Expanding vaccine access, loan repayment and scholarships, and more

A Newsletter from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)

 April 1, 2021

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Launches Nationwide Network of Trusted Voices to Encourage Vaccination in Next Phase of COVID-19 Public Education Campaign

We Can Do This. COVID-19 Community Corps.

COVID-19 Community Corps to Mobilize Doctors, Community Leaders, Businesses and Citizens and Equip Them with Resources and Information to Build Vaccine Confidence and Uptake

HHS Also Launches First TV Ads Encouraging Vaccinations, and Social Media Profile Frames for Americans to Share Support of Vaccines with the Message “We Can Do This”

April 1 - Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is announcing additional measures to encourage vaccinations and increase vaccine confidence as part of the next phase of its COVID-19 public education campaign. The Administration is launching the COVID-19 Community Corps – a nationwide, grassroots network of local voices people know and trust to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. As part of the launch of the Community Corps, Vice President Kamala Harris and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy will meet with founding members on Thursday, April 1, as she begins championing the next phase of the public education campaign from the White House.

The Community Corps will be comprised of trusted voices in communities across the country, and the Administration will regularly share updated public health information and resources for them to use with their communities to help get friends, family, and followers vaccinated.

Read the release.

Join the HHS COVID-19 Community Corps.

$6 Billion Investment in Community Health Centers to Expand Access to Vaccines in Underserved Communities

map of the us with a stethoscope lying on top of it

HHS will invest more than $6 billion from the American Rescue Plan into Community Health Centers nationwide to expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and treatment for vulnerable populations; deliver preventive and primary health care services to people at higher risk for COVID-19; and expand health centers’ operational capacity during the pandemic and beyond, including modifying and improving physical infrastructure and adding mobile units.  The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), will provide funding starting in April to nearly 1,400 centers across the country. Community Health Centers serve 1 in 5 people living in rural communities. More than 91% of health center patients are individuals or families living at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, and more than 60% are racial or ethnic minorities.

For detailed information on how this funding is being distributed to health centers nationwide, including state-by-state breakdowns and an interactive health center funding map, please visit: https://bphc.hrsa.gov/program-opportunities/american-rescue-plan/awards

Read the White House fact sheet.

NHSC Receives $800 Million to Support Loan Repayment and Scholarship Programs

photo of a health professional

Our National Health Service Corps (NHSC) opened its application for all three loan repayment programs and its NHSC Scholarship Program with an additional $800 million available for awards. The additional funds are part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan for pandemic relief and will support the largest number of NHSC clinicians in history. The NHSC Loan Repayment Program (NHSC LRP), the NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program (NHSC SUD Workforce LRP) and the NHSC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program (NHSC Rural Community LRP). The application closes on May 6, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. EDT.

Learn about eligible disciplines, site types, service commitment, and more.

Nurse Corps Scholarship Program Now Open

photo of a nurse

The Nurse Corps Scholarship Program provides financial support to students enrolled in nursing degree programs in exchange for a commitment to serve in high-need areas across the country. This year, Nurse Corps has additional funding for awards. Are you pursuing an NP degree in psychiatric mental health? An APRN or RN degree in women’s health or certified nurse midwifery? Or are you a CNA, home health aide, medical assistant, or LPN working towards your RN degree? You may be eligible for an award. Scholarship support includes tuition, fees, other reasonable educational costs, and a monthly living stipend.

Find out if you qualify today. Accepting applications through May 6, 2021.

Social Media Campaign on HRSA Health Center Program Launches

map of the U.S. with 10 HHS regions highlighted: 1,385 health centers and 29,836,613 patients served (source: 2019 UDS data)

On March 22, we began a social media campaign to highlight and promote the HRSA Health Center Program. The campaign runs through May 3. The weekly Monday and Wednesday posts demonstrate the positive impact that health centers have on local and regional communities. We encourage you to amplify these posts, which also will drive audiences to the Find a Health Center website, where people can find a health center location near them.

Follow the campaign on our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

New Research: General Surgeons in the Rural U.S.

surgeons in surgery

New research shows that between 2001 and 2019 the supply of general surgeons in the U.S. decreased by 29.1% in rural areas, and 18% overall. This is a crucial finding as general surgeons play a critical role in rural health care.

General surgeons in rural areas decrease the need for patients to travel for routine surgery, provide backup to rural primary care providers in emergency care, obstetrics, and orthopedics, and contribute substantially to the financial health of rural hospitals. The study also found rural general surgeons are older than their urban counterparts and fewer surgeons in rural areas are women. The research was conducted by the HRSA-funded WWAMI Rural Health Research Center.

