September 2022: The Alabama Rural Medical Service Award (ARMSA) is available to primary care physicians (pediatrics, family medicine, general internal medicine, internal medicine/pediatrics) and family medicine nurse practitioners who are starting practice in an Alabama rural area of need. Physicians are eligible for $50,000 per year, and nurse practitioners are eligible for $30,000 per year for their first three years of practice.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey proposed ARMSA, which the Legislature approved, in a bid to increase the number of health-care professionals in medically underserved areas of rural Alabama.
"Alabama's rural areas are in great need of physicians and nurse practitioners,” said State Health Officer Scott Harris, MD. “Rural areas have a high prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease in addition to substance abuse. I encourage healthcare providers beginning their careers in rural Alabama to apply for ARMSA grants, and I am very grateful for the support of this program by Governor Ivey and the Legislature."
The areas of need are identified annually in the Status Report of the Alabama Primary Care Physician Workforce produced by the Office for Family Health Education and Research in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine. These areas are determined based on the number of primary care providers available to serve patients in a 30-mintue drive range. In general, a community that has fewer than one provider per 2,500 residents is considered in need. Currently, there are 47 rural primary care shortage areas in Alabama. Of these, 22 areas/communities need three or more primary care providers.
ARMSA is available for providers who are willing to begin practice in an eligible community within the fiscal year of the award. The award can be renewed for an additional two years if the provider continues full-time practice in that community.
Communities in need include Columbiana, Dora, Jasper, Moody, Oneonta, and Pell City, along with dozens of others. For information about other eligible communities and applying for ARMSA, visit https://aohw.org/2021-armsa or contact ARMSA@uabmc.edu.