In an effort to support health professionals working in underserved areas of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma State Department of Health and its Office of Primary Care recently launched a loan repayment program known as OK Health Corps. The program, which was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, aims to provide financial assistance to health professionals in need of loan repayment for their education.
Eligible recipients can receive awards of up to $50,000 through the OK Health Corps program, with different amounts available for different providers. Psychiatrists are eligible for the highest award amount of $50,000, while other professionals such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, registered nurses, pharmacists, and eligible mental health clinicians can receive up to $35,000. The awards will not exceed the outstanding balance of qualified educational loans.
Mental health and substance use disorder specialists receive priority consideration in the program. Depending on available resources, additional providers in other disciplines may also be considered. Recipients must sign a contract with the State Department of Health committing to either full- or part-time service with a full-time equivalent to 40 hours per week and a part-time equivalent to 20 hours per week with a minimum of 45 weeks per service year.
The goal of the OK Health Corps program is to incentivize healthcare professionals to practice in areas where they are needed most in Oklahoma as stated by Jana Castleberry, Director of the Office of Primary Care. Interested applicants can submit their applications through the department’s website for consideration.
In summary, the OK Health Corps program offers financial assistance to healthcare professionals looking for loan repayment through a grant from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Eligible recipients can receive awards up to $50k depending on their discipline and prioritize consideration is given to mental health and substance use disorder specialists with additional providers being considered if resources are available. Recipients must commit to two years