Bureau of Health Workforce
The Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW) improves the health of underserved and vulnerable populations by strengthening the health workforce and connecting skilled professionals to communities in need.
Our work is driven by our priorities:
- Transforming the health care workforce through sustained support of clinicians working in underserved areas;
- Increasing access to behavioral health services, including substance use disorder treatment; and
- Leveraging health care workforce data to inform program and policy decisions.
Scholarship, Loan, and Loan Repayment Programs for Health Professionals
Through scholarship, loan, and loan repayment programs, we help underserved communities recruit and retain primary health care providers. These programs include:
- National Health Service Corps
- Nurse Corps
- Faculty Loan Repayment Program
- Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program
- Scholarship and Loan Programs for health professions schools
Health Professions Training Grants to Support Institutions
We support the development of a robust primary care workforce through Health Professions Training Grants that:
- encourage clinicians to practice in underserved areas, including rural areas with limited access to care,
- increase diversity, and
- foster interprofessional training and practice.
These programs advance the education and training of a 21st century health workforce and work to address existing and projected demand for skilled health professionals in high-need areas nationwide. Evidence shows that targeting rural students to go into health professions or exposing them to rural practice can increase their likelihood of practicing in a rural community.
To help achieve our mission, we work with diverse stakeholders, including associations, organizations, academic and research institutions, and health care entities.
- The members of our five Advisory Committees provide expertise and recommendations on matters relating to our programs and program development.
- Our national centers improve clinical training and research in primary care and support evaluation, research, data, and evidence to advance interprofessional education and practice.
- By funding Health Workforce Research Centers, we support high quality, impartial, policy-relevant research on the health workforce and primary care training to assist decision-makers in better understanding health workforce needs.
- Working with Primary Care Offices, we undertake initiatives centered on improving access to healthcare for medically underserved areas and populations.
We manage the designation of Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) and Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/P), which are used to determine eligibility for federal programs including:
- National Health Service Corps (NHSC)
- Nurse Corps
- Health Center Program
- Rural Health Clinic Program
- Medicare HPSA Bonus Payment
- Exchange Visitor and Conrad State 30 programs
Health Workforce Analysis
Our National Center for Health Workforce Analysis—the national resource for workforce projections—is responsible for health professions workforce data collection, analysis, and evaluation efforts.
The Center examines issues that impact the supply, demand, distribution, and education of the nation’s health workforce, and provides policymakers with the information necessary to make decisions regarding the health professions workforce and delivery of care.