National Health Service Corps Awards $9.1 million to Primary Care Students

 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced this year’s $9.1 million in National Health Service Corps (NHSC) loan repayment awards. The NHSC awards were given to fourth-year medical students in 30 States and the District of Columbia who will enter primary care practice in underserved areas following graduation. Financed by the Affordable Care Act through the Students to Service Loan Repayment Program (S2S LRP), the pilot program is designed to help stimulate primary care availability in communities with limited access to health care.

The S2S LRP, which is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), provides up to $120,000 in loan repayment support to medical students in their final year of school in exchange for a three-year service pledge with the NHSC working in a medically underserved rural or urban neighborhood. A total of 77 primary care student doctors received awards this inaugural year.

Eric Schluederberg, a fourth-year student at Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (WesternU/COMP), was one of the awardees and was highlighted in the HHS press release following Secretary Sebelius’ announcement. Regarding the importance of primary care and his personal connection with the field after his wife was diagnosed with Spina Bifida, Mr. Schluederberg said, “I always knew my calling was primary care. I’m not a social researcher, and I’m not an economist, but it seems that there are a lot of underserved people in this nation, and that providing sound primary care is a good economic investment.”

For more information on the Students to Service Loan Repayment Program or other NHSC programs, visit

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March 2012
Vol. 6, No. 3