to support and expand OHSU programs and initiatives and to accelerate the institution's biomedical research activities.

For more information on the Oregon Opportunity or the Rural Health Institute, contact Barbara Mahoney, senior vice president for development at the OHSU Foundation, at 503 228-1730. More information on giving opportunities is available on the OHSU Foundation's Web site at