Bureau of Health Workforce

The Bureau of Health Workforce improves the health of underserved and vulnerable populations by strengthening the health workforce and connecting skilled professionals to communities in need. The Bureau provides strategic coordination, alignment, and enhanced communication between HRSA’s workforce programs to increase the number of practicing health care providers to address shortages, and develop ongoing strategies to monitor, forecast and meet long‐term health workforce needs.

Scholarship, Loan, and Loan Repayment Programs for Health Professionals

The Bureau of Health Workforce addresses the nationwide shortage of primary health care providers through scholarship, loan, and loan repayment programs that help underserved communities recruit and retain health professionals. They include:

Shortage Designation

The Bureau of Health Workforce manages the designation of Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) and Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/P).These Shortage Designations are used to determine eligibility for Federal programs including:

  • National Health Service Corps
  • NURSE Corps
  • Health Center Program
  • Rural Health Clinic Program
  • Medicare HPSA Bonus Payment  
  • Exchange Visitor and Conrad State 30 programs 

The Bureau coordinates with State partners to assure consistent and accurate assessment of underservice, including data collection and analysis. 

Health Professions Training Grants

Health Professions Training Grants support primary care training programs by:

  • Increasing diversity, 
  • Encouraging clinicians to practice in underserved areas 
  • Fostering interprofessional training and practice
  • Preparing health care providers to meet the needs of the aging U.S. population 

The health professions training programs support the education and training of a 21st century health workforce and are designed to address existing and projected demand for skilled health professionals in high-need areas nationwide.

Health Workforce Analysis

The National Center for Health Workforce Analysis leads the Bureau’s health professions workforce data collection, analysis, and evaluation efforts and acts as the national resources for workforce projections. The Center examines issues that impact the supply, demand, distribution, and education of the nation’s health workforce and provides policymakers the information necessary to make decisions regarding the health professions workforce and provision of care.

Graduate Medical Education

Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program supports health centers that train medical and dental residents in community-based ambulatory patient care settings. HRSA provides grant funding to defer the costs of graduate medical education.

HRSA helps the nation's freestanding children's hospitals meet the costs of providing graduate medical education through the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Payment Program

National Practitioner Data Bank

The Data Bank protects the public, improves health care quality, and deters fraud and abuse in the health care system by providing information about past adverse actions of practitioners, providers, and suppliers to authorized health care entities and agencies.

Last Reviewed: March 2016