Vaccine updates, new rural funding opportunity, and more

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

 April 15, 2021

Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine

Dr. Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General of the United States

HHS released a Joint CDC and FDA Statement on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine, based on six reported cases out of nearly 7 million vaccinations of a rare and severe type of blood clot and the recommendation that vaccine providers pause on administering the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine.

For more information, watch the Surgeon General's announcement

A CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) Call will present the latest evidence on cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) with thrombocytopenia associated with the administration of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Speakers will discuss what is known about CVST, the importance of early detection, and updated vaccine recommendations.

The COCA call is Today, April 15, 2-3 p.m. EDT. A recording will be available for viewing a few hours after the live event ends.

Join the call or learn more.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra Announces Expansion of COVID-19 Vaccine Program to All Community Health Centers Across the Country

photo of a woman getting a vaccine

April 7 - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that all HRSA-funded health centers and Health Center Program look-alikes (LALs) will now be invited to participate in the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program. These health centers will have the opportunity to join the program as soon as they are ready, increasing the total number of health centers that have been invited to 1,470 nationwide. This expansion will be made through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This expansion of the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program is part of President Biden's commitment to ensuring that all of the nation's underserved communities and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19 are equitably vaccinated. This voluntary program started on February 9 with 250 select health centers, then expanded on March 11 to invite an additional 700 health centers. For this phase, an additional 520 health centers that operate over 2,500 service delivery sites are now eligible to participate. Approximately 70 percent of those who have received a vaccine through the program are racial or ethnic minorities.

Read the release.

New Funding Opportunity for the Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies (RMOMS) Program

photo of a woman who is pregnant sitting outside on a bench

April 12 - Three RMOMS award recipients will each receive up to $1 million annually for a four-year period of performance to improve maternal obstetrics care in rural communities.

Award recipients will dedicate the first year to planning and the second through fourth years to activities that implement the program's focus areas, including:

  • risk appropriate care approaches in rural regions,
  • continuum of care through network approaches,
  • telehealth and specialty care, and
  • financial sustainability.

The program will allow awardees to test models in order to address unmet needs for their target population, which could include populations who have historically suffered from poorer health outcomes, health disparities and other inequities.

Read the release.

National Health Service Corps (NHSC) New Site Application Open, Inactive Sites May Apply

Photo of a health professional holding some papers

The 2021 NHSC new site application cycle is now open for eligible health care sites that have never been approved as NHSC sites. This year’s application is also open to formerly-approved NHSC sites that have become inactive. Eligibility includes health care sites that provide outpatient, ambulatory and primary health care services (medical, dental, and behavioral health) in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). Eligible site types also include facilities providing general substance use disorder (SUD) Treatment, a Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Program or an Opioid Treatment Program (OTP).

Applications are due May 25, 11:59 p.m. EDT. Learn more about the NHSC new site application.

National Donate Life Month

Sow seeds of hope in the garden of life. Donate Life March 2021. photo of a person dropping seeds in a garden, where organs are growing.

April is National Donate Life Month, an opportunity to honor the generosity of organ, eye, and tissue donors and lives saved through donation. Sign up as an organ donor today.

April is National Minority Health Month

National Minority Health Month April 2021 #vaccineready

Join us Friday, April 23, at 2 p.m. as we recognize National Minority Health Month with a virtual event hosted by our Office of Health Equity.

This year’s theme is #VaccineReady. HRSA Acting Administrator Diana Espinosa will provide opening remarks.

Guest speakers will focus on the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on communities of color, and will discuss vaccine promotion and uptake among racial and ethnic minorities.

Register now.

Celebrating One Year of

Turn to

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the website, a one-stop resource on telehealth for patients and providers. As we social distance during COVID-19, or save miles by providing or receiving health care online, will continue to be an important resource with up-to-date information from telehealth tips (in English and Spanish) for patients to telehealth best practice guides and telehealth policy changes for health care providers. Visit to explore the latest on telehealth at your fingertips.

HRSA Telehealth Learning Series: An Overview of Federal Broadband Programs

clipart of computers around the globe

Join us for a webinar on Federal Broadband Programs and Resources Wednesday, April 21, 1-2 p.m. EDT. Hear presenters from HRSA's Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Rural Health Care Program, and the Universal Service Administrative Company who will discuss the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, Emergency Broadband Benefit, Lifeline Program, and Rural Health Care Program.

This webinar is part of HRSA’s Telehealth Learning Webinar Series which aims to highlight successful projects and best practices, as well as resources to promote and further the use of telehealth technologies for health care delivery, education, and health information services. 

Register for the session and for more resources and tools about telehealth, visit and HRSA's telehealth website.

New CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Provider Trainings Available

photo of a man about to get a vaccine

CDC and HRSA are working together to bolster the Administration’s critical work in ensuring all Americans have access to the COVID-19 vaccine. To support those serving rural and vulnerable populations, the CDC has developed a resource sheet highlighting new CDC COVID-19 vaccination provider trainings that offer the latest guidance on vaccine administration, storage and handling, safety and monitoring, and more.

Access the trainings.

