HHS awards $96 million to train health professionals
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has awarded $96 million in grants to increase diversity in the health professions workforce and encourage nurses to choose careers as nurse educators.

The grants will go to schools for scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds with financial need, many of whom are underrepresented minorities. Funds also will provide low-interest loans to nurse faculty students–those who want to teach nursing–as an incentive for nurses to select careers as nurse educators, the agency stated.

Of these funds, $27 million is part of the $200 million appropriated to HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to build the nation’s healthcare workforce.

Of the total funding, $66 million will be used to provide scholarships to 28,000 disadvantaged students under the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program. The funds awarded include:
  • $45.7 million in FY 2010 appropriations for 308 grants to 605 health professions programs at colleges and universities; and
  • $20.5 million in ARRA funds for 273 grants to 513 programs at colleges and universities.

Under the Nurse Faculty Loan program, $30 million is awarded to 165 grantees to support nursing student loans for master and doctoral degree nurses who will then become faculty at nursing schools across the country. In exchange for teaching at a nursing school, students are eligible for an 85 percent loan cancellation during their first four years of employment.

The funds awarded will support the training of 850 nursing students and include:
  • $23.5 million in FY 2010 appropriations for 114 grants; and
  • $6.6 million in Recovery Act funds for 51 grants.