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Implementing Health Profession Training Programs in Tribal Communities

Logo for Health Profession Opportunity Grants programBy Brendan Kelly, Senior Social Science Research Analyst, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation

Through the Tribal Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) program, ACF supports grants to increase the number of qualified, culturally competent health professionals in underserved communities. Two recent publications highlight the early implementation and outcomes of the program.

The first is a brief on implementation strategies, challenges, lessons learned and ongoing activities to address unique tribal cultural and programmatic needs. It also describes how grantees’ programs are distinct because they aim to integrate health professions training with culturally-informed models of learning and practice, such as cooperative learning and mentoring, to nurture and educate low-income individuals into healthcare careers.

The second is a report, which found that all five of the tribal HPOG grantees successfully enrolled students in training programs in the initial years of HPOG. Grantees used their resources, along with support from host sites and local partners, to implement programs and ensure comprehensive service delivery. Early outcomes show that students gained the necessary skills to be employable. Grantees are utilizing local and statewide partnerships to assist students in securing employment in health professions.

There is significant underrepresentation of American Indians and Alaskan Natives in the health professions and many tribal communities continue to lack access to high quality and affordable health care. The insights and lessons from the Tribal HPOG program and its evaluation provide policymakers and program operators with valuable lessons that, when applied, can address these shortcomings while improving the employment and health of tribal communities. 

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