Answering the Call for More Primary Care Physicians

Feb. 27, 2023

The University of Arizona Health Sciences Primary Care Physician Scholarship program is designed to fill Arizona’s increasing need for primary care providers.

Arizona has the unique distinction of being one of the fastest growing states in the country. In the first 20 years of this century, the state’s population increased by more than 2 million. It is also one of the oldest in terms of its 65-and-older population. Two decades ago, Arizona ranked No. 22 in the nation for population aged 65 and older, and now it ranks No. 12.

During this time, the demand for primary care providers has been unable to keep pace. According to a new report from the Health Resources and Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Arizona is meeting only 39% of its primary care needs and needs 667 providers to remove designated health professional shortage area status in 248 areas statewide.

The University of Arizona Health Sciences is combatting this workforce shortage by developing a new generation of primary care physicians through the Primary Care Physician Scholarship program. The program awards scholarships annually to medical students at the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson and the UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. These scholarships allow future physicians to pursue careers in primary care without worrying about how they will repay medical school debt.

Scholarships are available for students who intend to pursue residency training in family medicine, general internal medicine, geriatric medicine, general pediatrics, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, and general surgery. Each scholarship recipient agrees to practice medicine in a federally designated underserved community for at least two years and up to four years after graduation and residency training.

The Primary Care Physician Scholarship Program was developed in partnership with and funded by a portion of $8 million approved by the Arizona Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey in 2019.