HRSA awards $282 million to expand primary health care workforce

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
October 19, 2017

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) today announced nearly $282 million in awards to primary health care clinicians and students through the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and NURSE Corps Scholarship and Loan Repayment Programs.

“Through NHSC and NURSE Corps scholarships and loan repayment for more than 12,000 recipients, we’ve helped communities recruit and retain quality primary care clinicians committed to providing care where they’re needed most,” said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D. “In rural communities facing higher rates of provider shortages, the NHSC is making an impact with one in three NHSC clinicians serving in a rural area.

The NHSC and NURSE Corps programs provide financial and professional support to clinicians and students as they pursue careers in primary, dental, and behavioral health care. The commitment of many of these clinicians goes beyond their service obligation, and as many as 88 percent continue to provide care in underserved areas even after they fulfill their commitment.

This announcement coincides with the NHSC’s annual Corps Community Month. The observance, held each October, celebrates the primary health care workforce and the importance of choosing a career in primary care.

Approximately 10,200 NHSC and 1,900 NURSE Corps clinicians provide culturally competent care to over 12 million people.

“Both programs’ clinicians are meeting the health care needs of generations of Americans in rural, tribal and urban communities across the nation and its territories,” said HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce Associate Administrator Luis Padilla, MD. “NHSC and NURSE Corps clinicians provide crucial health care services to their communities, where they may be the only provider for miles. Their dedication helps increase access to quality health care for millions of Americans.”

These awards support the following programs:

National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program ($39.5 million) provides 181 new awards and 7 continuation awards to students pursuing primary care training leading to a degree in medicine, dentistry, or a degree as a nurse-midwife, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner in exchange for providing primary health care services in areas of greatest need.

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program ($148.7 million) provides 2,554 new awards and 2,259 one-year continuation awards to fully trained, licensed primary care clinicians in exchange for providing primary health care services in an area of greatest need. This total includes 104 Loan Repayment Awards to clinicians in Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories to care for individuals impacted by the Zika virus.

National Health Service Corps Students to Service Loan Repayment Program ($20.7 million) provides 175 new awards. This program provides loan repayment assistance to medical and dental students in their last year of school in return for their choosing primary care as a practice focus and then working in rural and urban areas of greatest need.

NURSE Corps Scholarship Program ($22.2 million) provides 198 new awards and 14 continuation awards to nursing students in exchange for a commitment to work at least two years in a facility with a critical shortage of nurses.

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program ($49.0 million) provides 352 new awards and 285 one-year continuation awards to nurses in exchange for a commitment to serve at a health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses or serve as nurse faculty at an accredited school of nursing.  Additionally, the program provides 149 new awards and 55 continuation awards to nurse faculty, teaching RNs or Advanced Practice Nurses, at eligible public or private nonprofit schools of nursing.

Faculty Loan Repayment Program ($1.1 million) provides 22 new awards to health professions educators in exchange for serving as a faculty member in an accredited, eligible health professions school. The program also encourages participants to promote careers in their respective health care fields.

Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program HRSA Exit Disclaimer ($913,000) provides 8 new awards and 1 continuation awards to Native Hawaiian health care professionals trained in those disciplines and specialties most needed to deliver quality, culturally competent, primary health services to Native Hawaiians in the State of Hawaii.

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Date Last Reviewed:  November 2017