Mountain Area Health Education Center, Biltmore Village, NC

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced investments of nearly $60 million to grow the health workforce and increase access to quality health care in rural communities, including nearly $46 million in funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

Nearly $46 million in American Rescue Plan funding will support 31 awardees to expand health care capacity in rural and tribal communities through health care job development, training, and placement. This funding includes support for critical health workforce needs in rural areas such as dental hygienists, medical or dental assistants, community-based doulas, and other frontline health care workers.

Nearly one in five Americans lives in a rural area, and rural communities are becoming even more diverse. However, health disparities between rural and urban areas tripled between 1999 and 2019, with rural residents experiencing higher rates of heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer, stroke, unintentional injury, and suicide; and higher risk of maternal morbidity and mortality. Access to quality health care is at the heart of these issues.

This includes $749,000 for the Rural Residency and Development Program at Mountain Area Health Education Center in Biltmore Forest, NC.