Health Workforce: Glossary

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Below are general definitions for terms we use throughout the Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW).

Different programs may define terms in various ways due to their authorizing statutes, or the nature of training activities they offer.

Refer to the authorizing statute, the Notice of Funding Opportunity, your Government Project Officer or DPSD Desk Officer, if you are unsure about how to define a term central to your program.

Academic Health Center – an institution that includes a school of medicine, a teaching hospital, and at least one additional health education school (e.g., nursing), and that is owned and/or affiliated with clinical agencies providing for the delivery of patient services. Each entity generally maintains a separate identity and autonomy.

Academic-Practice Partnerships – formal and strategic relationships between educational and clinical practice settings established to advance their mutual interests related to practice, education and research.

Access – the ability to use needed health services by a patient or population in terms of the following:

  • health services delivery system characteristics such as availability, organization, and financing of services;
  • characteristics of the population such as demographics, income, care-seeking behavior; and
  • whether or not the care sought adequately met the individual or group’s basic medical needs.

Accredited – a hospital, school, or program, officially recognized by a national body or state agency, and approved by the Secretary of Education.

*A new school or program that is not eligible for accreditation when they apply for a grant/contract, due to an insufficient period of operation can become accredited by the Secretary of Education. The Secretary must be reasonably assured that the program will meet the accreditation standards prior to the beginning of the academic year following the normal graduation date of students of the first entering class in such a school or program.

Active Duty Uniformed Services – a person who is serving full-time duty in the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines), Regular or Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service, or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration other than active duty for training; or a cadet at the United States Military, Air Force, or Coast Guard Academy; or a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy.

Ambulatory Surgical Center – an entity that operates exclusively for the purpose of furnishing surgical services to patients who do not require hospitalization, and in which the expected duration of services does not exceed 24 hours following admission.

Attrition – the act of permanently leaving a training program or training activity before completion. An individual is included in the attrition total if s/he leaves a training program or training activity for any reason before completing all training requirements. This does not include those who have taken a leave of absence from a training program/training activity. 

Behavioral Health – encompasses the promotion of emotional health; the prevention of mental illnesses and substance use disorders; and treatments and services for mental and/or substance use disorders.

Behavioral Health Integration – the care that results from a practice team of primary care and behavioral health clinicians, working together with patients and families, using a systematic and cost-effective approach to provide patient-centered care for a defined population.

This care may address mental health and substance abuse conditions, health behaviors (including their contribution to chronic medical illnesses), life stressors and crises, stress-related physical symptoms, and ineffective patterns of health care utilization.

BHW-funded Financial Awards – money BHW provides to an individual via a grant by a grantee institution or organization. The purpose is to defray costs associated with participation in a training program or training activity. We list types and definitions of BHW-funded financial awards below:

Grant Programs

  • Career Award – given to current faculty to facilitate professional growth and advancement in an academic setting.
  • Fellowship – helps a Fellow pay costs for advanced training in a specific content area. L
  • Loan – given to a student enrolled in a degree program at an educational institution to help pay costs related to that program. Loans must be repaid specific to the terms in a promissory note.
  • Loan Repayment – given to an individual, on condition that they agree to provide specific types of services for a specified amount of time. Under this agreement, an individual who meets all requirements may have part or all of their student loans paid off.
  • Scholarship – given to a student enrolled in a degree program at an educational institution for the sole purpose of covering tuition expenses.
  • Stipend – given to an individual to help pay costs for a training program or training activity.
  • Traineeship – given to a student enrolled in an advanced training program at an educational institution to help pay costs for advanced training in a specific content area.

National Health Service Corps and Nurse Corps

  • Fellowship (Post-Graduate Training) – advanced training of a graduate from a health professions education program (e.g., internships, residencies, chief residency, and fellowships). 

    This experience may include a financial award to help pay costs related to advanced training in a specific content area.
     

  • Student Loans – a type of loan designed to help students pay for post-secondary education and the associated fees, such as tuition, books, supplies, and living expenses.

Campus-Based Degree Program – requires students to complete all academic coursework at the college or university campus.    

Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) – state-certified in accordance with criteria published by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and with the requirements of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014.

The criteria include requirements for staffing, availability and accessibility of services, care coordination, scope of services, quality and other reporting, and organizational authority.

