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The University of Utah Physician Assistant Program was awarded a 5 year training grant, The PA Primary Care Training for Substance Abuse and Mental Health, from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The focus of the grant is to graduate PA students prepared for careers in primary care in urban underserved or rural populations with the training to care for substance use and mental health disorders while also equipping students with the skills necessary for career sustainability and burnout prevention.

One objective of the grant is to increase primary care training, with an emphasis on rural and underserved areas, to result in an increased number of graduates working in primary care.

To meet this goal, HRSA Primary Care Scholars was developed with a $16,000 scholarship. PA students interested in working in primary care during their first year of training apply for a highly competitive scholarship with a focus on rural or urban underserved populations. HRSA Primary Care Scholars during their clinical year have increasing exposure of primary care training with the goal of primary care employment upon graduation. Additionally, each Scholar completes a Clinic based research project at one of their Primary Care training sites.