DRA, U.S. Department of Defense to Host Two Medical Missions in Louisiana, Arkansas

October 18, 2022

Innovative Readiness Training missions in Monroe/West Monroe, Louisiana and Yellville, Mountain Home and Marshall, Arkansas will occur in Summer 2023.

CLARKSDALE, MS – The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) today announced the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) medical missions that will serve five Delta communities next year. The Northwest Arkansas Wellness Mission and Monroe/West Monroe Wellness Mission will be held in Summer 2023. DRA partners with DoD to bring medical, dental, and optical care to Delta residents in need of quality healthcare at no cost to the patients.

“Access to affordable healthcare is a struggle for many living in our rural Delta communities,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Dr. Corey Wiggins. “The impact IRT missions bring to communities in need of accessible treatment can be life changing to residents who have not had the means to otherwise seek care. I am proud of DRA’s partnership with the Defense Department, and look forward to working with our community partners to ensure another year of successful missions.”

IRT is a DoD military training opportunity that delivers joint training opportunities to increase deployment readiness while simultaneously providing key healthcare services with lasting benefits for Delta communities. By utilizing their extensive resources, the military is able to meet some of the region’s most urgent healthcare needs. Among the services provided during IRT missions are basic medical and wellness exams, vision exams and single lens glasses, and dental exams and extractions.

“The City of West Monroe is pleased to partner with the City of Monroe and the Delta Regional Authority to bring Innovative Readiness Training to Northeast Louisiana,” said West Monroe Mayor Staci Mitchell. “The IRT Program provides a critical service to the community, and we are proud to play a small role in bringing much-needed healthcare services to this region of our state.”

“I am honored to welcome members of the Innovative Readiness Training program to the City of Monroe,” said Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis. “As a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, I’ve seen first-hand how our U.S. military has been called to respond to natural disasters – it’s a point of pride knowing our city will play a role in helping our service members get ready to help those during their most desperate time of need. This is also an opportunity for our local first responders to gain new insight into disaster preparedness – something we are well-versed with.”

“The Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District could not be more excited to learn that an Innovative Readiness Training will be held in the cities of Yellville, Mountain Home, and Marshall in 2023,” said Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District Executive Director Joe Willis. “We are fortunate to have partnered with the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) in 2017 to host an IRT Mission and anxiously await another mission returning next summer. We have witnessed the wonderful things that can be accomplished through this partnership, not only for the people served but also for the military members that perform the services.  It’s no secret that access to quality healthcare is a challenge that many rural communities face, and we are no exception. We are truly looking forward to being a part of this and are thankful for the collaborative efforts from the U.S. Department of Defense and DRA that have made this endeavor possible.”

Please visit IRT.defense.gov for more information.

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About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to promote and encourage the economic development of the lower Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt.  DRA invests in projects supporting transportation infrastructure, basic public infrastructure, workforce training, and business development.  DRA’s mission is to help create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of those who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state region.

DRA Media Contact:
Shawna Blair
202-515-1354
sblair@dra.gov