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Primary Care Recruitment and Retention Endeavor (PRIMECARRE)

The Primary Care Recruitment and Retention Endeavor (PRIMECARRE) was authorized by the Iowa Legislature in 1994 to strengthen the primary health care infrastructure in Iowa. PRIMECARRE allocations currently support the Iowa Loan Repayment Program, with matching federal and state funds.

The Iowa Loan Repayment Program

  • Offers two-year grants to primary care medical, dental, and mental health practitioners for use in repayment of educational loans.
  • Requires a two-year practice commitment in a public or non-profit site located in a health professional shortage area (HPSA).
    • HPSAs are designed to identify communities with diminishing health care services and provide them with opportunities to improve access to and availability of care. By identifying health professional shortage areas, communities become eligible for state and federal assistance to recruit and retain health professionals, access additional reimbursement dollars, and eventually alleviate the shortage. Primary care providers must practice in a primary care HPSA, dental providers in a dental HPSA, and mental health professionals in a mental health HPSA. To find out whether a particular area or facility is located in a HPSA, go to:
  • Provides up to $50,000 per year for full-time and $25,000 per year for part-time primary care physicians, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, dentists, dental hygienists, physician assistants, registered nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, clinical social workers (LISW), and psychiatric nurse specialists.

PRIMECARRE applications are accepted annually through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process. The RFP packet is posted each fall on the Iowa Department of Public Health website. Contracts begin each January with approximately 5-8 successful applicants.

Programs No Longer Supported by State Funds

  • PRIMECARRE Community Grant Program
  • PRIMECARRE Community Scholarship Program

Health Care Recruitment and Retention Resources

  • 3R Net - National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network -- 3R Net is a job search web site devoted exclusively to rural health care recruitment. Candidates log in, select job titles of interest, and contact facilities directly. Hospitals and clinics log in, post job openings, and communicate with candidates.
  • For current information on the federal counterpart to the PRIMECARRE Loan Repayment Program, go to: National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program. Select "applications" in the left column, then scroll down then click on the NHSC Loan Repayment Application Information Bulletin.

Web Resources

  • Center for Rural Entrepreneurship -- The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship is a Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) supporting private and public entrepreneurship development in communities throughout rural America.
  • Community Vitality Center, ISU -- The Community Vitality Center represents university, agency, and community interests administered through Iowa State University Extension
  • Heartland Center for Leadership Development -- The Heartland Center is an independent, nonprofit organization providing leadership training, community planning, facilitation, evaluation, and curriculum development.
  • Iowa Department of Economic Development -- The Community Development division at IDED works with local governments, communities, and businesses to build organizational, entrepreneurial and physical capacity for community and economic improvement.

Contact Information

Doreen Chamberlin
PRIMECARRE Program Coordinator