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AAMC Urges HRSA to Delay SDS Program Changes

April 20, 2012—AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., sent an April 19 comment letter  to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recommending at least a 1-year delay in the implementation of updates to the Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) program, published in a March 20 Federal Register notice.

Recommending a delay of the changes to at least the 2013-2014 SDS award cycle (FY 2013), the AAMC letter notes, “In the first updated SDS award cycle, it is critical that institutions be afforded adequate time to attempt to meet new eligibility criteria and to prepare an application that truly represents the institution’s successes. In the letter, Dr. Kirch argues that “the SDS mission is best served by considering all institutions that meet the disadvantaged and primary care criteria, rather than just those that are able to clear administrative hurdles in a short timeframe.” He continues, “The conversion of the SDS program from a 1-year project period to a 4-year project period further exacerbates problems arising from premature implementation due to the resulting increased importance of the first application cycle.”

Under the SDS update, HRSA plans to create a peer-review application process, consider recruitment and retention programs, convert the grant award from a 1-year project period to a 4-year project period, set a minimum 50 percent annual tuition student award (capped at $15,000), expand eligible disciplines, and increase disadvantaged student enrollment/graduation requirements to 20 percent.


Matthew Shick, JD
Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 202-862-6116


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806