35 Years of Excellence: Access Today for Healthier Communities Tomorrow
Join us in a yearlong
observance of the National Health Service Corps’ legacy and
commitment to improving the health of our nation. We look
forward to the future as we continue our commitment to providing
access today for healthier communities tomorrow.
NHSC was created due
to the health care crises that emerged in the U.S. in the 1950’s
and 1960’s. Physicians who served rural communities began
to retire which left many areas of the country without health care
services. Several factors contributed to the crises including the
increasing specialized nature of medical practices and rapid technological
advances. Smaller proportions of medical students entered family
medicine. Rural areas and inner-city neighborhoods competed unsuccessfully
with affluent medical practices that offered higher compensation,
more interaction with other professionals, and job opportunities
for spouses. Rural communities lacked resources to provide the technologically
sophisticated facilities that many physicians desired. Rural states
appealed to Congress for help thus establishing what is now known
as the National Health Service Corps.
Health Personnel Act was signed into law as Public Law 91-623.
These were Federal employees, US Public Health Service Commissioned
Corps Officers or civil servants assigned to underserved areas
||The first 20 commissioned
officers were assigned, including 14 physicians, four dentists
and two nurses. NHSC had placed 181 clinicians in over 100 communities.
The Emergency Health Personnel Act Amendments expanded the pool
of clinicians available for service by offering scholarships
to dentists, allopathic and osteopathic physicians, nurse practitioners,
physician assistants and certified nurse midwives.
||Field strength had
increased from the initial 181 clinicians to 1,826. Budget went
from 11.3 million in 1972 to 138 million in 1979.
- Between 1978
and 1981 – close to 6,700 scholarships were
- Between 1981
and 1988 – only 653 scholarships were awarded
due to predictions of a physician surplus by 1990. This
persuaded Congress to scale back the program.
forming partnerships with States to assist in the placement,
monitoring and evaluation of NHSC practices.
program was implemented.
repayment contracts awarded
at 1,491 and budget reduced to $47.8 million.
its momentum. Budget is $124 million. Awarded 429 new scholarship
and 536 new loan repayment contracts.
at 2,526 and budget at $112.4 million.
NHSC clinicians were still serving the underserved in some capacity
up to 15 years after completion of the service commitment (Mathmatica
at 3,943. Budget at $169.9 million.
a record 1,223 loan repayment contracts succeeding in rapidly
placing more clincians into service.
- There have
been over 27,000 dedicated primary care clinicians placed in Health
Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).
over 4,600 NHSC clinicians serve in rural and urban communities
nationwide, serving 5 million people.
- 53 million
people still lack access to quality health care in the United
- There are
over 650 NHSC Ambassadors. The NHSC Ambassador Program is a membership
organization comprised of a dedicated group of volunteers on campuses
and in communities across the Nation. “Ambassadors,” work
in partnership with the NHSC to improve the health of the Nation’s
- NHSC's retention
rates have averaged 76% to 80%
The NHSC and
their partners work in concert with our NHSC Scholars, Loan Repayors,
and communities to not only provide increased access to primary
health care but to also provide quality, culturally competent care
to those most in need. It is a tribute to open communications, willingness,
and a sense of working toward our common goals that have helped
greatly in our success. As we look forward it is important to recognize
the actions that will help us to sustain and improve upon what we
have already accomplished. We have created much more than direct
patient health care through community education and outreach programs,
as well as the development of health care systems. The impact of
NHSC programs will continue to be seen in future generations of
health care professionals committed to serving where they are needed
Former Director’s and Acting Director’s
of the NHSC:
McDonald Rimple, M.D.
P. Wasserman, M.D.
D. Martin, M.D.
Tolbert, M.D. (Deceased)
|1983 - 1987
P. Moritsugu, M.D.
F. Manley, M.D.
L. Weaver, M.D.
J. Smith, III
NHSC Scholar Helps Patients Manage Diabetes
Dana Green, a certified physician assistant (PA-C) and National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholar, arrived in the remote rural community of Van Buren, Maine, and launched a personal crusade to educate underserved populations and their caregivers about diabetes. Four years and many success stories later, Green is now recognized nationally and locally as a leading researcher on the standards of diabetes care.