The Oklahoma State Department of Health and its Office of Primary Care recently launched a loan repayment program aimed at healthcare professionals working in areas with shortages. This initiative is made possible by the funding received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The program, OK Health Corps, offers up to $50,000 to clinicians specializing in primary care, mental health, and dental health on the condition that recipients commit to two years of service in community facilities certified under the National Health Services Corps.
Applicants must ensure that the facility is located in a designated health professional shortage area and submit a site agreement to be eligible. Psychiatrists may be awarded up to $50,000, while physician assistants, certified nurse midwives, registered nurses, pharmacists, and eligible mental health clinicians can receive up to $35,000. The amounts awarded will not exceed outstanding qualified educational loan balances.
Providers specializing in mental health and substance use disorders will be given priority. However, depending on available resources, additional providers in different disciplines will also be considered. Recipients are required to sign a contract with the State Department of Health and commit to either full- or part-time service – with full-time service defined as 40 hours per week, and part-time service as 20 hours per week with a minimum of 45 weeks per service year.
Jana Castleberry, Director of the Office of Primary Care believes that this program will help address the shortage of healthcare providers in areas of significant need within Oklahoma state. The goal is to support the health workforce and increase access to healthcare for people across the state. To apply for this program simply visit their department’s website.”