Health Careers Opportunity Program

The HCOP program strives to develop a more competitive applicant pool to build diversity in the health professions.

The program's goal is to provide students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to develop the skills needed to successfully compete to enter
and graduate from health professions schools, allied health professions schools, graduate programs in behavioral and mental health, and programs for the training of physician assistants.
Examples of Funded Projects

Summer and academic year projects were conducted offering preliminary education at pre-health professions schools and U.S.

health and allied health professions schools for facilitating entry and retention activities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Agency - Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services is the Federal government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially to those who are least able to help themselves.

Office - Stuart Weiss, Acting Chief, Diversity Branch, Division of Diversity and Interdisciplinary Education, Bureau of Health Professions, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Room 9-36, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857.
Website Address

Program Accomplishments

In FY 2007, there were 4 non-competing continuations. In FY 2008, it is estimated that there will be 15 HCOP projects.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Section 739 provides for assisting individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to undertake education to enter a health or allied health profession.

Grant funds may be used for: (1) recruitment; (2) facilitating entry; (3) counseling, mentoring and other services; (4) preliminary education and health research training; (5) financial aid/information dissemination; (6) primary care exposure activities; (7) development of a more competitive applicant pool; and (8) stipends.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Eligible applicants include accredited schools of medicine, osteopathic medicine, public health, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry, pharmacy, allied health, chiropractic, podiatric medicine, public and nonprofit private schools that offer graduate programs in behavioral and mental health, programs for the training of physician assistants, and other public or private nonprofit health or educational entities.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Students who meet the definition of either educationally or economically disadvantaged, and who express an interest in pursuing a health degree program are eligible for participation in an HCOP program during their primary, secondary pre-professional, and professional education. Students must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, or foreign nationals who possess a visa permitting permanent residence in the United States. An individual will be determined to be disadvantaged if he or she comes from a background that has inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to enroll in and graduate from a health professions school or program providing education or training in an allied health profession; or comes from a family with an annual income below a level based on low income thresholds according to family size published by the Bureau of the Census, adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index, and adjusted by the Secretary for use in health professions programs.


Applicants should review the individual HRSA Guidance documents issued under this CFDA program for any required proof or certifications which must be submitted prior to or simultaneous with submission of an application package.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

Grant applications and required forms for this program can be obtained from Please visit the Web site at to both find and apply for all Federal grant opportunities. All qualified applications will be forwarded to an objective review committee which will make funding recommendations to the Associate Administrator for the Bureau of Health Professions. The Associate Administrator has the authority to make final selections for awards.

Award Procedures

Notification is made in writing by a Notice of Grant Award issued from Headquarters Office.



Public Health Service Act, Title VII, Section 739, 42 U.S.C. 293c, as amended; Health Professions Education Partnership Act of 1998, Public Law 105-392.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approximately 4 months after receipt of applications.




Competitive continuations may be submitted during the final budget period within an approved project period.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements


Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Projects periods are 3 years.

Post Assistance Requirements


A Uniform Summary Progress Report must be submitted for a second or subsequent budget period within a previously approved project period.

An annual financial status report are required 90 days after the end of each budget period.

A final progress report and final financial status report must be submitted within 90 days after the end of the project period.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.


All records must be maintained until expiration of 3 years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report. If questions remain following the 3-uear period, such as those raised as a result of an audit or an on-going enforcement action, recipients must retain records until the matter is completely resolved.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $3,957,000; FY 08 est $9,825,000; and FY 09 est not available.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

In FY 2008, it is estimated that there will be 1 competing continuation award and 14 new competing awards issued. The range of FY 2008 financial assistance is estimated to be $66,083 to $1,454,970, with an average award of $618,803. A competitive application cycle is not planned for FY 2009.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

This program is subject to the provisions of 45 CFR Part 92 for State, local and tribal governments and 45 CFR Part 74 for institutions of higher education, hospitals, other nonprofit organizations and commercial organizations, as applicable.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Stuart Weiss, Acting Chief, Diversity Branch, Division of Diversity and Interdisciplinary Education, Bureau of Health Professions, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Room 9-36, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857.

Headquarters Office

Grants Management Office: Rick Goodman, Director, Division of Grants Management Operations, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 11A-16. Health Services Branch: (301) 443-2385; Research and Training Branch: (301) 443-3099; Government and Special Focus Branch: (301) 443-3288.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

All competitive applications will be reviewed on the basis of: (1) The applicant's record in developing, training, and strengthening the academic performance of disadvantaged students throughout the educational pipeline, including health professions schools, (2) the needs assessment study, (3) the established relationship between the program's stated needs, objectives, and outcomes, (4) the project's plan for developing and expanding the pool of competitive health professions school applicants, (5) the qualifications and experience of the faculty and staff to implement and manage an HCOP program, as well as the experience of the faculty and staff in working with the proposed target group, (6) evidence that formal linkages have been established in order to create a more comprehensive HCOP program, (7) the project activities and their reasonability given the proposed level of staff effort, length of project period and budget requested, resources available, and linkages established, (8) the proposed methods for evaluating the project (including data collection, analysis and reporting procedures, quality control methods and type of personnel involved, (9) the budget's demonstration of effective utilization of grant funds and how reasonable is the request, (a) a detailed justification for each line item, (b) the level of in-kind support and other sources of funds, both Federal and non-Federal, the applicant proposes to utilize for carrying out the program, (c) the applicant's proposed plan for continuation of the proposed project beyond the federally-funded project period, (10) the demonstrated knowledge and expertise the applicant possess for coordinating activities with school districts and other community based entities, as well as identifying and leveraging resources from private, philanthropic, business and other government entities.

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