Emerging Stronger After COVID-19: Priorities for Health System Transformation

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

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the undeniable fractures and weaknesses exposed in the American health care system, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) has undertaken a sector-by-sector review of every aspect of the health care system. These COVID-19 impact assessments examine lessons learned and compelling needs in public health; care systems; research; health payers; clinicians; quality, safety, and standards organizations; health product manufacturers and innovators; patients, families, and communities; and digital health. HRSA subject matter experts contributed to the Care Systems COVID-19 Impact Assessment  and Public Health COVID-19 Impact Assessment – the first two papers in the series, published on April 7.

Webinar: Findings from the RAPID National Pandemic Surveys of Families with Young Children and Childcare Providers

photo of a family sitting on the porch with their dog

Join our Maternal and Child Health Bureau webinar, Findings from the RAPID national pandemic surveys of families with young children and childcare providers. Learn about the RAPID survey’s design and main results, including information on mental health and the widening of structural inequalities based on race/ethnicity and family structure. The webinar is part of our EnRICH (Engaging Research Innovations & Challenges) webinar series. 

Monday, May 3, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. EDT. 
Register for the webinar.

Webinar: HIV and Hepatitis C in Rural Areas--Prevalence, Service Availability, and Challenges

photo of a person on a conference call on their laptop

The HRSA-supported Rural Health Research Gateway will host a one-hour webinar April 21, at 1 p.m. EDT to highlight findings on the estimated prevalence of HIV and maternal hepatitis C in rural areas across the U.S.

Speakers will also discuss their research on the challenges and promising practices in addressing HIV and hepatitis C outbreaks in rural areas. The webinar is free and requires no registration, but participation is limited to the first 500 participants. Learn more and access the Zoom link.

Webinar: Increasing Connectivity with the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)

logo for emergency broadband benefit, an FCC program to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is an FCC program to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, and virtual classrooms. 

This webinar will include an overview of the Emergency Broadband Benefit including what it is, who is eligible, how it works, and how to help people enroll. A brief question and answer period will follow the presentation. To submit a question in advance of the webinar, please email:

Thursday, April 15, 3 p.m. EDT.
Register for the webinar.

New Research Highlights Differences Between Urban and Rural Hospitals that Provide Obstetric Services

a woman talking to her doctor

New research from the HRSA-funded University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center shows that among rural hospitals, those hospitals that have stopped providing obstetric care are smaller and more likely to be located in remote rural areas or in majority Black rural counties. This research is critically important for informing programs aimed at addressing disparities in access to maternal health care, like the recently announced RMOMS Program.

HRSA Recognizes National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day

National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day

Each year on April 10, we recognize National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day to focus on the impact of HIV/AIDS on youth and young adults, and to empower youth to take an active role in their health and health education in support of ending the HIV epidemic.

Our HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) funds and encourages programs and policies that provide youth, especially those aged 13-24, with safe and supportive environments to learn about HIV care and treatment and ways they can reduce HIV stigma within their communities.

In 2019, about 22,000 youth and young adults, aged 13-24, received services through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP). The majority of these clients are male, low income, and from racial and ethnic minority populations. Of these clients aged 13 to 24, 79.4% were virally suppressed in 2019. While this is an improvement from previous years, it is still below the average viral suppression rate for RWHAP clients overall, which is 88.1%.

We are committed to helping youth and young adults diagnosed with HIV get the care, treatment, and support services they need through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP). Learn more.

National Transgender HIV Testing Day is April 18

National Transgender HIV Testing Day

On April 18, we observe National Transgender HIV Testing Day. This awareness day recognizes the importance of routine HIV testing, status awareness, and continued focus on HIV prevention and treatment efforts among transgender and gender non-binary people.

We continue to stand in solidarity with the transgender community to advance gender-affirming health care, promote anti-discrimination policies, and reduce HIV-related stigma and transphobia to increase access to and use of HIV testing for transgender and gender non-binary people.

In 2019, 2.3 percent (12,550) of clients served by our Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) were transgender. Compared to RWHAP clients identifying as male and female, RWHAP transgender clients are younger, have less stable housing, and have incomes at or below the federal poverty level. Learn more.

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)
  • National Transgender HIV Testing Day (18)


Funding Opportunities


Health Workforce

Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program - apply by April 19

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

Nurse Corps Scholarship Program – apply by May 6

NHSC Loan Repayment Programs – apply by May 6

NHSC Scholarship Program – apply by May 11

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

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part C Early Intervention Services Program: Existing Geographic Service Areas - apply by June 21

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part C Early Intervention Services Program: Existing Geographic Service Areas - apply by June 21

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part C Early Intervention Services Program: Existing Geographic Service Areas - apply by June 21


Maternal and Child Health

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

Screening and Interventions for Adverse Childhood Experiences in Primary Care Settings Demonstration Project - apply by May 17

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

Maternal and Child Health Services - apply by September 1


Rural Health

Telehealth Centers of Excellence - apply by April 20

Rural Residency Planning and Development Technical Assistance Program - apply by May 21

Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies Program - apply by June 4


View All Funding Opportunities