Sunday, September 19, 2010

Millions for Health Workforce

HHS with HRSA overseeing the programs announced $130.8 million in grants to strengthen and expand the health professions workforce. Six areas are targeted and include primary care workforce training, oral health workforce training, equipment to improve training across the health professions, loan repayments for health professionals, health careers opportunity programs for disadvantaged students, and patient navigator outreach and chronic disease prevention in health disparity populations. The grants total $88.7 million in funding from ARRA of 2009.

Secretary Sebelius said “Today’s awards not only will provide more training opportunities for people interested in a health professions career, but will also support equipment purchases and faculty development to expand and enhance the quality of training.”

Funding for $50.5 million from the Recovery Act will provide 208 awards to assist with purchasing equipment for training current and future health professionals across disciplines at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate education levels.

Awardees will include academic health centers, area health education centers, centers of excellence, and other educational institutions that serve underserved and uninsured patient populations, rural communities, and minorities. Equipment purchases will expand current training capabilities by replacing outdated equipment and technology or can be used to purchase equipment.

The equipment to be purchased will include e-learning tools such as video, audio and interactive learning systems, human patient simulators to help students improve clinical judgment and critical thinking, and mobile dental vans to deliver training to diverse segments of the population.

Funding for $3.8 million will provide 10 grants to help develop and operate patient navigator services and to improve healthcare outcomes for individuals with cancer or other chronic diseases emphasizing populations with health disparities... Grant recipients will recruit, train, and employ patient navigators to coordinate care for patients with chronic illnesses. Eligible applicants include federally qualified health centers, health facilities operated through Indian Health Service contracts, hospitals, rural health clinics, and academic health centers.

Funding for $42.1 million with $31.5 million coming from the Recovery Act, will provide training in primary care to support family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics programs, and also includes curriculum development, provide for faculty development, didactic and community-based education. Training will be provided in underserved areas for primary care residents, pre-doctoral students, interdisciplinary and inter-professional graduate students, and physician assistant students.

Funding for $23.9 million with $6.7 million from the Recovery Act will support oral health workforce development programs to include pre- and post-doctoral training for dental residents, dental faculty, loan repayments for faculty who teach primary care dentistry, and training for practicing dentists and dental hygiene programs. The funding also includes $4.3 million to go to the states to provide 9 new grantees with the opportunity to address their state’s unique oral health workforce needs in underserved urban and rural areas.

The health careers opportunity program with $2.1 million will enable 3 grantees to increase diversity in the health professions by developing an educational pipeline that will enhance the academic performance of economically and educationally disadvantaged students and prepare them for careers in the health professions. Eligible applicants include schools of medicine, public health, dentistry, pharmacy, allied health, and graduate programs in behavioral or mental health.

Funding of $8.3 million will enable 29 grants to be made to states that can provide matching funds to assist health professionals in repaying their educational loans. Health professionals eligible to receive funding include physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, physician assistants, psychologists, and social workers.

Go to for more information and to see grant award tables by state. For more information on HRSA’s health professions programs, go to