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Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced in September of 2009 the availability of awards totaling up to $33 million to assist in training health care professionals. The funds represent a portion of the $500 million allocated to HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to address workforce shortages under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Funds will be used to help rebuild the infrastructure needed to produce more skilled health care professionals and assist in expanding primary care services provided through the HHS health center system, explained HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN.


The funds will be distributed to 6 HRSA programs, including Nursing Workforce Diversity. This program was allocated $2.6 million to assist in increasing nursing education opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds via student scholarships or stipends, pre-entry preparation, and retention activities. The $19.3 million designated for Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students will fund schools in health professions and training programs to provide scholarships to full-time health professions students with priority designated for students with financial need. The Centers for Excellence funds health professions schools to establish or expand programs for minority individuals. The $4.9 million allocated to this branch of HRSA will be used to improve student academic performance, recruit and retain minority faculty, and expand opportunities to train at off-campus, community-based health care sites.


HRSA has received an additional $2 billion through ARRA to expand health care services to low-income and uninsured individuals through the health center program. By September 2009 more than $1.3 billion of these funds had been awarded to community-based organizations throughout the U.S. This funding supports the HRSA-supported health centers where 40% of the 17 million patients treated in 2008 had no health insurance. For additional Health Professions Awards by Program information, go to and for Awards by State go to


Source: US Department of Health and Human Services. Secretary Sebelius Releases $33 Million in ARRA Funds to Train Health Professionals. September 11, 2009. Available at Accessed on September 19, 2009.


Submitted by: Robin Pattillo, PhD, RN, News Editor at