$2 Million Awarded to 7 PA Programs to Support Primary Care Training

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has announced the distribution of nearly $2 million in new awards to 7 PA programs who had previously applied for the Primary Care Training and Enhancement – Physician Assistant (PCTE-PA) program in 2018. PAEA would like to congratulate the PA programs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Touro University California, Indiana State University, Bay Path University, the College of St. Scholastica, the University of New Mexico, and the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley on their successful grant applications. 

In a shift from the agency’s traditional method of allocating funding via interprofessional, collaborative competitions, HRSA created the PCTE-PA program in 2018 to specifically target resources to support PA training. Following an initial round of awards in which $1.6 million in annual funding was allocated to 6 PA programs, this new funding allocation will help to bolster the efforts of PA education to provide high-quality primary care training experiences to students. Over the designated funding period, grantees will use the funding they receive to facilitate rural family medicine clinical rotations, develop didactic curriculum, and facilitate behavioral health training opportunities. 

PArt of the Solution – Aligning Primary Care Physician Assistant Training at Bay Path University with Critical Community Needs [will] create clearly defined and supported pathways that will prepare and encourage Bay Path’s physician assistant graduates to pursue their professional careers in primary care, with a particular focus on working with medically underserved patient populations in community-based facilities. [There will also be a] specific focus on the assessment, treatment, and/or referral for opioid, substance use and mental health disorders,” said Theresa Riethle, MS, PA-C, Program Director for the Bay Path University PA program. 

Advocacy for sustained investments in the PCTE grant program has been a long-standing priority for PAEA’s Government Relations team. As a component of the Affordable Care Act, Congress mandated in 2010 that a minimum of 15% of total funding allocated under the PCTE program be used to support PA education. To build upon the program’s track record of success in supporting primary care education, Congress extended the authorization for PCTE grants through fiscal year 2025 in the CARES Act of 2020 following several years of sustained advocacy from health professions education stakeholders. 

Members with questions about HRSA funding opportunities are invited to contact Tyler Smith at