The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) helps bring health care to those who need it most. Since 1972, we have been building healthy communities by connecting primary health care providers to areas of the United States with limited access to care.
More than 45,000 primary care medical, dental, and mental and behavioral health professionals have served in the National Health Service Corps since its inception.
Today, there are nearly 8,900 NHSC members providing culturally competent care to more than 9.3 million people. We provide this care at 5,100 NHSC-approved health care sites in urban, rural, and frontier areas. In addition to Corps providers currently providing care, nearly 1,100 students, residents, and health providers receive scholarships or participate in the Student to Service Loan Repayment program to prepare to practice.
The NHSC is a Federal government program that is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Specifically, the Corps is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of Clinician Recruitment and Service (BCRS).
All those involved in the Corps:
- Loan repayment recipients,
- NHSC-approved sites, and
- Our partners.
are dedicated to:
- Ensuring access to health care for everyone,
- Preventing disease and illness, and
- Caring for the most vulnerable populations who may otherwise go without care.
The NHSC offers financial and other support to Corps Members.
We award scholarships and loan repayment to primary care providers in NHSC-eligible disciplines. NHSC providers, in turn, commit to serving for at least two years at an NHSC-approved site located in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). Many choose to continue serving at their sites beyond the initial NHSC service commitment.
In the NHSC Loan Repayment Program, participants must first apply for, and accept, a position at an NHSC-approved site of their choosing, and then apply to the NHSC. Once accepted, members are able to follow their passion for helping those in need without having to worry about enormous student loans: providers have the opportunity to pay off all of their debt.
The NHSC Scholarship Program pays students’ tuition, books, and other costs, and provides a living stipend, while students train to become a primary care provider in an NHSC-eligible discipline. To receive an NHSC Scholarship, students must be enrolled in an accredited medical, dental, nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, or physician assistant training program. Upon graduation, NHSC Scholars serve as primary care providers in an NHSC-approved site for two to four years, depending on their service contract.
NHSC-approved sites are health care facilities that provide outpatient, ambulatory, primary health services in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), which are communities with limited access to care. Sites (with the exception of Federally Qualified Health Centers and Indian Health Service sites) must apply to become an NHSC site. Once approved, NHSC sites gain access to desperately-needed primary care providers. NHSC providers often continue to work at their sites after they complete their NHSC service commitments.
Strengthening and growing our primary care workforce is critical to keeping this nation healthy. As more Americans gain access to health care, it is critical there are qualified health care providers to serve them. The NHSC, through its providers and sites, plays an important role in helping to address the country’s primary care shortage.