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UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

_________________________________________________________
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 14, 2017

DOH Announces Loan Repayment Program Through Zika Funding

The National Health Services Corps (NHSC) is currently seeking applicants for the Zika Loan Repayment Program. NHSC mission is focused on workforce distribution of competent primary care providers and the transformation of health care delivery. There is a strong emphasis on improving the health of persons living in underserved communities by connecting skilled medical professionals to employment vacancies. Through scholarships and loan repayment incentives, approved NHSC sites can recruit and retain primary care providers, dentists, and mental health professionals. 

The Zika loan repayment program is a new program that extends the eligible disciplines of medical professionals as well as the financial incentive. In this program, persons are eligible to receive up to $70,000 in student loan repayment with a 3-year service commitment. Persons do not have to be working in a program that serves Zika patients. Rather, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa are being offered this opportunity as prioritized service areas due to the impact Zika has had on these communities. The opportunity to apply expires on April 6, 2017. This is a onetime only program.

$6M has been identified to fund student loan repayment in disciplines such as Primary Care, Pediatric Subspecialties, Nursing, Mental Health and Allied Health. To qualify for this program, the approved medical clinics/programs (employer) must be located in a health professional shortage area (HPSA). Currently, the entire island of St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John qualify and are designated as a HPSA. Secondly, approved sites must accept Medicaid/Medicare and are required to treat patients regardless of his/her inability to pay. Once approved as a site, NHSC will assist the programs with recruitment by placing the vacant positions in its national recruitment database for candidates who are seeking employment. In addition, NHSC offers networking opportunities to connect with other approved sites through national conferences and forums.

For more detailed information, persons can visit the following websites:

Program overview:
https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/loanrepayment/zikainitiative.html

Application portal
https://programportal.hrsa.gov/extranet/application/nhsclrp/login.seam

Program guidance:
https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/loanrepayment/zikainitiative/zikalrpapplicationguidance.pdf

For more information contact Shauna Bass, Director of Primary Care, (340) 718-1311 Ext. 3773

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