The Oklahoma State Department of Health and its Office of Primary Care have recently launched a loan repayment program through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Known as OK Health Corps, the program aims to provide financial support for health professionals working in shortage areas in the state.
Health professionals in the fields of primary care, mental health, and dental health are eligible to receive awards of up to $50,000 through the OK Health Corps program. To be considered, recipients must commit to two years of service in community facilities certified under the National Health Services Corps, a federal program that supports providers through loan repayment. These facilities must be located in designated health professional shortage areas and must fill out a site agreement.
Different amounts are available for different providers. Psychiatrists can receive up to $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. Amounts awarded will not exceed the outstanding balance of qualified educational loans.
Mental health and substance use disorder specialists receive priority, and depending on available resources, additional providers in other disciplines will also be considered. Recipients must also sign a contract with the State Department of Health, committing to either full- or part-time service with full-time equivalent to 40 hours per week or part-time equivalent to 20 hours per week with a minimum of 45 weeks per service year.