Expanding Access to Medication-Based Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Underserved Rural Areas Using Telehealth

telebehavioral health webinar register today. april 15, 2021 Noon - 1 p.m. EDT

Part 3 on Thursday, April 15, Noon - 1 p.m. EDT

Even before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, only about one in ten Americans with a substance use disorder received needed treatment. Rural populations face additional challenges in accessing medications for opioid use disorder due to a short supply of treatment programs and credentialed providers within a reasonable proximity. Today, the need to physically distance due to the COVID-19 pandemic presents further challenges for people seeking these services and the organizations providing them. This webinar discusses tips and promising strategies for addressing substance use disorder among vulnerable populations in rural areas with a focus on individuals with opioid use disorder.

The webinar will feature speakers from our Office of Regional Operations, the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the Northeast Telehealth Resource Center.

Register today.

Building COVID-19 Vaccine Trust for Community Health Center Patients Webinar

photo of a man about to get a vaccine

Join us for a Clinical Leaders Forum webinar: Building COVID-19 Vaccine Trust for Community Health Center Patients Wednesday, April 7, from 1-2 p.m. EDT.

This webinar from our Bureau of Health Workforce, in partnership with the CDC, is for clinicians, grantees, students and interested members of the public. 

Register today.

Health Centers Provide HIV Services to More than 600,000 People in Ending the HIV Epidemic Jurisdictions in Just Eight Months

ending the hiv epidemic

Health centers across the nation achieved significant results in HIV testing, linkage to care, and PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) starts in the first several months of their work as partners in the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative.

In February 2020, 195 health centers received $54 million under the Primary Care HIV Prevention (PCHP) funding opportunity. This first-of-its-kind funding supported health centers to expand outreach, partnerships, and workforce to increase HIV testing, increase access to and use of PrEP, and link individuals who test positive for HIV to treatment. We recently solicited applications to expand the PCHP initiative by up to 175 health centers this fiscal year and plan to announce those awards this summer.

Read more in a blog post by Bureau of Primary Health Care Associate Administrator Jim Macrae.

How States Use Federal Medicaid Authorities to Finance Housing-Related Services

clipart of a cityscape

The National Academy for State Health Policy released a policy brief exploring how states have used federal waivers to better meet the housing needs of its Medicaid enrollees. Housing with supportive services, known as permanent supportive housing, supports individuals with complex medical needs and reduces emergency department use. Supportive housing also helps individuals remain stably housed over the long termEvidence shows a strong association between access to safe, affordable, and stable housing and positive health outcomes. Learn more about states that have leveraged a variety of federal Medicaid authorities to deliver housing-related support services to individuals with disabilities and chronic conditions.

This policy brief was developed with support through a cooperative agreement with HRSA.

Read the brief.

Tackling Inequities in Digital Care Webinar

photo of a woman on a telehealth call

Join us Monday, April 12, 2-3:30 p.m. EDT, for a webinar on Tackling Inequities in Digital Care. The rapid expansion of telehealth during the COVID-19 response has spotlighted the challenges of digital access for populations who have been marginalized. This webinar will present innovative interventions that improve digital equity and potentially lower health disparities.

This webinar is supported by HRSA through our cooperative agreement with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO).

image of a calendar


  • Autism Awareness Month
  • Donate Life Month
  • National Minority Health Month
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month
  • National Public Health Week (5-11)
  • National Pediatric Transplant Week (18-24)
  • World Health Day (7)
  • Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (10)


Funding Opportunities


Health Centers

Health Center Program Service Expansion - School-Based Service Sites - Apply by April 2


Health Workforce

Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program for Paraprofessionals - Apply by April 12

Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program - Apply by April 19

Behavioral Health Workforce Development Technical Assistance and Evaluation (BHWD TAE) Program - Apply by May 3

Primary Care Dental Faculty Development Program - Apply by May 21



Capacity Building for Sustainable HIV Services - Apply by May 7

Quality Improvement Solutions for Sustained Epidemic Control Project (QISSEC) - Apply by May 7

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part B States/Territories Supplemental Grant Program - Apply by May 10

Global Reach I - Apply by May 10


Maternal and Child Health

Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development Center Program - Apply by April 6

Emerging Issues in Maternal and Child Health - Apply by April 9

Vision Screening in Young Children Program - Apply by April 12

Autism Secondary Data Analysis Research Program - Apply by April 12

Autism Field-Initiated Innovative Research Studies Program (Autism-FIRST) - Apply by April 15

Bridging the Word Gap Research Network (BWG) - Apply by April 22

Sickle Cell Disease Newborn Screening Follow-up Program - Apply by April 29

Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Demonstration Program - Apply by May 3

Long-term Follow-up for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency and Other Newborn Screening Conditions - Apply by May 3

State Newborn Screening Interoperability Implementation Program - Apply by May 10

Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program – Formula - Apply by June 15

Maternal and Child Health Services - Apply by September 1


Rural Health

Evidence Based Telehealth Network Program - Apply by April 2

Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Psychostimulant Support - Apply by April 12

Telehealth Centers of Excellence - Apply by April 20


View All Funding Opportunities