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: http://hpsafind.hrsa.gov/.
  • Provides $30,000 up to $50,000 for the full two-year commitment for full-time eligible applicants and up to $15,000 to $25,000 for the full two year commitment is available for part-time eligible applicants. Award amounts are tiered based on professions and amounts may vary based on available federal allocations and state matching funds and applicant scores. Grants are exempt from federal and state income taxes.



Maximum Amount for Full-Time

Maximum Amount for


Primary care physician (family medicine and osteopathic general practice, general and geriatric internal medicine, general pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, geriatrics, general psychiatry/psychiatrist) - General practice dentist and pediatric dentist



Primary care or mental health physician assistant - Primary care or mental health certified nurse practitioner - Certified nurse midwife - Clinical psychologist (health service psychologist)



Clinical social worker (LISW only) - Mental health counselor - Marriage and family therapist - Registered clinical dental hygienist



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 and in the IowaGrants.gov Funding Opportunity Search and Grant Management System. Contracts begin each January with approximately 8-12 successful applicants.

Additional Resources

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.

Contact Information

Katie Jerkins 
PRIMECARRE Program Coordinator
(515) 423-2690
Fax: (515) 242-6383