The Titles VII and VIII education and training programs of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 292 et seq.) are federal programs that help shape the supply, diversity, and distribution of the physician and health professions workforce to address current and emerging health care quality and access challenges/opportunities.
Title VII diversity workforce programs are crucial in increasing underrepresented minority participation in the health professions. Programs such as:
- Health Career Opportunity Programs grants help medical schools partner with local educational and community organizations to create a pipeline for the recruitment of disadvantaged and racial and/or ethnic minority students in the health professions workforce.
- Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students grants provide medical schools with scholarship funds for students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and/or racial or ethnic minorities.
- Centers of Excellence grants help medical schools develop a culturally competent health workforce by supporting unrepresented minority students in completing their degrees, research on racial and ethnic minority health, clinical training and curricula development, and minority faculty recruitment.
- Faculty Loan Repayment provides racial and ethnic minority medical school faculty with funds to repay qualifying educational loans.
The AAMC projects a shortage of up to 122,000 physicians by 2032, including between 21,100 and 55,200 primary care physicians. The Title VII Primary Care Training and Enhancement grants help expand the primary care workforce and recruit physicians to rural and other underserved areas.
Title VII Area Health Education Centers facilitate rural and community-based linkages and emphasize interprofessional education, training, and care coordination.
Title VII programs are designed to meet the immediate health needs of communities across the country. For example, the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training program is tasked with supplying mental health providers to help fight the opioid epidemic, and the Geriatrics Workforce program encourages physicians to serve in geriatrics specialties that care for our aging population.
Congress should appropriate $690 million in FY 2020 for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Title VII and Title VIII programs. Congress also needs to pass legislation reauthorizing the Title VII health professions training programs.