USDA Launches Grants for Rural and Tribal Communities for Increased Healthcare Improvements
May 06, 2022
Gila River Indian News
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development made a stop in the Gila River Indian Community on April 18 to announce it is giving $5.1 million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants from expanded American Rescue Plan funds to 12 organizations and community groups in Arizona, including four tribal communities.
These funds provide critical dollars for health care providers to develop or implement telehealth, create nutrition assistance programs, increase staffing, construct or remodel facilities and purchase necessary medical supplies.
Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis and Lt. Gov. Monica Antone welcomed USDA Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small and U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran along with representatives from the other 11 communities to Gila River Health Care at the Viola B. Johnson Building. The visit included a tour of the Huhukam Health Care Center and the Community’s Mobile Vaccination Units used during the pandemic.
At the opening of the round table, Gov. Lewis said, “The American Rescue Plan Act funding we’re discussing today was historic not only for the amount of funding directed to tribal governments but also [as] an acknowledgment to our sovereignty to allow us to have the flexibility and how we address the pandemic on the ground in our communities.”
Gov. Lewis applauded the Community’s partnership with the Biden Administration and congress for continuing to include rural and tribal communities in relief efforts. Under Secretary Small concurred.
“The Biden/Harris Administration knows that in order for rural communities and Indian Country to thrive into the future, you need to have quality healthcare, and that’s why I was so proud to get to be here at Gila River Indian Community to celebrate $5.1 million in emergency rural healthcare grants that are going to healthcare providers all across rural Arizona,” Small said.
“It was encouraging to see the work that healthcare providers are doing and the way that they responded to COVID-19.”
O’Halleran, serving Arizona District 1, said the USDA distributed funding quickly and efficiently and worked with rural hospitals and other health institutions to help battle COVID-19. “USDA grants have become critical to the overall success of getting us through the pandemic, especially for rural America and the tribes in Arizona,” he said.