  • Certified Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) also fall under this category. A CMHC is an entity that meets applicable licensing or certification requirements for CMHCs in the state in which it is located. It provides

(1) outpatient services, including specialized outpatient services for children, the elderly, individuals who are chronically mentally ill, and residents of its mental health service area who have been discharged from inpatient treatment at a mental health facility;
(2) 24-hour-a-day emergency care services;
(3) day treatment, or other partial hospitalization services, or psychosocial rehabilitation services; and
(4) screening for patients being considered for admission to state mental health facilities to determine the appropriateness of such admission. 

Clinical Practice/Service -                                                                                                                               

National Health Service Corps

  • Full-Time Clinical Practice – working a minimum of 40 hours per week in a clinical practice, for a minimum of 45 weeks per service year, in an NHSC-approved service site.                                                                                                           
  • Part-time (Half-Time) Clinical Practice – working a minimum of 20 hours per week in a clinical practice, not to exceed 39 hours per week, for a minimum of 45 weeks per service year, in an NHSC-approved service site.                                                                 

Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program

  • Full-Time Service
    • Working as an RN or APRN at a public or private nonprofit Critical Shortage Facility (CSF) for a minimum of 32 hours per week, or
    • Working full-time (as defined by the employer) as a nurse faculty (NF) member for a minimum of nine months per service year at an accredited public or private nonprofit eligible school of nursing, for the time period specified in the participant’s contract, with no more than 35 workdays per service year spent away from the service site for vacation, holidays, continuing education, illness, maternity/paternity/adoption, or any other reason.                                                                    

Nurse Corps Scholarship Program

  • Full-Time Clinical Practice – a minimum of 32 hours per week. At least 26 hours per week must be spent providing clinical services or direct patient care at the approved site. The remaining six hours may be spent on administrative or other non-clinical activities.
  • Part-Time Clinical Practice – a minimum of 16 hours per week and up to a maximum of 31 hours per week. Participants wishing to serve part-time must first obtain approval from the HHS Secretary or his/her designee and must extend their service obligation so that the aggregate amount of service performed will equal the amount of a full-time service obligation.

    At least 80 percent of the hours each week must be spent providing clinical services, or direct patient care, to patients. For example, a nurse scheduled to work 20 hours per week must spend at least 16 hours per week providing clinical services.

Clinical Training – the patient-care component of health professions education, including but not limited to clinical rotations, preceptorships, and clerkships. For purposes of reporting, this includes hands-on field training with patient encounters (not didactic or observations).

Clinician – refers to an individual who uses a recognized scientific knowledge base and has the authority to direct the delivery of personal health services to patients. A clinician has direct contact with patients and may be a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant.

Community of Practice (CoP) – a group of people who share a common interest, and become more knowledgeable through interaction among themselves. A CoP requires a community, a shared interest, and shared experiences with the interest.

Comprehensive Primary Care (specific definition for the National Health Service Corps) – a continuum of care not focused or limited to gender, age, organ system, a particular illness, or categorical population (e.g. developmentally disabled or those with cancer). Care should be provided for the whole person on an ongoing delivery of preventive, acute and chronic primary health services.

Contact Hours – the number of hours that an individual receives training in a specific setting.

Continuing Education – is a training activity or series of training activities offered to members of the current workforce who have already completed a training program in their profession. Continuing education sessions are offered to existing professionals and do not include students as primary participants.

Critical Access Hospital (CAH) – a facility certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) under section 1820 of the Social Security Act.

In general, a CAH must:

  • Be located in a rural area in a state that has a Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program,
  • Maintain no more than 25 inpatient beds and an average annual length of stay of 96 hours or less,
  • Furnish 24-hour emergency care services seven days a week, and
  • Be located either more than a 35-mile drive from the nearest hospital or CAH, or more than a 15-mile drive in areas with mountainous terrain or only secondary roads.”

For more information visit:  https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/topics/health-information-technology exit disclaimer

Cultural Competence – refers to the knowledge, interpersonal skills, behaviors, attitudes, and policies that allow health professions educators and practitioners to understand, appreciate, and respect cultural differences and similarities in cross-cultural situations.

Cultural competency acknowledges these variances in customs, values, beliefs, and communication patterns by incorporating these variables in the assessment and treatment of individuals and in the training of all health professionals.

Provide information and services in the language and educational and cultural context most appropriate for the individuals you serve.

Curriculum – the aggregate content of multiple learning activities offered by an organization in a specific topic area.

More commonly, curriculum describes the number and type of academic courses within a degree program. The term can also describe the number and type of learning activities for faculty and other non-degree-bearing training programs.

