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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

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Careers and Programs

Male and female medical professionals

IHS clinicians share their knowledge as part of an interdisciplinary team, providing patient-centered care while working with the latest technologies. There are vast opportunities to provide culturally competent care in a variety of disciplines and health care facility settings throughout IHS, Tribal and Urban Indian Programs. Today, more than 4,000 physicians, nurses, dentists and pharmacists, as well as another 11,000 nutritionists, health administrators, behavioral health specialists, physical therapists, engineers and environmental health professionals comprise our team. An Indian health career offers adventurous, enthusiastic and dedicated practitioners a chance to live and work within Native communities, allowing them to learn the heritage of the Tribes firsthand and gain cultural insight into the beliefs and values of the Native patient population.

IHS Ambassadors should be knowledgeable about the unique opportunities IHS offers health profession graduates as they enter their careers, as well as established health professionals who seek new opportunities. The IHS Scholarship Program, the IHS Extern Program and the IHS Loan Repayment Program have proven key in recruiting and retaining valued clinicians.

IHS Scholarship Program
The IHS Scholarship Program assists future clinicians as they begin their journey toward an Indian health career. IHS offers three scholarship opportunities (Preparatory, Pre-Graduate and Health Professions) to qualified American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students who have a passion for health care and the desire to become leaders within their communities. Scholarship candidates must demonstrate a desire to serve others, lead by example and promote quality standards of care during their training and eventually within an Indian health program. The program provides financial support covering tuition and fees, educational expenses and a monthly stipend. Health Professions scholarship recipients agree to a minimum two-year service commitment to practice at an Indian health facility in exchange for the scholarship support.

IHS Extern Program
IHS also offers health profession students an opportunity to gain hands-on practical experience working alongside health care professionals in clinical settings through the IHS Extern Program. IHS offers both summer and winter externship opportunities. All health profession students are welcome to participate, however, IHS Health Professions scholarship recipients are given priority consideration.

IHS Loan Repayment Program
The IHS Loan Repayment Program (LRP) offers financial freedom to dedicated health professionals as they chart a course for long-lasting and successful health care careers. The LRP will repay IHS clinicians’ eligible health profession education loans — up to $40,000 — in exchange for an initial two-year service commitment to practice in health facilities serving AI/AN communities. Opportunities are based on Indian health program facilities with the greatest staffing needs in specific health profession disciplines.