Virtual Congressional Briefing: Expanding Access to Care: The Role of the National Health Service Corps 

PAEA will host a virtual briefing on June 29, from 12 – 1 p.m. ET for congressional staff and outside stakeholders focused on the impact of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) in expanding access to care in rural and underserved communities. 

Since the program’s creation more than 50 years ago, the NHSC has equipped PA students and graduates to reduce their educational debt in exchange for a practice commitment in an underserved area. By facilitating clinical practice opportunities in underserved communities, the program has a sustained impact on workforce distribution with more than 80% of alumni staying in a health professional shortage area two years after their service commitment is complete, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). 

In the past five years, due to both eligibility expansions and historic funding increases, the number of PA student participants in the NHSC has grown significantly from 123 in 2017 to 962 in 2022. However, in the absence of congressional action by September 30, mandatory funding for the program will lapse, thereby threatening access to care in underserved communities. 

During this briefing, a panel of current and former NHSC participants will discuss their experiences with the program, its impact in reducing health disparities, and the urgent need for Congress to extend mandatory funding this fall. 

Speakers will include: 

  • Shani Fleming, MSHS, MPS, PA-C, associate professor at the University of Maryland-Baltimore PA program and a former NHSC scholar/loan repayment recipient
  • Frank Giannelli, PhD, PA-C, assistant professor for the Rutgers University PA program and a former NHSC scholar
  • Tyler Smith, MPH, Senior Director of Government Relations for the PA Education Association. 

Faculty and students interested in attending are invited to register here