BRTC Director of Clinical Education/Respiratory Instructor Jessica Alphin (left) hands out Covid-19 tests and PPE kits to BRTC students during Welcome Week
Black River Technical College (BRTC) Allied Health recently received a $294,000 grant from the Blue and You Foundation for health disparities elimination.
The project is spear-headed by Dean of Allied Health Jason Linam and BRTC Director of Clinical Education/Respiratory Instructor Jessica Alphin. The goal of the program is to “mitigate the spread of Covid-19 by establishing partnerships with community leaders from rural communities in Clay, Greene, Lawrence, and Randolph Counties. Also, we are providing testing kits, personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies, and wrap-around services to rural communities in our service area,” said Linam.
Funds were used to purchase 12,000 rapid antigen tests and 4,000 PPE kits. “We are currently in the process of distributing the kits, and tests to vulnerable, underserved communities and populations within our service areas local communities. Educational materials containing the proper use of PPE and handwashing are also contained in the kits, said Linam.
BRTC students who are interested in Covid-19 tests and PPE kits can acquire them at the BRTC food pantry by contacting Christina Derbes at (870) 248-4168, Cami Alexander at (870) 248-4092, or Dane Dillion at (870) 248-4158.
Alphin also recently participated in the back-to-school program held at Westridge Church of Christ where she distributed 270 PPE kits, and Covid-19 tests.
The event provided the local community with several additional services in addition to school supplies including haircuts, vision screenings, and fingerprinting/I.D. making.
If any organizations in the public would like BRTC to join their events to pass out PPE kits and Covid-19 tests, they can contact Alphin at (870) 248-4087 or at ( or Linam at (870) 248-4153 or (
The Blue & You Foundation supplies mini-grants ranging from $500 and $2,000 for food pantry support, health initiatives (in public schools, colleges, and universities), and emergency response equipment. The Blue & You Foundations mission is to achieve the goal of better health for all Arkansans, and the Blue & You Foundation seeks to harness the power of partnership. By strategically focusing its grant funding on community-based solutions, the Foundation hopes to nurture community health leadership, foster collaboration and innovation, and leverage financial, human and community resources to pr
oduce a measurable, positive impact, according to