More than $107 million in grants is headed to more than 300 recipients across the country in a plan to increase the health workforce in rural and underserved communities.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced the awards on Thursday. Three hundred and ten recipients in 45 states and U.S. territories received the funding to “improve the quality, distribution, and diversity of health professionals across the country,” HRSA said.
“Supporting a strong health workforce is essential to improving health in rural and underserved communities,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “We’ve seen stark disparities in health and healthcare access contribute to the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.”
The grants would fund programs that provide financial and professional support to physicians, faculty, dentists, nurses, and students pursuing careers in the health care field. Programs that receive awards will be able to develop and retain health care professionals to address the needs of their communities.
“Access to a robust and high-quality health care workforce is essential for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases in underserved areas,” said HRSA Administrator Tom Engels. “These awards help meet the demand for health care from individuals who urgently need it.”
Among the programs receiving awards include, 81 awards totaling $26.7 million for Nurse Faculty Loan Programs that expands nursing faculty nationwide, by providing loans to nursing students who in turn get 85 percent of their loan cancelled if they provide full-time post-graduate employment; 20 awards totaling $8.8 million for Primary Care Training and Enhancement programs which provides funding to accredited residency training programs in rural and underserved communities; and 86 awards totaling $47.8 million for the Postdoctoral Training in General, Pediatric and Public Health Dentistry which provides funds to enhance postdoctoral dental residency training programs in rural communities.