HRSA devotes $107.2 million to expanding workforce, improving diversity of health professionals

Washington — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration said June 18 that it is awarding $107.2 million to expand the health workforce in rural and underserved communities.

According to HRSA, recipients across 45 U.S. states and territories will receive funding to improve the quality, distribution and diversity of health professionals serving across the country.

The awards include $13 million in funding for 27 recipients in HRSA’s postdoctoral training in general, pediatric and public health dentistry to enhance 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, the agency said.

The ADA supports HRSA’s oral health training programs and has advocated for funding for dental residencies to help sustain and advance the next generation of dentists equipped to meet the health care needs of a diverse population.

"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, HRSA administrator. "These awards help meet the demand for health care from individuals who urgently need it."

In addition to the postdoctoral dental programs, the awards also support the following programs:

• The Nurse Faculty Loan Program to expand nursing faculty nationwide.
• Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students to help increase the diversity of the health workforce by funding eligible health professions schools and programs, which make scholarships available to students — including dental students — from disadvantaged backgrounds.
• Nurse Anesthetist Traineeships to provide funding to eligible institutions to cover the costs of traineeships for individuals in nurse anesthesia programs.
• The Primary Care Training and Enhancement: Residency Training in Primary Care Program to enhance accredited residency training programs in rural and underserved communities and help address the nation's current physician shortage.
• The Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention Interprofessional Collaborative Practice Program in Behavioral Health Integration to train and educate the future nursing workforce to provide integrated behavioral health services in rural communities.

Learn more about HRSA's health workforce programs.