National Health Service Corps Update
New Scholarship and Loan Repayment Opportunities Available for PA Students
By Athena Abdullah
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has forwarded a letter from HRSA Administrator Dr. Mary Wakefield to PA students, introducing new National Health Service Corps' (NHSC) scholarship and loan repayment programs. For more information, you can read her letter here. PAEA asks that program directors ensure that each student receives a copy of this letter. (For ease of forwarding, PAEA also sent the letter as a separate email to program directors on November 25.) HRSA is requesting feedback from PAEA on the estimated number of students reached and the method of dissemination.
The NHSC National Advisory Council met in Rockville, Maryland, from November 12-14. With the new administration and the availability of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding, the Corps is invigorated and expanding. A few recent changes are highlighted here.
The NHSC is in the process of filling 8,000 vacancies, for which it has so far received more than 7,000 online applications. The Corps is instituting modifications in its contracts, computer systems/processes, and call center, including updating its systems so that scholarship and loan applicants will be able to check the status of their applications online.
In addition, the Student Experiences and Rotations in Community Health (SEARCH) program is being revived. More information will be provided on this program as it is received. The NHSC is also working on implementation of a “part-time” loan repayment demonstration project, which provides for a limited number of awards for all disciplines. Recipients will receive $50,000 for four years of service in a medically underserved area.
Social media is extremely important to HRSA and they have created a page on Facebook. The NHSC also has a page on Facebook. Be sure to check them out when you visit Facebook. In addition, HRSA has developed a marketing campaign for the NHSC to increase the NHSC's visibility and provide greater outreach to health professions students.
The NHSC staff said that 80 percent of what they do is customer service. They are working to improve internal and external communication and collaboration. Outreach is extremely important. Stay tuned for more information on the NHSC!
To find out more about the NHSC loan repayment program, please click here.