Two University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson programs were honored for innovation and excellence in distance learning techniques and technologies.
The Arizona Telemedicine Program and its Southwest Telehealth Resource Center were recognized by the United States Distance Learning Association as a “Trendsetter in Distance Learning” at its 2023 National Conference in Orlando, Florida, on July 19.
Janet Major, associate director for innovation and digital health at the Arizona Telemedicine Program and Southwest Telehealth Resource Center, accepted the award on behalf of the ATP and SWTRC, which are housed in the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson at UArizona Health Sciences.
“We are committed to excellence in distance communications for health care and education and are honored to be recognized by the USDLA as a trendsetter for our work to improve access to health care and health care education through telehealth capabilities,” said Michael Holcomb, interim director of the Arizona Telemedicine Program.
The USDLA International Distance Learning Awards recognize instructors, programs and professionals from across the globe who have demonstrated achievement in areas such as innovation or excellence in their uses of distance learning techniques and delivery technologies, extraordinary impact to student growth and engagement, exceptional promise or leadership in the field, pioneering initiatives, or high-quality research that advances the field.
“The International Award program continues to provide prestigious recognition for educational influencers around the world,” said Eric Jones, president of the USDLA. “These award winners are truly leaders in the distance and digital learning industry and their work in support of pedagogy is unsurpassed.”
Telemedicine has been shown empirically to improve access to quality medical care for patients living in rural and medically underserved areas.
“Since 1996, the Arizona Telemedicine Program has provided telemedicine training, education and evaluation throughout Arizona to enhance health care delivery to underserved populations throughout the state using telemedicine technologies, and promoted the use of telecommunications for distance learning in health care,” Major said. “The Southwest Telehealth Resource Center has built digital training and award-winning events and courses to prepare health care workers of all levels and specialties throughout Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and the Four Corners Region.”
The Southwest Telehealth Resource Center assists start-up telehealth programs in their development and serves as a resource for existing programs regarding changes in technology and other issues affecting telehealth in the Southwest region. The SWTRC serves hospitals, clinics, public health offices and private-practice health care providers. Those seeking advice come from a variety of backgrounds, including clinicians and health care providers, hospital administrators, technologists, telemedicine site coordinators, medical students, medical residents, researchers and community representatives interested in telemedicine.
The SWTRC is funded in part by grant number U1U42527 from the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth, Health Resources and Services Administration, DHHS.