TUCSON, Ariz. — University of Arizona’s medical school announced Friday that it will give free tuition to some students who commit to working as primary care doctors in underserved areas, an effort to improve access to health care in areas where it’s most lacking.
Up to 94 students will get scholarships on campuses in Phoenix and Tucson, the UA Colleges of Medicine said. For each year of tuition waived, they’ll have to commit to working in an underserved area after their residency for one year.
The scholarships are funded with $3 million from an $8 million state funding plan approved earlier this year. The rest of that money will allow growth from 80 to 100 medical students at UA’s Phoenix campus.
State and federal governments have looked to a wide variety of grants, scholarships, loan forgiveness and other initiatives to seek out doctors willing to work in underserved areas and support them financially. An aging population and projected physician retirements have fueled concerns that the U.S. will face a growing shortage of providers — a problem felt hardest in lower-income areas.