The purpose of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) State Loan Repayment Grant (SLRP) is to improve access to quality health care in the underserved communities of the CNMI by increasing the number of healthcare providers working in Health Professions Shortage Areas (HPSA). The CNMI is truly in need of Healthcare Professionals on all three islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. The entire territory is a primary care, mental/behavioral health and dental health HPSA, in great need of assistance. The needs to be addressed include the shortage and maldistribution of essential health providers in the CNMI. The CNMI-SLRP will provide incentives to at least 10 behavioral health providers (LCSW, LADC), dentists, RNs, and pharmacists to work in the CNMI by providing loan repayment for up to 4 years. Approved recipients will receive up to $25,000 a year in loan repayment. These providers will be adopted by communities and not only care for those with health concerns, but become involved in health workforce development activities such as telehealth, recruitment to health careers and mentoring School of Nursing students from the local Northern Marianas College. This program will fill the missing link in the CNMI recruitment efforts by allowing students with large debt burden to choose careers in the CNMI and promote long term practice in underserved areas. The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation, a semi-autonomous government entity responsible for healthcare infrastructure, will administer the program and match the federal funding. Measurable Objective 1: Improve the number of essential health care providers in the medically underserved areas of the CNMI by providing at least 8 loan repayment opportunities for behavioral health providers (LCSW, LADC), dentists, RNs, and pharmacists, as the areas identified as being in the greatest need for services by the CNMI-SLRP Advisory Committee. Measurable Objective 2: Improve the retention
of health care providers (HCPs) in the medically underserved areas of the CNMI by supporting community involvement in the selection and welcoming process and, connecting the new providers with active teaching and/or mentoring. Evaluation will include annual tracking of program participants, their teaching, mentoring and continuing education experiences, as well as regular assessment of satisfaction of Sites and Providers.