Tennessee gov announces new rural health research center

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Lee has announced the creation of a new rural research center at East Tennessee State University.

A university news release says the Republican governor revealed plans for the new Center for Rural Health Research at the school's College of Public Health.

Lee says the university will receive a $1.5 million first-year grant and then a recurring $750,000 for ongoing operations. The state spending was recommended by Lee and approved by lawmakers this year.

Ballad Health Chairman and CEO Alan Levine announced the health system would contribute more than $15 million to the center over the next 10 years. A variety of other groups will also partner in the effort.

College of Public Health Dean Randy Wykoff will serve as the center's founding director while keeping his current position.

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