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West Virginia Health Sciences Service Program

Effective December 1, 2014, the program has been renamed Health Sciences Service Program.

The Health Sciences Service Program is a recruitment incentive program (not a financial aid scholarship) for health professions students interested in practicing in underserved communities in West Virginia. The program allocates 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 by the Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences based on a competitive application process and the recommendations of an advisory committee.

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;

  • Students in the final year of a primary care educational program for nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants;

  • Students in the final year of a master's or doctoral degree nursing program leading to a career in nursing education;

  • 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.

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 16, 2017.

Health Sciences Service Program Application PDF icon
Recommendation Form PDF icon
Certification of Educational Status Form PDF icon

Obligation to Practice in West Virginia

Participants must sign a contract to fulfill a service obligation after completing training. The service obligation is two years of full-time or four years of half-time practice. All practice sites must be located in West Virginia. Participants are responsible for locating a practice site. The penalty for not fulfilling the service obligation is repayment of the award with interest.

Primary care medical, dentistry, nurse midwifery, nurse practitioner, pharmacy, physician assistant, and physical therapy students typically are required to practice in an outpatient setting or at a residential care facility for older adults such as a nursing home. 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.

Medical students who complete a West Virginia emergency medicine residency program must practice at a hospital-based emergency room in West Virginia.

Social work and clinical psychology participants may practice at primary care sites or additional eligible sites including community mental health centers, state mental hospitals, or veterans' health facilities.

Participants in nursing education must teach at a state approved nursing program.

Additional requirements exist for each discipline; please consult the Eligible Sites for Health Sciences Service Program Service Obligations document.

Eligible Sites for Service Obligation:

The following document contains an overview of eligible sites for all participating disciplines. Additional information pertaining to each discipline is available below as well.

Eligible Sites for Health Sciences Service Program Service Obligations PDF icon

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

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

For Nurse Educators:

Approved Undergraduate Nursing Programs (2017) 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

 

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:

Dakota Morris
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: dakota.morris@wvhepc.edu

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The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in applying for financial aid for college.

That goes for certificate programs and two-year and four-year degree programs.