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.