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Kraft family makes $20 million grant to attract primary care providers to health centers

1-12-11 Feature Story:

Boston, MA - By way of a $20 million gift, Robert and Myra Kraft have pledged to help improve health access for the growing numbers of newly insured patients seeking primary care at community health centers in Massachusetts and across the country. The gift comes amid a mounting, national primary care provider shortage that is helping to drive up costs in the nation's health system as patients turn to more expensive settings for care.

"We are grateful to the Kraft family for their generosity and commitment to addressing the most critical issue in health care - the need for more primary care providers," said James W. Hunt, Jr., President and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. "The Kraft Family Center will create an opportunity to expand upon the leadership and expertise that exists at health centers in Massachusetts. Most importantly, this initiative has the long-term potential for attracting greater numbers of primary care providers to serve a growing population of community health center patients."

Working through Partners HealthCare, the gift will go toward creating the Kraft Family National Center for Leadership and Training in Community Health, which will focus on training primary care leaders in underserved communities. The Center will have three primary components:

(1) Two-year multi-disciplinary fellowship training program to develop physician leaders in primary care medicine and pediatrics, family medicine, psychiatry and women's health. The program will also provide up to $50,000 in tuition support for a master’s degree and up to $50,000 for loan repayment. Participants must commit to practice in a community health setting for at least three years following completion of the fellowship.

(2) Program of loan repayment and a specialized curriculum for already-trained physicians and nurse practitioners which will be launched almost immediately. Physicians who commit to at least two years of service through community-based programs will be eligible for up to $50,000 for loan repayment. Nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, psychiatric nurse practitioners and other master's-prepared nurses who commit to at least two years of service through community-based programs will be eligible for up to $30,000 for loan repayment. These providers will also participate in a mentorship program.

(3) Program office and National Advisory Council to guide the Center toward becoming a nationally-recognized resource for help in expanding care to those most in need. The office will develop and disseminate new models for collaboration between academic medical centers and community health centers, share new curricula and best- practices, build public-private partnerships, and grow investment in this and related programs.

Please stay tuned for more information. To read media coverage of the initiative, click here.

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