Teaching health centers score $155M in grants for resident training in primary care

HHS announces awards for facilities in rural and underserved communities across the nation.

Federal grants totaling $155 million will support 72 teaching health centers with high need primary care medical and dental residency programs, including psychiatry.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the awards, with money coming from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and federal fiscal year 2022 funds through through HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The grants are part of President Joe Biden’s “Unity Agenda” to address mental health and come as the nation’s physicians and support staff deal with high levels of burnout, according to HHS.

“Having access to primary care and mental health support is essential to one’s health and well-being,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “Increasing the number of primary care residents training in community health centers and other outpatient community clinics is a key part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to address longstanding health inequities in our most vulnerable communities. We will continue to expand the primary care workforce supply line to help meet community needs.”

HRSA’s Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program focuses on supporting residents in primary care residency training programs to meet the medical and mental health care needs of rural and underserved communities. With more than 970 full-time residents, it represents an important step toward increasing much-needed access to quality health care services, according to HHS.

The money will pay for training in family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, pediatrics, general dentistry and geriatrics.

“We are leading the effort to build a stronger primary care and mental health workforce to meet the needs of historically underserved communities by supporting primary care training programs that include psychiatry,” HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson said in the news release. “The American Rescue Plan has been a game-changer for growing this critical program and helping us build a workforce that best reflects and serves the communities that need these resources the most.”