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University of Utah Physician Assistant Program Receives $3,000,000 Federal Grant for Rural Mental and Behavioral Health Training

The University of Utah's Physician Assistant (PA) Program has been awarded a substantial federal grant totaling $3 million over five years from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to enhance primary care training in rural mental and behavioral health.

This significant grant, under the Primary Care Training and Enhancement (PCTE) program, will support the PA program's initiative to train physician assistants in addressing mental and behavioral health challenges in underserved rural areas. The project, led by Dr. Jennifer M. Coombs, Professor and Project Director, aims to equip PA students with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide comprehensive mental health care in rural settings, where such services are often limited.

“We are honored to receive this grant, which will enable us to expand our training programs and directly address the critical need for mental and behavioral health services in rural communities,” said Dr. Coombs. “This funding will help us prepare our students to make a significant impact on the health and well-being of rural populations.”

The project period will span from July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2029, ensuring sustained efforts in enhancing the PA program’s curriculum and outreach.