University of CA-Merced launches six telemedicine centers

Last week the University of California-Merced announced that it would be opening six telemedicine centers in underserved cities in the state's San Joaquin Valley. Right now, these sites are among the area's most rural and underserved communities, with one of the worst ratios of doctors to patients in the state at just one licensed physician for every 686 residents, compared with one physician for every 379 residents elsewhere.

However, the new project should help. The centers will now have access to specialists at UC-Merced via teleconferencing and other technology, which will be used to sustain remote consultations. Specialties represented will first include dermatology, psychiatry, pediatric specialties, endocrinology and gastroenterology, but more are to come.

To fund the project, UC Merced has received almost $1 million in grants, including $500,000 from AT&T, $200,000 from the California Emerging Technology Fund and $250,000 from the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley. The funds are no being managed by a new organization called the Valley Telehealth Partnership.

To learn more about the project:
- read this piece from the Stockton Record

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