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National Health Services Corps

About NHSC

America's Health Care Hereos

Our Achievements

NHSC Historical Timeline

1970: The NHSC is created as a program of the U.S. Public Health Service under the Emergency Health Personnel Act, which authorizes assignment of Federal personnel to shortage areas.

1972: The first 20 clinicians are assigned to serve underserved communities. This group includes 14 physicians, four dentists, and two nurses.

Later in 1972: Congress passes amendments to the Emergency Health Personnel Act that authorize scholarships for health professionals in return for service to underserved communities.

1979: First scholarship recipients complete medical training and are assigned to health professional shortage areas around the Nation. These areas were identified based on physician-to-population ratios, access to primary health care, income levels, and infant mortality/low-birth weight incidences.

1981: The high watermark for awarding NHSC scholarships is reached. Between 1978 and 1981, nearly 6,700 scholarships are awarded.

1982: NHSC begins to form partnerships with States to assist in placement, monitoring, and evaluation of NHSC practices.

1983: Community-based nonprofit organizations, State correctional and mental health institutions, and county health-related programs begin to hire NHSC personnel directly.

1987: Congress authorizes the NHSC Loan Repayment Program, which enables the recruitment of clinicians for immediate service to shortage areas.

1990: NHSC Revitalization Act is passed, expanding the Scholarship and Loan Repayment Programs and providing the NHSC with additional personnel resources.

Today: More than 27,000 health professionals have served with NHSC since 1972. Current field strength totals more than 4,000 clinicians/health care professionals whose careers are influencing the outcomes of underserved populations and communities. Many of these clinicians have remained in service after fulfilling their initial NHSC commitments.

Success Stories


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.

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Health Resources and Services Administration U.S. Department of Health and Human Services