UW Receives $1.6M Grant From Helmsley Foundation to Support Wyoming Health Care Professionals

people walking in front of a building on the UW campus
UW’s College of Health Sciences is part of the Wyoming Point-of-Care Ultrasound Training Initiative, which aims to enhance patient care across the state by both broadening the scope of training in specialty ultrasound and bolstering access to and the quality of point-of-care ultrasound services. (UW Photo)

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has granted nearly $1.6 million to the University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences to train Wyoming health care professionals on state-of-the-art ultrasound equipment as part of a statewide ultrasound initiative.

The initiative includes nearly $13.9 million to help Wyoming hospitals and health centers purchase ultrasound imaging devices and boost sonography and point-of-care ultrasound training opportunities across the state.

“The rural setting of Wyoming requires innovative health care solutions. Point-of-care ultrasound offers vital diagnostic capabilities, reducing the need for patients to travel for standard ultrasound tests,” says UW Provost and Executive Vice President Kevin Carman. “By expanding access and training, our initiative aims to empower rural providers, minimizing patient burden and enhancing health care delivery. We are grateful for the support from the Helmsley Trust for this important initiative.”

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures inside the body. This safe, cost-effective tool supports other clinical information to help providers make timely diagnoses and provide appropriate treatment.

UW’s Wyoming Point-of-Care Ultrasound Training Initiative (WY-POCUTI) aims to enhance patient care across the state by both broadening the scope of training in specialty ultrasound and bolstering access to and the quality of point-of-care ultrasound services.

“As we embark on this transformative initiative, we recognize the pivotal role that access to point-of-care ultrasound plays in addressing the unique health care needs of rural Wyoming,” says Jacob Warren, a professor in the Division of Kinesiology and Health in UW’s College of Health Sciences. “By leveraging state-of-the-art equipment and comprehensive training, we aim not only to enhance diagnostic capabilities, but also to empower health care providers across the state to deliver timely, high-quality care. This generous support from the Helmsley Trust propels us closer to our vision of a healthier, more resilient Wyoming.”

Through this initiative and support from Helmsley, the university’s goal is to see a notable increase in the number of health care providers across Wyoming who are proficiently trained in the use of point-of-care ultrasound, as well as a corresponding rise in the number of ultrasound technicians equipped with specialized skills and techniques in ultrasound imaging.

This concerted effort not only will improve patient outcomes, but it also will ensure that health care professionals are equipped with the tools and knowledge to deliver high-quality care throughout the state. The initiative will be led by Warren. Moreover, it will be supported by two full-time staff members who will provide content-matter expertise in both implementation of the project and in hands-on skills training.

Walter Panzirer, a trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust, says the grants will help improve access to quality medical treatment for all Wyoming residents, whether they live in the heart of Cheyenne or Casper or in smaller rural communities.

“Our hospitals and health centers need to stay current with rapidly advancing technology so they can continue to provide top-notch health care close to home,” Panzirer says. “These grants help ensure that facilities across Wyoming have the latest and greatest ultrasound equipment and training.”

The grants were announced in March during a statewide news conference.

About two-thirds (97) of the 143 devices purchased through the $12.3 million in equipment grants are point-of-care ultrasound machines, which are used by providers at the bed or tableside for immediate assessment of a patient to quickly determine a course of action. The grants also will provide 26 general ultrasound systems and 20 cardiovascular ultrasound systems, which aid in imaging of the heart.

By building upon the infrastructural support previously provided by Helmsley, the WY-POCUTI program will magnify Helmsley’s existing investment by translating infrastructure into implementation. Additionally, by supporting the upskilling of ultrasound workforce in Wyoming to obtain advanced certifications, access to critical specialty ultrasound services in the state will expand. Combined, these initiatives will improve overall access to care in Wyoming and, in the long term, significantly impact health outcomes.

About the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed about $4.5 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care; bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas; and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $650 million to organizations and initiatives in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. For more information, visit https://helmsleytrust.org/.

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Phone: (307) 766-2929
Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

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