Following a $10 million increase in funding for the Primary Care Training and Enhancement (PCTE) program and the announcement of a PA program-specific competition late last year, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently announced that 6 PA programs will receive five-year awards with $1.6 million in funding to be allocated this year.
The PCTE grant program, a long-standing advocacy priority for PAEA, is designed to provide support to PA programs, teaching hospitals, and medical schools to support the training of students and residents with the goal of bolstering the primary care workforce in rural and underserved areas. Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, HRSA has been required to provide a minimum of 15 percent of PCTE funds to PA programs to support the training of PA students.
As a result of this supplemental competition, the PA programs receiving this funding will be initiating a wide variety of activities to promote primary care practice in rural and underserved areas among their graduates. For example, the Christian Brothers University PA program will be partnering with regional health systems and practices in medically underserved communities to expand the program’s rural health curriculum and support clinical training opportunities. Similarly, the Colorado Mesa University PA program will be utilizing its award to enhance didactic training in community-based care and facilitate longitudinal rotations in rural and frontier primary care clinics.
A significant component of this PCTE competition, which aligns with PAEA’s MAT Waiver Training Initiative, is the improvement of substance use disorder curricula with the ultimate goal of expanding access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to those suffering from opioid use disorder. To this end, several programs including those at Le Moyne College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, among others, will include an emphasis on MAT training in their grant activities.
PAEA would like to congratulate the PA programs at the University of Southern California, Colorado Mesa University, Le Moyne College, Christian Brothers University, the University of Utah, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison on their awards — and urge all members to consider applying for future PCTE competitions. The next PCTE competition is anticipated to open with a Notice of Funding Opportunity this fall.