HHS to Award $107 Million to Build Health Workforce in Rural Communities

June 19, 2020 Updated: June 19, 2020

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said it will give $107.2 million to 310 recipients to build the health workforce in rural and underserved communities across 45 states and territories.

“Supporting a strong health workforce is essential to improving health in rural and underserved communities,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement on Thursday.

Azar said the CCP virus pandemic highlighted stark disparities in health care.

“As part of the Trump Administration’s work to address health disparities, these grants provide support for the training of healthcare workers in rural and underserved communities,” he said.

The HHS said the funding aims to improve the quality, distribution, and diversity of health professionals across the country by providing economic and professional support to physicians, faculty, dentists, nurses, and students of health care.

“Access to a robust and high-quality health care workforce is essential for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases in underserved areas,” said Tom Engels, the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) administrator.

The funding supports six health care programs including the Nurse Faculty Loan Program, scholarships for disadvantaged students, Nurse Anesthetist Traineeships, and Primary Care Training and Enhancement Program.

“The program will improve access to oral health care services for all individuals, especially low-income and underserved populations,” said Engels.

The largest portion of the funding, $47.8 million, will go to the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) program which aims to provide scholarships to students with financial needs through 86 awards to health professional schools and programs.

The Nurse Faculty Loan Program will get $26.7 million and will work with the objective of expanding nursing faculty across the country.

“Loans are provided to nursing students who receive up to 85% loan cancellation in exchange for full-time post-graduate employment as nurse faculty,” HHS noted about the program.

The Primary Care Training and Enhancement: Residency Training in Primary Care (PCTE-RTPC) Program will receive $8.8 million to address the physician shortage by “increasing the number of residency graduates practicing in areas where there is a deficiency of primary care providers.”

The funding also supports the Postdoctoral Training in General, Pediatric, and Public Health Dentistry program with $13 million. It aims to provide funding to postdoctoral dental residency training programs in rural communities.

“The program will improve access to oral health care services for all individuals, especially low-income and underserved populations,” said HHS.

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