The Oklahoma State Department of Health has recently launched a loan repayment program, known as OK Health Corps, to support health professionals working in shortage areas in the state. Eligible recipients can receive awards of up to $50,000 through this program. The program aims to provide financial support to health professionals in the fields of primary care, mental health, and dental health.
To be eligible for the OK Health Corps program, recipients must commit to two years of service in community facilities certified under the National Health Services Corps. 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 when applying for 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 and commit to either full- or part-time service with a minimum of 45 weeks per service year.
The goal of the OK Health Corps program is to incentivize healthcare providers to practice in areas of significant need in Oklahoma as stated by Jana Castleberry, Director of Office of Primary Care. Providers interested in applying for the program can do so through the department’s website.