- The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced Wednesday more than $149 million to be distributed through awards to 12 workforce programs funding dozens of grants related to primary care training.
- The awards are provided with the aim of helping to prepare a diverse workforce of primary care providers that will care for underserved communities across the U.S.
- A 2016 study from the Association of American Medical Colleges projects a shortfall of about 14,900 and 35,600 primary care physicians by 2025.
The issues of diversity and underserved communities have come to the forefront in recent years with growing emphasis around achieving healthcare equity in the face of current racial disparities in Medicare, in preventable admissions, surgical outcomes, and more. The trend of rural hospital closures also factors into the matter of underserved communities, as the loss of hospitals also often means the loss of the primary care providers who were based there.
The HRSA awards aim to increase access to quality primary care across the board "by educating and training culturally competent providers who are prepared to practice in high-need areas,” said HRSA Acting Administrator Jim Macrae. “By encouraging partnerships among academic institutions, clinicians, health care sites and public health entities, we can improve health outcomes in underserved communities.”
The top three largest recipients were:
- Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students, at $42.3 million, which helps 78 health professions schools provide scholarships to disadvantaged students to increase diversity in healthcare.
- Nurse Faculty Loan Program, at $24.4 million, which provides grants to 89 nursing schools to boost the ranks of qualified nursing faculty in the U.S.
- Advance Education Nursing Traineeship, at $22.9 million, which provides grants to 69 advanced nursing programs supporting the training of advanced practice nurses and focusing on their role in primary healthcare, particularly in rural and underserved communities.