The Influence of Loan Repayment and Scholarship Programs on Healthcare Provider Retention in Underserved Kansas


  • Erin Locke, M.D., MPH Tacoma Family Medicine, Tacoma, WA
  • Frank Dong, Ph.D. Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA
  • Robert Stiles, MPH Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, Coffeyville, KS University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita
  • Rick Kellerman, M.D. Department of Family and Community Medicine
  • Elizabeth Ablah, Ph.D., MPH Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health



National Health Service Corps, medically underserved areas, rural population, training support, scholarships


Background. In an effort to redistribute healthcare providers
to underserved areas, many states have turned to financial
incentive programs. Despite substantial research on these
programs on a national scale, little is known about the success
of such programs in Kansas. The purpose of this study
was to provide insight into the relationship between financ
ial incentive programs and provider retention in Kansas.

Methods. A cross-sectional telephone survey was conducted in
April and May of 2011 with participants who had completed
their obligations to the Kansas State Loan Repayment Program
(SLRP), the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment
program, or the National Health Service Corps Scholar ship
program in Kansas between January 2006 and January 2011.

Results. Of the 112 providers included in the study, 54.4% (n = 61)
had left their program sites sometime after finishing their commitment,
with the mean length of stay after the obligation period
ended being 7.3 (median = 3) months. Of the 54 participants who
had left their program sites and whose current locations were
known, 33.3% (n = 18) were located in new Health Professional
Shortage Areas (HPSA), 25.9% (n = 14) were in a new non-HPSA,
and 40.7% (n = 22) had left the state. Family satisfaction with the
community and attending a professional school in Kansas were
associated statistically with retention of physicians in Kansas.

Conclusions. Nearly half of all participants had remained at
their sites even after their obligation period ended, with family
satisfaction with the community appearing to be the strongest
predictor for retention among those who had stayed.
Efforts to match a provider’s family with the community successfully
and to support the family through networking may
improve future provider retention. KS J Med 2016;9(1):6-11.


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How to Cite

Locke, E., Dong, F., Stiles, R., Kellerman, R., & Ablah, E. (2019). The Influence of Loan Repayment and Scholarship Programs on Healthcare Provider Retention in Underserved Kansas. Kansas Journal of Medicine, 9(1), 6–11.



Original Research