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 50,000 primary health care practitioners to communities with limited access to primary care. Currently, approximately 10,200 NHSC members provide care to more than 10.7 million people in the U.S., regardless of their ability to pay.