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Oregon Office of Rural Health Receives Federal Grant to Help Rural Providers

The Oregon Office of Rural Health at Oregon Health & Science University has received a grant from the National Health Service Corp (NHSC) to help primary care providers in rural and underserved urban areas repay their loans.

The NHSC grant provides for repayment of half of the loan; the other half will come from the practice site, a community organization or any non-federal source.  

“This is a great partnership between the practice site, the NHSC and the Office of Rural Health,” says Scott Ekblad, director of the Oregon Office of Rural Health at OHSU. “We believe this opportunity will help attract needed providers to rural and urban underserved areas.”

Eligible applicants include primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, dental hygienists, social workers, counselors and psychologists who have outstanding government and commercial loans that they incurred for the purpose of obtaining a health professional education. They can qualify for up to $70,000 in loan repayment funds.

Participants must sign a two-year contract, work full time and offer their services on a sliding-fee scale.  The practice sites must be public or private nonprofit organizations located in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). The practice site also must be able to match 50 percent of the loan award amount.

The Oregon Office of Rural Health will award up to $800,000 in loan repayment awards to primary care, mental health and dental providers. t the time the grant application was written, potential practice sites pledged more than $450,000 in matching funds, evidence of the growing need for incentives to recruit providers to serve Oregon’s rural and urban underserved populations.  

For more information about this program and candidate and practice site applications, visit the Oregon Office of Rural Health Web site at The mission of the Oregon Office of Rural Health is to improve the quality, availability and accessibility of health care for rural Oregonians.
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