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Primary Care Training and Enhancement: Physician Assistant Rural Training in Behavioral Health (PCTE-PARB) Program


Additional Links

Notice of Funding Opportunity (


Application Deadline: Mar 15, 2024


Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW)


Provides funding to develop clinical rotations that integrate behavioral health and primary care for physician assistant (PA) students in rural areas. Aims to increase the number of PAs in rural communities who are trained to provide behavioral healthcare, such as prevention, identification, diagnosis, treatment, including medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), and referral services.

Required activities include:

  • Place trainees in rural clinical rotations within the first 6 months of the award
  • Develop new or grow existing partnerships within the first 6 months of the award
  • Offer curriculum that prepares trainees for clinical rotation, including prevention, identification, diagnosis, treatment, and referral services
  • Provide participants with MOUD training
  • Incorporate interprofessional clinical and didactic learning experiences
  • Provide trainees with at least 3 months of clinical rotations at a rural clinic that involves integrating behavioral health with primary care
  • Offer a stipend to enrolled students while they are in a clinical rotation at a rural site
  • Ensure trainees apply for a National Provider Identifier (NPI) number
  • Provide opportunities for preceptor development in behavioral health
  • Create a plan to collect post-graduation employment demographics 1 year after graduation
  • Participate in federally designed evaluations to assess program effectiveness and efficiency

Amount of Funding

Award ceiling: $415,000 per year
Project period: 5 years
Estimated number of awards: 12
Estimated total program funding: $5,000,000

Who Can Apply

Eligibility is limited to academically affiliated PA training programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

Clinical sites must be located in a rural area as determined by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP). Applicants can use the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer to determine whether a county or specific address is designated as rural for this funding opportunity.

Applicants can request a funding preference. Funding preferences will be granted to any qualified applicant that justifies their qualification for the funding preference by demonstrating that they meet the criteria for preference(s) as follows:

  1. Qualification 1 - High Rate: Must demonstrate that at least 50% of all graduates are placed in practice settings providing care to medically underserved communities (MUCs) for academic years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023. Under this funding opportunity, MUCs are defined as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs), Medically Underserved Populations (MUPs), or Governor's Certified Shortage Areas for Rural Health Clinic (RHC) purposes.
  2. Qualification 2 - Significant Increase: Must demonstrate a 25% increase from academic year 2021-2022 to academic year 2022-2023 for placing graduates in MUCs.
  3. Qualification 3 - New Program: Defined as new residency programs that can qualify for funding preference if they have completed training for less than 3 consecutive classes and meet 4 or more of the following criteria:
    • Preparing health professionals to serve underserved populations must be included as a specific purpose of the training organization's mission statement
    • Program curriculum contains content designed to help practitioners prepare to serve underserved populations
    • Program requires substantial clinical training in MUCs
    • 20% or more of the clinical program faculty spend a minimum of 50% of their time serving or supervising care in MUCs
    • A substantial portion or the entirety of the program physically resides in a MUC
    • Provides assistance, including for service in MUCs after graduation
    • Residency program offers a placement mechanism for assisting graduates with finding positions in MUCs

Geographic Coverage


What This Program Funds

Capacity Building • Training Providers

Application Process

Application instructions, requirements, and other information can be found in the funding announcement.

Applicant webinar recording
Applicant frequently asked questions


For programmatic or technical questions:
LCDR Sherray Holland, PA-C

For grants management or budget questions:
Denis Nikiema

Topics This Program Addresses

Healthcare Workforce • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) • Opioids • Prevention • Substance Use Disorder • Treatment