Glossary

Access Points
A service delivery site for the provision of primary and preventive health care services.

Behavioral Health 
Encompasses the promotion of emotional health; the prevention of mental illnesses and substance use disorders; and treatments and services for mental and substance use disorders.

Care Management
A set of activities intended to improve patient care and reduce the need for medical services by enhancing coordination of care, eliminate duplication, and helping patients and caregivers more effectively manage health conditions.

Community
A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

In the context of the HRSA programs, the term “community” should be considered in the broadest context including, people living and/or working in the same health service delivery area, having common health-related interests or skillsets, and/or having similar health needs or challenges.

Community Health Needs Assessments
The process of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting quantitative or qualitative data on health outcomes and health correlates and determinants; the identification of health disparities or resources that can be used to address priority health needs.

Continuing Education
A training activity or series of training activities offered to members of the current workforce who have already completed a training program in their profession.

Training sessions are offered to existing professionals and do not include students as primary participants. In the context of the HRSA programs, continuing education primarily applies to clinicians and the annual health profession workforce Continuing Education Units (CEU) requirements.

Culturally-Competent
The ability of providers and organizations to effectively deliver health care services that meet the social, cultural, and linguistic needs of patients.

Diversity
A multiplicity of human differences among groups of people or individuals. 

To increase diversity is to enhance an individual, group, or organization’s cultural competence—the ability to recognize, understand, and respect the differences that may exist between groups and individuals.

Increasing diversity in the health care workforce requires recognition of many other dimensions, e.g. sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, age, cultural background, socio-economic status, disability, and language.

Family Decision Making
The active participation of a patient’s family members in making decisions related to the patient’s health.

Health Care Workforce
The term "health care workforce" includes all health care providers with direct patient care and support responsibilities.

This includes physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, primary care providers, preventive medicine physicians, optometrists, ophthalmologists, physician assistants, pharmacists, dentists, dental hygienists, and other oral health care professionals, allied health professionals, doctors of chiropractic, community health workers, health care paraprofessionals, direct care workers, psychologists and other behavioral and mental health professionals (including substance abuse prevention and treatment providers), social workers, physical and occupational therapists, certified nurse midwives, podiatrists, the emergency medical services workforce (including professional and volunteer ambulance personnel and firefighters), licensed complementary and alternative medicine providers, integrative health practitioners, public health professionals, and any other health professional that the Comptroller General of the United States determines appropriate. [Pursuant to 42 USCS § 294q (Title 42. The Public Health and Welfare; Chapter 6A. The Public Health Service, Health Professions Education, Health Professions and Public Health Workforce, Health Professions Workforce Information and Analysis)],

Health Homes
A team-based health care delivery model led by a health care provider to provide comprehensive, and continuous health care to patients with a goal to obtain maximal health outcomes.

Health Information Technology Tools
Health information technology (HIT) is information technology applied to health and health care. HIT supports health information management across computerized systems and the secure exchange of health information between consumers, providers, payers, and quality monitors.

The integration of health information technology into primary care includes a variety of electronic methods that are used to manage information about people's health and health care, for both individual patients and groups of patients.

Health Literacy
The ability to read, understand, and analyze information; weigh risks and benefits; and ultimately make decisions and actively engage in activities to protect one’s health.

Health Service Integration
The unification of health service delivery, management and organization related to diagnosis, treatment, care, rehabilitation and health promotion within one system of care.

Integration is a means to improve services in relation to access, quality, user satisfaction and efficiency.

Healthy People 2020
The fourth edition of Healthy People, a national effort that sets goals and objectives to improve the health and well-being of people in the United States.

Healthy People 2030
The fifth edition of Healthy People, a national effort that sets goals and objectives to improve the health and well-being of people in the United States.

Health Professional
An individual who has received an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, a doctoral degree, or post-baccalaureate training in a field relating to health care, and who shares in the responsibility for the delivery of health care services or related service.

Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)
A type of person-centered care delivered in the home or community including programs that address the needs of people with functional limitations who need assistance with everyday activities.

HRSA-Supported
Programs and activities administered by recipients of HRSA funding.

Interprofessional Team
A group of two or more health care providers, direct care workers, caregivers, and patients who work together to meet the needs of a patient population. 

Work is divided based on the scope of practice of the included professions, information is shared, the work of each team member is supported, and processes and interventions are coordinated to provide services and programs to meet the patient’s goals. 

Preventive Services
Primary health care services such as annual check-ups and screenings to prevent illness, disease and other health-related problems.

Primary Care
The provision of integrated, accessible health services by clinicians who are accountable for addressing a large majority of personal health care needs, developing a sustained partnership with patients, and practicing in the context of family and community.

Provider
In the context of this document, “Provider” is used synonymously with clinician, health care professional, and health care provider.

Public Health Surveillance
The continuous, systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of health-related data needed for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health practice.

Rural
A geographical area located in a non-metropolitan county, or an area located in a metropolitan county designated by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy as being considered rural.

Social Determinants of Health
The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national, and local levels.

The main social determinants of health include:

  • Income and social status
  • Employment and working conditions
  • Education and literacy
  • Childhood experiences
  • Physical environments
  • Social supports and coping skills
  • Healthy behaviors
  • Access to health services

Social Supports
A patient having friends and other people, including family, to turn to in times of need or crisis. Social support enhances quality of life and provides a buffer against adverse life events.

Stakeholders
People, groups, and organizations that have an interest in HRSA programs. Includes beneficiaries as well as recipients of federal financial assistance, vendors, advocacy organizations, and representatives from a broad cross-section of the community, including individuals with disabilities.

Telehealth
The use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health, and health administration.

Underserved Area
Geographic location or population of individuals eligible for designation by the federal government as a Health Professional Shortage Area, Medically Underserved Area, Medically Underserved Population, or Governor’s Certified Shortage Area for Rural Health Clinic purposes. 

Vulnerable Populations
Groups of individuals at higher risk for health disparities by virtue of their race or ethnicity, socio-economic status, geography, gender, age, disability status, or other risk factors including those associated with sex and gender.

Technical Assistance
HRSA-administered communications and collaborations across different internal and external systems with the goal of bridging the gap among research, policy, and practice, and improving the performance of HRSA programs.

Date Last Reviewed:  May 2019