West Virginia Health Sciences Service Program

The Health Sciences Service Program is a loan repayment program (not a financial aid scholarship) for health professions students interested in practicing in underserved communities in West Virginia. The program makes approximately 15 awards each academic year to students in the state's higher education system.

  • $30,000 for medical and dental students.

  • $15,000 for students training to become nurse educators, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physical therapists, physician assistants, clinical psychologists, and clinical social workers.

Awards are made based on a competitive application process and the recommendations of an advisory committee. Funds are provided to participants once they begin practicing and provide documentation regarding their educational loan balances.

Learn more about how the Health Sciences Service Program can help you achieve your career goals.

 

Eligible Students

  • Fourth-year medical students who are entering primary care or emergency medicine residency programs in West Virginia. Primary care residencies include family medicine, geriatrics, general internal medicine, internal medicine/pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, or psychiatry;

  • Students in the final year of a graduate or doctoral program for nurse educators, nurse midwives, or nurse practitioners;

  • Students who are in the final year of a graduate program for physician assistants;

  • Students in the final year of a doctoral program in dentistry, pharmacy or physical therapy;

  • Students in the final year of a graduate social work program, leading to a career as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker; or,

  • Students in the final year of a doctoral clinical psychology program who intend to enter a clinical internship in West Virginia.

Service Obligation Information for All Disciplines

The service obligation is either two years of full-time (a minimum of 40 hours per week) or four years of half-time (a minimum of 20 hours per week) employment at an eligible practice site. All service sites must be within West Virginia. Participants are responsible for securing a practice site within six months of completing their training. Ineligible service obligation sites include emergency rooms (except for Emergency Medicine trained physicians), hospitalist positions, and walk-in clinics.

The penalty for not fulfilling the service obligation is repayment of the award with 15 percent interest. Interest begins accruing from the date of training completion or date of default if training is not completed.

Primary care is defined as the healthcare services generally provided by family practice physicians, general practice physicians, general internists, geriatricians, obstetrician/gynecologists, general pediatricians, psychiatrists and mid-level providers, including nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, physician assistants, dentists, pharmacists, physical therapists, doctoral clinical psychologists, and licensed independent clinical social workers. Emergency medicine physicians must practice in a hospital-based emergency room. Nurse educators must teach in an accredited undergraduate or graduate nursing program.

For additional information about eligible service sites for each discipline, please see the Eligible Sites for Health Sciences Service Program Service Obligations pdf below.

Eligible Sites for Health Sciences Service Program Service Obligations PDF icon

Discipline Specific Eligible Sites for Service Obligation:

For Physicians, Dentists, Nurse Midwives, Nurse Practitioners, Pharmacists, Physicians Assistants, Physical Therapists:

Geographically Eligible Areas for the Service Obligation PDF icon
Federally Qualified Health Centers, Free Clinics and School-Based Health Centers PDF icon

For Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers and Doctoral Clinical Psychologists:

Geographically Eligible Areas for the Service Obligation PDF icon
Comprehensive Behavioral Health Programs PDF icon
State Acute-Care Psychiatric Hospitals PDF icon
Veterans Health Facilities PDF icon

Application

The application process is competitive, so please be sure to thoroughly and accurately complete the information requested. Your application, at least two recommendation forms, and the Certification of Educational Status must be postmarked by October 15, 2018.

For application materials, see the documents below:
Health Sciences Service Program Application Packet PDF icon
Health Sciences Service Program Application PDF icon
Recommendation Form PDF icon
Certification of Educational Status Form PDF icon

 

Eligibility for Other Financial Incentives

Students who receive a Health Sciences Service award also may qualify for other financial incentives for practice in rural or underserved areas of West Virginia (see West Virginia Recruitment Programs in the resources section below). In some cases, the service obligations can be met concurrently. However, federal law prohibits concurrent service of a Health Sciences Service Program obligation with some federal programs' service obligations, such as the National Health Service Corps loan repayment program.

 

Resources

West Virginia Recruitment Programs PDF icon
West Virginia Health Sciences Service Program Brochure PDF icon

 

For more information, contact:

Jordyn Reed
Program Coordinator
Health Sciences Service Program
West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission
1018 Kanawha Blvd. East, Suite 700
Charleston, WV 25301
Phone: (304) 558-0530; Fax: (304) 558-0532
E-mail: jordyn.reed@wvhepc.edu