Helping Medical Students Choose Primary Care
By Rebecca Spitzgo, Associate Admin.for the Bureau of Clinician and Recruitment
As a fourth year medical student, you make one of the toughest decisions of your life: what field of medicine to enter. Today, with the help of the Affordable Care Act, we are launching a new effort to help more medical students become primary care physicians.
The $12 million National Health Service Corps Students-to-Service Loan Repayment Program Pilot program, supported by the Affordable Care Act, aims to make it easier for decision-making fourth-year medical students to choose primary care as their field of choice.
The program provides support to medical students by helping to repay their often burdensome loans in return for a commitment to serve as primary care clinicians in an underserved area upon completion of a residency program. Students can receive loan repayment of up to $120,000 in return for three years of full-time service or six years of half-time service in areas of the country where there are primary care physician shortages .
We are particularly excited about this new program because it not only boosts our nation’s primary care workforce, but it boosts our National Health Service Corps. Just last month, we announced that we now have more than 10,000 NHSC clinicians. That means nearly three times the number of NHSC clinicians are working in communities across America than just three years ago, thanks to investments like those from the Affordable Care Act. And these clinicians are providing quality care to more than 10.5 million people at more than 17,000 NHSC health care sites in urban, rural and frontier areas. That’s an amazing number, and with this new pilot program, we look forward to serving even more patients in needy communities across the country as we expand the primary care workforce.
Interested students can apply online here. The NHSC anticipates making 100 Student-to-Service Loan Repayment Program awards in the pilot year. The 2012 NHSC Students to Service application cycle will remain open until December 14, 2011.