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Public Health Rep. 1980 May-Jun; 95(3): 243–246.
PMCID: PMC1422718

Scholarship support for Indian students in the health sciences: an alternative method to address shortages in the underserved area

Abstract

The University of New Mexico Area Health Education Center was established in conjunction with the Navajo Health Authority to begin health manpower development immediately in the Navajo Nation and surrounding areas (a territory approximately the size of West Virginia). To this end, a student support program was established at the Navajo Health Agency to recruit and support Indian students with scholarships, to provide them with culturally based counseling, and to reinforce the students' intentions of ultimately returning to serve Indian people. No payback penalties or other forms of coercion were used in this program to encourage students to return to the underserved Indian areas.

From October 1973 through September 1977, 124 students graduated with 125 degrees or certificates in all aspects of health care. Of these 124 students, 76 were employed. The remaining were continuing their education, unemployed, untraceable, or deceased. Of the 76 employed, 61 were from tribes within the Navajo Nation; of these 61, 56 returned to their area to serve Indians. This return rate to an underserved area is substantially better than anticipated from a review of programs that employ a variety of coercive methods to encourage recipients of loans to settle in specific underserved areas after the necessary training.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Pollner P, Parrish JJ. National Health Service Corps and primary care training. A mutually beneficial plan affecting physician maldistribution. JAMA. 1974 Jun 10;228(11):1405–1407. [PubMed]
  • Mason HR. Effectiveness of student aid programs tied to a service commitment. J Med Educ. 1971 Jul;46(7):575–583. [PubMed]

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