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Health Workforce

Health Workforce

Millions of Americans do not have access to health care, primarily because:

  • They have no health insurance
  • They live where there are not enough health professionals to meet basic needs.

Shortages of health professionals suggest many more may soon find themselves unable to see a primary health care provider when they need one. Diversity within the workforce is also in short supply. African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans are significantly underrepresented in the health workforce.

HRSA programs tackle these challenges by helping to build the training infrastructure that that produces clinicians prepared to provide essential primary health care services and motivated to work where those services are needed most. Health professions grants currently support

  • Medical, dental, nursing, public health and other schools and training programs, as well as their students and faculty;
  • Academic health centers that train students in many health disciplines in off-campus rural and other underserved areas;
  • Programs that work to be sure high school and undergraduate students are prepared for health professions training and enthusiastic about primary care and service in underserved areas.

The results speak for themselves.

  • Almost 40 percent of students in HRSA-funded training programs get hands-on experience in underserved areas, increasing the likelihood they will go on to practice in underserved areas.
  • About half of the students who complete their training in HRSA-funded programs are racial or ethnic minorities under-represented in the health professions and/or from disadvantaged backgrounds, also making them more likely to practice in underserved areas.


Date Last Reviewed:  May 2017

Did You Know?

  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides a total of $200 million to support health professions training programs.
  • An estimated 8,000 health professions students and credentialed clinicians will benefit directly from scholarships and loan repayment programs.
  • Health professions training programs will purchase equipment needed to expand their programs and improve the quality of training.
  • Primary care training programs will use the funds to improve and expand efforts train clinicians who will practice in underserved areas.
  • Schools will work to increase the diversity of the student bodies and to prepare students from disadvantaged backgrounds for health professions training.
  • Schools of public health will provide traineeships and residencies.