HRSA Works to Train Primary Care Providers to Respond to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

Content From: Shannon K. Bolon, MD, MPH, Chief, Primary Care Medical Education Branch, Division of Medicine and Dentistry, Bureau of Health Professions, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPublished: November 04, 20113 min read


Training primary care providers on HIV/AIDS-related prevention, care and treatment is key to achieving the National HIV/AIDS Strategy’s (NHAS) goal of increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes for people living with HIV/AIDS. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is working collaboratively across our Bureaus to pursue the Strategy’s goals and has made it a priority to improve the supply, capacity and distribution of primary care providers in the U.S. to treat uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable populations, including those living with HIV/AIDS.

One approach HRSA’s Bureau of Health Professions uses to improve training related to HIV/AIDS is to administer grants and graduate medical education (GME) payment programs to institutions, organizations and programs whose mission is to train a skilled health workforce that can adapt to the population’s changing health care needs and provide the highest quality of care for all.

Among the successful applicants of our recent primary care training opportunities for physicians, dentists and physician assistants, some will focus on providing practical experiences for trainees on HIV/AIDS-related prevention, care and treatment.

In Louisiana, for example, a general internal medicine residency program is developing a curriculum to teach resident physicians and faculty the skills to successfully transition care of HIV/AIDS patients from hospital to primary care clinics following the patient-centered medical home model. A Department of Family and Community Medicine in Pennsylvania is enhancing and evaluating the quality of the care of HIV/AIDS and other vulnerable patients by developing a new patient-centered medical home research and training center. The center will teach medical students, faculty, and community physicians. Physician assistant students in Alabama are learning to diagnose and treat HIV/AIDS patients residing in medically underserved areas by getting additional clinical training. They are working with infectious disease, emergency and oral health providers at the county Department of Health. Recognizing the need to provide oral health care to those living with HIV/AIDS, a grantee in Texas has been funded to increase the number of available dental training positions, allowing greater access to primary care dentistry services for those living with HIV/AIDS in the state.

The grantees above, along with others funded by the Bureau of Health Professions, are working to strengthen the current provider workforce to improve the quality of HIV/AIDS care and health outcomes of people living with HIV/AIDS and increasing the number of available providers of HIV/AIDS care.

Interested in knowing more about how HRSA is working to increase the primary care workforce in your community? Visit HRSA to see what grant opportunities are available for educating and training the health professions workforce. To see how the Bureau of Health Professions is working with grantees to further the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, view our webcast.