Utah's ailing rural health community got a healthy boost Wednesday with the announcement that the FHP Foundation has approved grants totaling $197,140 for health care proj-ects in Utah.

The grants were awarded by former Governor Scott Matheson, a member of the FHP Foundation Board of Directors.A grant of $77,140 was allocated for a Preventive Health Care Program for the Elderly in Utah's rural areas. The project is a collaborative effort of three rural community health centers: the Enterprise Valley Medical Clinic, serving Iron and Washington Counties; the Wayne County Medical Clinic, in Bicknell, and the Green River Medical Clinic, serving Emery and Grand Counties.

According to Matheson, the proj-ect will include physical exam, screening, education and outreach components designed to provide early detection, a reduction in the need for hospitalizations, and prevent premature institutionalization.

A second grant of $120,000 went to support the Utah Physician Assistant Program, conducted by the University of Utah School of Medicine.

"The grant will provide scholarship support for five financially disadvantaged students in each of the next two classes," Matheson said.

The Utah Physician Assistant Program is a two-year training program that has existed for 17 years. One of 51 such programs throughout the United States, the program is the only one of its type serving the Mountain West.