We Can’t Wait: HHS Secretary announces veterans’ priority in health professions training grants

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Monday, March 26, 2012

Two grant programs totaling more than $24 million will help veterans enter the health professions workforce and increase the nation’s supply of advanced practice nurses and physician assistants, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today. These steps are part of the Administration’s effort to help veterans find jobs here at home after they have fought for our country overseas. Last fall, the Administration announced that it would expand opportunities for veterans to enter health professions by giving funding priority to programs that help train veterans for careers as physician assistants and nursing schools that help veterans pursue nursing careers.  

“Many veterans received training as health care providers while they served in the armed forces,” said Secretary Sebelius.  “The Obama administration is committed to helping these veterans translate the skills they learned in the military into a job when they return home.”  

These multi-year grants, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), are part of the administration’s initiative to increase the supply of primary care practitioners in the United States.  

The first funding opportunity—the Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship Program— is designed to alleviate the training costs for students in nurse practitioner and nurse-midwifery programs.  Eligible applicants include schools of nursing, nursing centers, academic health centers, states or local governments. Priority will be given to applicants that demonstrate a veteran-friendly learning environment, recruit and support veterans interested in pursuing careers in advanced practice nursing, and facilitate academic credit for enlisted health care experience and training. HRSA will award more than $22 million to fund the program in its initial year.

The second funding opportunity—the Physician Assistant Training in Primary Care Program—will support academic institutions that plan, develop, and operate programs to train primary care physician assistants. Priority will also be given to schools with strong veteran commitment, including veteran recruitment and retention initiatives and academic recognition of hands-on experiences gained during military service.  Approximately $2.5 million is expected to be awarded to fund the program in its initial year.

“Helping our veterans in this way will not only facilitate career paths for those who want to become health professionals, but also help to expand America’s crucial primary care workforce,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.

For information on applying for these grants, visit www.grants.gov.  The grants are expected to be awarded this summer.


The Health Resources and Services Administration is part of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. HRSA is the primary federal agency responsible for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. For more information about HRSA and its programs, visit www.hrsa.gov.

Date Last Reviewed:  March 2017