Didactic Training – the process of classroom instruction between a designated faculty and an individual or group of individuals.

Direct Financial Support Program – a type of grant that provides individuals, via grantee organizations, with a BHW-funded financial award to help pay costs associated with participation in a training program or training activity.

Disadvantaged Background – refers to a citizen, national, or a lawful permanent resident of the United States, the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico or the Marianas Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Federated State of Micronesia who is:

  • Environmentally Disadvantaged – an individual’s environment inhibited him/her from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to enroll in and graduate from a health professions school.

AND/OR

  • Economically Disadvantaged – an individual from a family with an annual income below a level based on low-income thresholds, according to family size established by the U.S. Census Bureau, adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index, and adjusted by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for use in all health professions programs. A family is a group of two or more individuals.

The Secretary updates these income levels in the Federal Register annually.

AND/OR

  • Educationally Disadvantaged – an individual who comes from a social, cultural, or educational environment that has demonstrably and directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a health professions education or training program.

Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) – a hospital with a disproportionately large share of low-income patients. It receives an augmented payment from the state under Medicaid or a payment adjustment from Medicare. Included in this definition: hospital-based outpatient clinics.

Visit Disproportionate Share Hospitals to learn about eligibility, registration, and the hospital registration review process.

Diversity – a multiplicity of human differences among groups of people or individuals.

To increase diversity is to enhance an individual/group/organization’s cultural competence—the ability to recognize, understand, and respect the differences that may exist between groups and individuals.

Increasing diversity in the health care workforce requires recognition of many other dimensions, e.g. sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, age, cultural background, socio-economic status, disability, and language.

End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Dialysis Centers – provides outpatient maintenance dialysis services, or home dialysis training and support services, or both.

Section 1881 of the Social Security Act (codified in 42 CFR 413.174), classifies them as either hospital-based or independent facilities.

Enhanced Course or Other Training Activity – an activity already in existence at the institution or organization and then modified or restructured as part of the federal award.

Enrollee – an individual actively enrolled or registered in a training program or training activity.

For the purposes of performance reporting, the training category of "enrollees" does not include graduates, program completers, fellows, or residents.

Ethnicity – the ethnic ancestry or origin of an individual or group of individuals.

For the purposes of performance reporting, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires you classify ethnicity as "Hispanic or Latino Origin" and "Non-Hispanic or Latino Origin." Individuals identifying as "Hispanic or Latino" are of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – a measure of the student’s expected family need. On the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, you’ll find the EFC. It is used to determine which applicants have the greatest financial need.

Experiential Training – the process of instruction between a designated faculty and an individual or group of individuals that includes a component of direct work experience.

For internships and practicum, experiential refers to clinical practice-based experiences.
For doctoral psychology or school psychology internships, experiential training refers to an accredited 12-month supervised experience in health care settings.    

Faculty – an individual or group of individuals who are deemed qualified by an accredited institution to provide educational or clinical instruction to others on a specific topic area.

Faculty Development Activity – generally a stand-alone single training activity provided to faculty for the purposes of additional training and/or faculty development.

Faculty development activities may include conferences, workshops, or grand rounds and are not necessarily offered at the grantee institution or organization.

Faculty Development Program – a series of curriculum-based training activities provided to faculty over a specific amount of time for the purposes of additional training. Structured faculty development programs can be degree bearing or certificate bearing and are not necessarily offered at the grantee institution or organization.

Faculty Instruction – courses, workshops, seminars, grand rounds or other training activities led by faculty for the purposes of providing training to other individuals (e.g., students, fellows, residents).

Faculty instruction does not refer to training activities undertaken by faculty for the purposes of additional training or faculty development (see Structured Faculty Development Program and/or Unstructured Faculty Development Activity).

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) – public and private non-profit health care organizations that meet certain criteria under the Medicare and Medicaid Programs.

FQHCs include:

  • Nonprofit entities that receive a grant, or funding from a grant, under section 330 of the Public Health Service Act to provide primary health services and other related services to a population that is medically underserved;
  • FQHC “Look-Alikes” – nonprofit entities certified by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as meeting the requirements for receiving a grant under section 330 of the Public Health Service Act but are not grantees; and
  • Outpatient health programs or facilities operated by a tribe or tribal organization under the Indian Self-Determination Act or by an urban Indian organization receiving funds under Title V of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

Visit Health Information Technology in Rural Areas exit disclaimer for more information.

