National Health Service Corps: 50 Years of Commitment, Compassion and Community

March 21, 2022

For five decades, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has fulfilled its mission to strengthen the health workforce by improving access to quality primary medical, dental, and behavioral health care.

Established through the Emergency Health Personnel Act of 1970, this Federal program provides scholarships and loan repayment to healthcare professionals practicing at sites located in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) throughout the United States.

The NHSC was created following the health care crisis of the 1950s and 1960s. Many older physicians retired while younger providers stopped choosing general practice, limiting access to primary care across the country. In response, NHSC began working to build healthy communities by supporting qualified health care providers dedicated to working in areas of the United States with limited access to care.

In 1972, NHSC placed the first clinicians in 20 communities in 13 states, including physicians, dentists and nurses. Five decades later, NHSC providers serve at more than 10,000 community health centers in the United States and care for more than 21 million patients, including those at our network of health centers.

NHSC Provider Testimonials: 

Heather Stehr, ARNP, FNP-BC, AAHIVS - Siouxland Community Health Center

  • How did you get connected to the NHSC program?
    • I received information on the program through my employment. HR does a great job at communicating this program with all eligible individuals. 
  • What do you love about serving in a community health center?
    • I enjoy the populations that I serve. Culturally, there is always something to learn about patients.  Often times, the most vulnerable populations have a low health literacy. Working with these populations to achieve their health goals and understand disease processes is rewarding. Building a relationship with our community members and patient populations is one of the best parts of this job!

Julie Grote, RN, BSN - Peoples Community Health Clinic

  • How did you get connected to the NHSC Program?
    • I was connected to the NHSC program through my employer, Peoples Community Health Clinic. My employer sends out emails and puts reminders on our intranet about the program. I investigated the program, and it is something that fit my needs and my student loans that I have to repay.
  • What do you love about serving in a CHC?
    • I love serving in a CHC because it is very rewarding. I come to work every day knowing that we have the tools and the resources to help so many people. We have staff that works together to make sure that our patients have everything that they need to succeed and to have better health and to continue to grow in their wellness.

Steven Schumacher, DDS - Community Health Center of Fort Dodge

  • How did you get connected to the NHSC program?
    • The NHSC program was popular among students at my dental school. I became interested because of my passion and commitment to help those less fortunate with limited access to affordable health care. I believe my experiences volunteering and giving back to the community helped me become a NHSC participant.
  • Why did you choose to practice in Iowa?
    • I specifically selected to work in the Fort Dodge area due to the lack of dental providers offering affordable dental care. Since working with these individuals and learning of their hardships, I have come to realize how important it is to continue providing for low-income communities and helping increase affordable health care in rural areas.
  • What do you love about serving in a CHC?
    • What makes the CHC of Fort Dodge a great clinic to work at are the employees. The members of the dental team are compassionate, hardworking, and go above and beyond to help the patients. Everyone works together to help create an efficient clinic and supportive atmosphere, even during our busiest days. While working at any CHC can be challenging due to the large patient load and fast-pass environment, our team always finds a way to make the days enjoyable.