Coordinates the recruitment and retention of health professionals in underserved communities and supports efforts to build more integrated and sustainable health care systems.
The NHSC was created almost 40 years ago to address a crisis in the health care system. A wave of retirements among primary care physicians and increasing specialization by medical students had left swaths of America without physicians.
Four decades later, these trends continue. Nationwide, underserved areas face a shortage of 16,000 primary care physicians, dentists and psychiatrists.
To blunt the impact of scarce health care services, HRSA promotes the training and retention of a workforce that is diverse, well-trained, and widely dispersed throughout the nation.
HRSA provides scholarships and loan repayment awards to students and clinicians who agree to practice in communities facing health professional shortages. Through the NHSC, clinicians serve in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and every U.S. territory. Sixty percent of these physicians, dentists and nurses are in rural and frontier America, and 40 percent serve in inner cities.
The 4 million patients treated annually by Corps clinicians represent 11 percent of the estimated 36 million Americans living in areas that have little or no access to health care.
Over the past 3 years, the 1-year retention in service to the underserved has ranged from 75-80 percent. The 5-year retention rate is 68 percent and the 15-year retention rate is 52 percent.
The Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program assists registered nurses by repaying up to 85 percent of their qualified educational loans over 3 years in return for their services at health facilities with a critical shortage of nurses.
Nursing students receive financial aid in return for working a minimum of 2 years in a health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses.
Loan repayments are offered to health professions graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds who serve as faculty for a minimum of 2 years at eligible health professions colleges or universities.
The Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program improves the health status of Native Hawaiians by providing scholarships to Native Hawaiians pursuing careers in designated health professions. The scholarship recipients receive training to be culturally competent in the delivery of primary health care services to Native Hawaiians, as well as disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, in underserved rural communities in the state of Hawaii.
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