Mission and History

The Mission of the National Health Service Corps

The National Health Service Corps builds healthy communities by supporting qualified health care providers dedicated to working in areas of the United States with limited access to care.

The History of the National Health Service Corps

The NHSC was created in response to the health care crisis that emerged in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s.  Older physicians were retiring and young doctors started to choose specialization over general practice, leaving many areas of the country without medical services.

The NHSC enabled health centers in rural, urban, and frontier communities to compete with private medical practices and prevent a growing primary health care shortage. The law that created the Corps specified that it would: “improve the delivery of health services to persons living in communities and areas of the United States where health personnel and services are inadequate.”

Since 1972, the NHSC has connected 45,000 primary health care practitioners to communities with limited access to primary care. Currently, there are nearly 8,900 NHSC members providing care to more than 9.3 million people in the United States, regardless of their ability to pay.

National Health Service Corps Milestones

National Health Service Corps Milestones: 1970s - NHSC Created, First scholarships, Grew  from 181 providers to over 1,800, Budge 10 times larger by the end of decade. 19802 – Loan Repayment Program (LRP) launched, Predicted physician surplus – budge reduced, Field strength at 1,500 by 1989.  1990s – Only 1,1000 providers serve, Mental health disciplines added to LRP, Over 2,500 providers in service by end of decade  2000s – Recovery Act and Health Care Reform drastically increased funding, Unprecedented growth in field strength, Number of NHSC members doubled from 2008 to 2011.