- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The Rhode Island Health Department is continuing efforts to recruit and retain health professionals in underserved areas through a program that helps repay student loans.

Applications are being accepted by the Health Professional Loan Repayment Board through Feb. 13. A total of $350,000 is available for eight to 10 awards.

The program aims to help retain providers and improve access to care in underserved communities, including in the disciplines of primary care, mental health and dentistry.

Funding comes in part from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Foundation, the Rhode Island Health Center Association and UnitedHealthcare contributed

Recipients are expected to be announced in April.

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