WHIN receives $400,000 gift from the west central region of IU Health to improve rural broadband access


The Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN) has received $400,000 from the West Central Region of Indiana University Health toward WHIN’s future. The gift recognizes WHIN’s leadership role in accelerating broadband access in its ten-county region.

“WHIN deeply appreciates IU Health’s support,” says WHIN CEO Johnny Park. “Our unique role in helping make innovative wireless broadband technology and network design available to underserved rural communities quickly, while our counties continue to work toward more fiber deployment, will help IU Health serve its patients better now.”

WHIN recently announced a pilot project in Warren County to demonstrate the performance of next-generation wireless technology in difficult terrain. WHIN plans similar projects in each county in the region to show how advanced technology can fill gaps quickly and affordably. Residents and businesses will benefit as WHIN makes its technology available to service providers to include in their offerings to customers.

According to Greg Jarman, Vice President for Broadband Relationships at WHIN, the deployments represent a significant advancement in the services networks can provide.

“The advanced technology WHIN is deploying has next-generation capacity to meet needs like eLearning and telehealth that go beyond high-speed internet,” says Jarman. “It can eventually allow users to connect directly with private networks at school corporations, in health care systems, and in other sensitive applications.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic increased the urgency of what was already a recognized need for more and better telehealth services in our region,” according to Art Vasquez, president of the West Central Region of IU Health, which includes facilities in Lafayette, Frankfort and Monticello. “Over the past two years, the number of IU Health patients utilizing telehealth services has increased by 6,704% throughout the state of Indiana.”

For WHIN and IU Health, the future of healthcare is more than good networks. It includes smart devices that can help physicians diagnose and treat patients at home.

“WHIN’s overarching goal is to make our region a center for the Internet of Things economy,” says Park. “We look forward to working with IU Health to explore how IoT-enabled telehealth can deliver cost-effective and high-quality care to people wherever they are.”

Shannon Oates, MD, FACE, specializes in endocrinology and metabolism for IU Health Arnett. She also oversees IU Health Arnett’s Hospital at Home program.

“Advancing technology has the potential to keep more patients out of the hospital and even out of doctors’ offices,” says Oates. “But it is very important that everyone has access to those services. WHIN is helping our region break down those barriers.”

SOURCES: Alivia Roberts, Marketing and Communications Manager, Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN): Alivia@whin.org and Jason Tennenhouse, VP Strategy and Design, Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN): Jason@whin.org.

ABOUT WHIN: WHIN is an innovative nonprofit organization devoted to making the 10-county Wabash Heartland region of north-central Indiana the global epicenter of digital agriculture and next-generation manufacturing empowered by smart IoT technology.