The Virgin Islands Department of Health Family Planning Program
Telehealth Enhancement and Expansion Grant
2022 Project Abstract
The Virgin Islands Department of Health Family Planning Program (VIFPP) has provided core family planning, referral, and preventive health services to individuals throughout the US Virgin Islands since 1970. The VIFPP's mission is to provide affordable, comprehensive, culturally sensitive, social and reproductive health services to women, men and adolescents of the US Virgin Islands regardless of ability to pay. To accomplish this mission, the VIFPP offers contraceptive services, pregnancy testing and counselling, assistance with conception for those who want to achieve pregnancy, basic infertility services, preconception services and screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. We also offer cervical and breast cancer screening and other preventive health services, such as glucose and lipid testing, as well as community outreach and education services to increase access to services for vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations.
The Virgin Islands has a high rate of uninsured individuals and is a designated Health Professional Shortage Area by the Health Resources and Services Administration. The shortage of health care providers, especially for low-income and uninsured individuals, creates a challenge for the community and barriers for individuals seeking care. This translates to rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS, that exceed national averages. The VIFPP is the territory’s only Title X service provider and the only dedicated family planning service. Thus, VIFPP services are vital to the community's health and well-being. The VIFPP works collaboratively with public and private organizations to optimize impact and advance health equity through shared activities related to the provision of services and educational messages.
The VIFPP telehealth enhancement and expansion grant program will strengthen the VIFPP capacity to provide quality services to the populations served. The proposed program will ensure the delivery of innovative and high-quality family planning and related health services with priority given to individuals from low-income families; and advance health equity by providing access to core family planning services to individuals, families, and communities in need through outreach to hard-to-reach and disparity populations, expansion of the telehealth infrastructure, to include technical and staff development and training. Outreach using telehealth modalities will be conducted in housing communities and popular locations in the community utilizing the mobile health vans on all three islands, in collaboration with other Virgin Islands Department of Health Programs.
The VIFPP telehealth infrastructure enhancement and expansion will include the acquisition of essential equipment and supplies for use at the two main sites and the satellite family planning service delivery sites; training of program providers; and providing support to clients to facilitate their ability to participate in telehealth and telemedicine encounters, particularly critical due to the ongoing pandemic, towards the goal of improving overall health outcomes and closing the health equity gap for all women and their families in the US Virgin Islands.