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The healthcare professional shortage or maldistribution severely limits access to sufficient health care, affecting many Americans, particularly in rural areas. There is a range studies that agree that the health professional shortage is a pressing issue, but none that specifically evaluate the overall effectiveness and improvements to be made to government funded programs, such as Loan repayment and scholarship programs aimed at attracting primary care physicians to these rural underserved areas. This study analyzes both quantitative and qualitative data from 21 peer-reviewed journals about rural primary Health Professional Shortage Areas, Title-VII funded schools, and rural primary health care. Although effective Loan Repayment Programs and Scholarship programs are necessary to attract primary care physicians to rural areas, these programs may be improved by lifting stringent contract policies, increasing the overall allure of rural health care by early exposure to medical students through rural focused medical school curricula, sending physicians to underserved areas in groups, limiting the use of Health Professional Shortage Areas in determining need, and growing the collaboration between State programs and National programs. This work reveals innovative steps these programs can take in order to provide a greater number of rural Americans access to proper healthcare.

Publication Date


Subject Major(s)

Public Health


Rural healthcare, HPSA, physician shortage


Public Health

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Mary C. Boyes


© The Author(s)

An Investigation of the Influence of Current Public Health Policies in the United States on the Prevalence of Rural Health Professional Shortage Areas

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Public Health Commons