Health Training

Written by Shirley Parker
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Under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration oversees the Bureau of Health Professions. Within the Bureau, the National Health Service Corps clinicians provide health care to nearly four million people nationwide. But many thousands more clinicians are needed to care for an estimated 50 million people in very needy areas, people who have no way of getting health care.

Vacancies for clinicians and students on scholarship with NHSC occur throughout the nation. They may be inner city or rural, including Alaska and Native American Reservations in Arizona. Medical personnel needed include primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, as well as dentists, social workers and clinical psychologists. All serve for three years in the community that has qualified for and accepted them, following an interview. Experienced professionals will serve as commissioned officers of the United States Public Health Service and will be part of the NHSC Ready Responders team. If there is a widespread regional or national medical emergency, the Ready Responders will move quickly to the scene.

The Bureau of Health Professions provides basic information on their website regarding Area Health Education Centers. These centers form a network of university health science centers and local community health resources. They have trained thousands of health professions students, teachers and counselors, and work with NHSC sites and migrant health centers; they also recruit at high schools, and participate in other outreach activities. At present, 45 of the 50 U.S. states have such AHECs.

United States Public Health Service

Also a department within Health and Human Services, the present day U.S. Public Health Service consists of the Office of Public Health and Science, which includes the Surgeon General, Health Administrators for 10 regions, and eight operating divisions. PHS grew from small, widely scattered hospitals that took care of sick and injured merchant seamen to the Marine Hospital Service in 1870, which was responsible for control of infectious diseases. MHS also had the responsibility of processing immigrants at Ellis Island. It went through two more name changes, while controlling outbreaks of smallpox and yellow fever, and providing medical research and assistance in innumerable ways.

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