HRSA awards $7M to workforce programs to combat Zika

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) today awarded approximately $7 million through two workforce development programs to combat the Zika virus and meet the health care needs of people living in Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. As of July 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 36,828 cases of Zika acquired through presumed local mosquito-borne transmission in these areas.

“These U.S. territories are geographically isolated areas that continue to tackle Zika,” said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas, MS, Ph.D. “Today’s awards will assist health professionals already serving in these affected areas payback their academic loans and help other local health professionals acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to address the unique needs of their communities.”

Approximately $6 million of the funding supports loan repayment assistance to 104 clinicians who have committed to serving for three years in high-need areas through the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program (LRP). This funding will expand the availability of high-quality primary care and behavioral health clinicians in the communities most affected by Zika.

“National Health Service Corps members regularly provide care to more than 11 million Americans and are committed to serving in high-need communities,” said HRSA Bureau of Health Workforce Associate Administrator Luis Padilla, M.D., F.A.A.F.P. “In addition to the unique situation of the Zika-affected territories, many underserved areas also face high rates of chronic illness; often have limited access to primary health care, regular dental care, behavioral health care, and preventive screenings. Through the NHSC, we address those needs.”

The additional $1 million supports three grantees of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disabilities (LEND) program. These recipients will use methods such as training, clinical consultation through telehealth, and interdisciplinary clinical care through telemedicine to support a range of local health professionals treating children exposed prenatally to the virus.

“Zika is a chronic condition that requires consistent follow-up and management, and whose effects may not be obvious until the first few months or years of life,” said HRSA Associate Administrator for Maternal and Child Health Michael C. Lu, M.D., M.S., M.P.H. “We hope today’s awards ultimately empower communities by supporting optimal health and development and improving access to appropriate clinical care for children affected by Zika.”

National Health Service Corps Zika LRP Awardees

U.S. Territory

Number of Awards

Puerto Rico 101
U.S. Virgin Islands 2
American Samoa 1
U.S. Territory Total Awards 104

LEND Awardees:


Award Amount

University of Miami $333,333
Children's Hospital Los Angeles $333,333
Trustees of Indiana University $333,333

For more information about how HRSA is addressing Zika, visit

For more information about available federal resources to help states respond to Zika, read HRSA’s Zika Resource Guide at

For more on U.S. efforts to combat Zika, visit

Learn more about NHSC and watch this video HRSA Exit Disclaimer of a NHSC-approved site in Puerto Rico, Concilio de Salud Integral de Loíza, and see its impact on the health of the residents of this municipality.

Date Last Reviewed:  August 2017