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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Health Workforce

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Centers of Excellence (COE)


The purpose of the Centers of Excellence (COE) grant program is to assist eligible health professions schools to support education and training enhancement programs to increase opportunities for underrepresented minority (URM) individuals to enter and successfully complete a health professions academic program. COEs are intended to demonstrate an institutional commitment to URM populations by improving the level of skilled URM health professions faculty and health professions students, providing research and exposure to minority health issues, and progress towards eliminating health disparities. The COE programs will serve as resources for future health professions students and faculty to improve their cultural competency and experience providing health services to URM individuals.


COE funds are awarded to eligible and accredited schools of allopathic medicine, osteopathic medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, or graduate programs in behavioral or mental health that meet the requirements of section 736(b) of the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act) which include effective strategies to:  develop a competitive applicant pool; establish, strengthen, or expand programs to enhance URM academic performance; improve faculty development and retention; improve informational resources, develop clinical education, curricula and cultural competence components as they relate to minority health issues; facilitate faculty/student research; provide health services training to URM individuals at community-based health facilities; and provide stipends to students or/and faculty.  Per Section 799(B)(1) of the PHS Act, eligible applicants include four designated Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In addition,  to be eligible for funding, the PHS Act requires designated health professional schools to meet each of four general conditions: (1) have a significant number of URM individuals enrolled in the school, including individuals accepted for enrollment in the school; (2) have been effective in assisting URM students of the school to complete the program of education and receive the degree involved; (3) have been effective in recruiting URM individuals to enroll in and graduate from the school, including providing scholarships and other financial assistance to such individuals and encouraging URM students from all levels of the educational pipeline to pursue health professions careers; and (4) have made significant recruitment efforts to increase the number of URM individuals serving in faculty or administrative positions at the school (See PHS Act, Section 736(c)(1)(B)(i)-(iv).

Students eligible to participate in the funded COE program are underrepresented minorities which include Blacks or African Americans, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians, Hispanics, and any Asian other than Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Asian Indian, or Thai.

More Information

Program details (Opportunity Closing Date: 04/02/2012)
Active Grants and Abstracts


Tia-Nicole Leak, PhD
(301) 443-6950