Tech opens tribe's access to medical data

The National Institutes of Health is reaching out to close the digital divide

by helping American Indians get medical information online.

In the latest in a series of projects to connected underserved populations

to the Internet, the National Library of Medicine is installing eight computers

with high-speed Internet access at the American Indian Cultural Center in

Waldorf, Md.

About 8,000 members of the Piscataway Indian tribe live in southern

Maryland. The population includes many people with high blood pressure and

diabetes who don't have regular access to medical information.

"The NIH has created a number of Web sites with a wealth of good consumer

health information," said Yvonne Maddox, acting NIH deputy director. "This

facility is an important step in reducing health disparities and in improving

the health status of an at-risk population by providing information."

NIH is the latest federal agency to launch programs targeted at those

who do not have easy access to computers or the Internet. Other agencies

with such programs include the departments of Commerce, Education, Agriculture

and Housing and Urban Development.

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