More federal money to go toward physician training

Medical schools and other health professionals programs will be able to provide scholarships and help with loan repayments.

By Susan J. Landers — Posted Aug. 21, 2009

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The Dept. of Health and Human Services in July announced it will distribute $200 million to help train physicians and other health care professionals.

The money is expected to go toward training approximately 8,000 students and health professionals by the end of fiscal 2010. For example, medical schools and other educational institutions will receive money to provide scholarships for disadvantaged students and cover loan repayments for faculty from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The funds are part of $500 million allocated to the Health Resources and Services Administration to address work-force shortages. The remaining $300 million will be used to expand HRSA's National Health Service Corps, which provides scholarships and loan repayment for primary care physicians and others who agree to work in underserved areas.

"Our health professions programs have been significantly underfunded these past few years," said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN. "These funds will help us begin to rebuild the infrastructure that is so essential to producing the number of skilled health professionals the nation needs."

Of the $200 million, $80.2 million will be used for scholarships, loans and loan repayment awards to students, health professionals and faculty; $50 million will purchase equipment used in training programs; and $47.6 million will support primary care training programs for residents, medical students, physician assistants and dentists, many of whom will practice in underserved areas.

Another $10.5 million will help train more public health workers, $10.2 million will increase diversity among health professionals by providing scholarships to disadvantaged students and $1.5 million will help reduce barriers to telemedicine. More information is available on HRSA's Web site (link).

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