The purpose of the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) is to increase the number of individuals from educationally or economically disadvantaged backgrounds who enter the health and allied health professions program. Through an educational pipeline program, HCOP provides the support necessary to compete for, enter, and graduate from health or allied health professions schools. The program provides activities for disadvantaged students through formal academic and research training and programming, and student enhancement services. The HCOP grantees provide counseling and mentoring services to assist students in successfully completing their education and training. The program also exposes students to community-based primary healthcare experiences with public and private non-profit providers. In addition, HCOP provides student stipends and financial planning resources to students and parents, as well as information about healthcare careers and training.
Eligible applicants are 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 or mental health, programs for the training of physician assistants, and other public or private nonprofit health or educational entities, including faith-based and community based organizations. The grantee institutions disburses some of the program funds to eligible individuals for specific purposes, such as stipends.
Students who are educationally or economically disadvantaged and who express an interest in pursuing a health degree program are eligible for participation in an HCOP during their primary, secondary, college, post-college/pre-professional, and graduate/professional education. An individual is “educationally disadvantaged” if he or she comes from an environment that has inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to enroll in and graduate from a health professions school or allied health program. Individuals are ”economically disadvantaged” if they come from a family with an annual income at or below low income thresholds, according to family size, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau and modified by the Secretary for use in health and allied health professions training programs.
Tia-Nicole Leak, Ph.D.