Sign petition to allow ODs to partipate in loan repayment program

April 1, 2013

Optometry lost access to the National Health Service Corps scholarship and loan repayment program in the early 2000s. Sign the petition to add optometrists to the federal loan forgiveness program (NHSC). This program incentivizes optometrists to work in under served areas of the country.

By Sandhya RamsookSUNY Class of 2016

According to the Health and Human Services website, “The National Health Service Corps, through scholarship and loan repayment programs, helps every US State and most territories to provide desperately needed primary health care in areas where health care providers are in short supply.” At this time, the NHSC Loan Repayment Program is open only to licensed primary-care medical, dental, and mental and behavioral health providers. However, there are many populations in the United States where Americans’ eye care needs are not being met. Adding optometry to the list of healthcare providers included in the loan repayment program will serve as an incentive for new ODs to practice in under-served areas. The petition aims to:

“Allow optometrists to participate in the National Health Service Corps scholarship and loan repayment program. This petition is to help add optometrists to the federal loan forgiveness program (NHSC) first introduced by Rep. McMorris Rodgers in 2013 as H.R. 920. This program incentivizes optometrists to work in under served areas of the country. Optometry lost its access to this program in the early 2000s.”

We still need more than 98,000 signatures by April 14 in order for the White House staff to review the petition, send it to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response. To sign, please go to

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/allow-optometrists-participate-national-health-service-corps-scholarship-and-loan-repayment-program/4jpJdQ45

Click on “Create An Account,” input your name and e-mail address, and wait for an e-mail. Click the link in the email to confirm your e-mail address. This will take you back to the petition page. Then click on “Sign this Petition.”