Know a Potential Health Center Healer? Invite Them to Become a Hometown Scholar

NACHC’s Dr. Don Weaver with ATSU Hometown Scholars – all community healers and heroes  

We have a shortage

In May 2022, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released an advisory that put the healthcare workforce shortage in dire terms:

“There is a projected shortage of more than 3 million essential health workers in the next five years and a projected shortage of nearly 140,000 physicians by 2033.”

While this is true, it is also true that many talented individuals everywhere, could become fantastic physicians, dentists, physician assistants, and other needed healthcare professionals with proper training and support. NACHC’s goal is to break down barriers that prevent people from pursuing their dreams and fulfilling their potential to be inspiring community-minded healers.   

And the beginning of a new year is an ideal time to help recruit people to join the ranks of Community Health Center providers through the Hometown Scholar program. Read on for details!

We have a solution 

For over 20 years NACHC has worked with Community Health Center leaders to formally identify individuals from their community committed to serving as a medical or dental professional at a health center. These efforts are centered within NACHC’s powerful partnership with A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU).

“ATSU is the premier health professions university committed to training healers for the health center setting; and I’m a Community Health Center zealot that’s committed to bringing healers to the health center world,”

says Dr. Gary Cloud, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, ATSU.

ATSU’s Hometown Scholar program is renowned for identifying future health professionals focused on whole-person health care and community health in underserved communities. Their main university campuses are in Kirksville, Missouri; Mesa, Arizona; and Santa Maria, California, though they offer programs online and with hands-on medical, dental, and physician assistant programs in over 45 health centers around the country.  

Do you know a potential Hometown Scholar 

If you can think of someone in your community who assists as a volunteer, provides community service, or participates in a health-center program with the mindset to become a Hometown Scholar, tell them about the ATSU program.  

When a board member, administrator, or clinical leader from a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), a Primary Care Association (PCA), or Health Center Controlled Network (HCCN) writes a letter of endorsement for an applicant interested in becoming a medical or dental professional through ATSU’s Hometown Scholar program, that endorsement is worth its weight in gold.

Your endorsement matters 

An endorsement from someone connected to a FQHC, PCA, or HCCN lets ATSU know the applicant has the heart to become a compassionate, community-minded healer and it helps distinguish an applicant that meets the other admissions requirements for an interview. 

Enrollment services can be found on ATSU’s website and information about loan repayment with support from HRSA can be found here: https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/loan-repayment.  

You can send your letter of endorsement to Nelida Acosta: nacosta@atsu.edu. 

Why the NACHC/ATSU Hometown Scholar program is so valuable 

Quotasze Williams, DMD, ’22, MPH, MHS, and Raven Burrell, PA-C, ’20, MSPAS, MPH, CPH.

“The thing that stuck out the most to me was service for the underserved communities, giving back to your community. This program brings students into ATSU-ASDOH and ATSU to train us in whole person healthcare, then go back to the community to give back. I love that approach, I love that mission, and that was what initially attracted me and sold me to come to ATSU-ASDO.”

Dr. Quotasze Williams

“Working in underserved communities requires multidisciplinary interaction. We as providers are not just their medical providers, we’re their counselors and we’re sometimes even their friends. We play multiple roles.”

Dr. Raven Burrell

Both Dr. Williams and Burrell were recipients of ATSU’s Graduate Health Professions Scholarship (GPS), which was developed for historically underrepresented students whose life contributions and experiences are consistent with ATSU’s mission to serve in underserved areas. Do you have a mentee you would endorse?

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