On Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the Biden administration would be making a $1.5 billion investment to help grow and diversify the nation’s health care workforce, and bolster equitable health care in the communities that need it most during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the years to come.
The funds, which come from the American Rescue Plan, will go to support the National Health Service Corps, Nurse Corps, and Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery programs.
“These programs address workforce shortages and health disparities by providing scholarship and loan repayment funding for health care students and professionals, in exchange for a service commitment in hard-hit and high-risk communities,” the White House said in an announcement.
“Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, this funding will support over 22,700 providers—the largest field strength in history for these programs and a record number of skilled doctors, dentists, nurses, and behavioral health providers committed to working in underserved communities during a moment when we need them the most,” the statement continued.
Harris is also announcing plans to start awarding $330 million in funding from President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan to the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education to help expand the number of primary care physicians and dentists in underserved communities.
More than 23.6 million patients in the U.S. receive care from National Health Service Corps and Nurse Corps clinicians. During the pandemic, thousands of these health providers have served in community health centers and hospitals across the country, caring for COVID-19 patients, supporting the mental health of their communities, administering COVID-19 tests and lifesaving treatments, and putting shots in arms.
Today’s announcements directly respond to the recommendations of the Presidential COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, which submitted its final report to the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator earlier this month.
Additionally, this funding builds on the billions of dollars in investments the Biden-Harris Administration has already awarded for equity focused programs and initiatives over the past 10 months, including $785 million the Administration announced earlier this month to continue keeping equity centered in our COVID-19 response.