University of Alabama at Birmingham: HRSA awards $5.5 million to UAB’s CU2RE program for the second consecutive year

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The University of Alabama at Birmingham Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine’s Department of Family and Community Medicine’s Comprehensive Urban Underserved and Rural Experience program (CU2RE) received $5.5 million supplemental funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration for the second year in a row.

The funding from HRSA supports the department’s mission of enhancing the recruitment, training and retention of medical students dedicated to providing primary care in rural and urban underserved areas, especially in Alabama. The program began in 2020 with a $7 million HRSA award and was boosted with an additional $5.2 million in 2021. The recent award brings the funding total to $17.7 million.

“It has been so exciting to watch the CU2RE program grow since its launch and the new supplemental funding from HRSA will give us even more opportunities to expand the program’s impact,” said Irfan Asif, M.D., department chair and associate dean for primary care and rural health. “Growing and enhancing primary care in Alabama is an important health care priority for the state, and I am thankful for HRSA’s investment in our efforts and our future physicians.”

The new HRSA supplemental funding will be used to increase educational activities for medical students, redesign family medicine education across all UAB regional campuses, provide students with stipends to offset medical education costs and implement new faculty, staff and student development initiatives.

The CU2RE program has grown rapidly since its launch in 2020, adding a CU2RE pipeline program for college students interested in practicing primary care in underserved areas. The program began this summer with 12 students from five Alabama universities taking part. Those students have already benefited from in-person and online workshops and discussion sessions, a tour of UAB medical facilities, discussions with faculty members and events with medical students in the CU2RE program. In addition to programming for students, the CU2RE program supports training and practice transformation efforts for faculty members and clinicians as well as research efforts that bridge the gap between education and clinical practice, tackling some of Alabama’s toughest health care challenges.

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