Full-Time Student

Grant Programs

  • Full-Time – the number of days per week and/or months per year representing full-time effort at the applicant/recipient organization, as specified in organizational policy. For a student, it means one who is enrolled full time as defined by the organization. The organization’s policy must be applied consistently, regardless of the source of support.

Nurse Corps Scholarship Program

  • Full-Time – a student enrolled in a school for the number of credit hours or courses in any academic term considered by the school to be full-time.

    Any courses that are not required or are unrelated to the qualifying degree program, as well as repeat courses the Scholarship Program has already paid for, will not count toward the hours required for full-time status.

Graduate – an individual who has completed all the requirements of a degree/certificate-bearing training program at an educational institution. (See "Program completer" for individuals who complete all requirements of a non-degree-bearing training program or training activity).

Health Disparity Population – a population that has a significant disparity in the overall rate of disease incidence, prevalence, morbidity, mortality, or survival rates in the population, as compared to the health status of the general population.

It further includes populations for which there is a significant disparity in the quality, outcomes, cost, use of, access to, or satisfaction with health care services, as compared to the general population.

Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) – a federal designation used to identify areas, populations, and facilities which have a shortage of either primary care, dental, and/or mental health providers as measured by the ratio of available discipline-specific providers to:

  • the population of the area;
  • a specific population group; or
  • the number of those served by the facility.

All federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics shall be automatically designated as having such a shortage. Find more information on the HPSA application and scoring process.

Home Health Agency (HHA) – certified under section 1861(o) of the Social Security Act, and primarily provides skilled nursing care and other therapeutic services. Learn more from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Hospice Program – an agency or organization, certified under section 1861(dd)(2) of the Social Security Act, that provides 24-hour care and treatment services to terminally ill individuals and bereavement counseling for their immediate family members.

This care is provided in individuals’ homes, on an outpatient basis, and on a short-term inpatient basis, directly or under arrangements made by the agency or organization. Visit the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for more.

Hybrid Degree Program – a degree program that requires students to complete academic coursework both on campus and through distance learning.

Indian Health Service Health Center – a health care facility that is physically separated from a hospital, and which provides clinical treatment services on an outpatient basis to persons of Indian or Alaskan Native descent.

It can be operated directly by the Indian Health Service or by a tribe or tribal organization, contractor or grantee under the Indian Self-Determination Act, or by an urban Indian organization receiving funds under Title V of the Indian Heath Care Improvement Act.

Visit the Indian Health Service for more information.

Instructional Hours – the duration of a training activity or training program in clock hours.

Integrated Health Care Delivery System – provides, or aims to provide, a coordinated continuum of services to a defined population. The system is willing to be held clinically and fiscally accountable for the outcomes and the health status of the population served.

At a minimum, the proposed system must include collaborative practice across disciplines, mechanisms to improve care coordination, and system level initiatives, such as integrated electronic health records or care protocols, to improve the quality of care provided.

Integrated Care – a graduated spectrum of health services wherein a facility delivers primary care services and coordinates with behavioral health care, oral health care, and/or public health strategies and interventions.

Internship – a type of training activity that can either be: a) a component of a degree-bearing program or b) entry-level employment that provides an individual with relevant workforce experience.

Interprofessional Education – when two or more professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes. (WHO, 2010) 

The goals of interprofessional collaboration and education are to encourage increased knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of other disciplines, and to improve communication and collaboration among disciplines in future work settings.

Interprofessional Practice – the provision of care or services to an individual or group of individuals by workers from two or more professions.

Medically Underserved Area (MUA) – counties, a group of counties or civil divisions, or a group of urban census tracts in which residents have a shortage of personal health services.

The Index of Medical Underservice designates MUAs as a subset of a Medically Underserved Community. Visit Medically Underserved Areas and Populations for more.

Medically Underserved Community (MUC) – a geographic location or population of individuals eligible for designation by the federal government as a Health Professional Shortage Area, Medically Underserved Area, Medically Underserved Population, or Governor’s Certified Shortage Area for Rural Health Clinic purposes.

As an umbrella term, MUC also includes populations such as homeless individuals, migrant or seasonal workers, and residents of public housing. 

Medically Underserved Populations (MUPs) – federally-designated population groups having a shortage of personal health services, often defined as groups who face economic, cultural, or linguistic barriers to health care, and limited access to services.

The Index of Medical Underservice designates MUPs.

For additional information, visit Medically Underserved Areas and Populations. Locate shortage areas via HPSA's Data Warehouse.

Multipurpose/Hybrid Program – a type of grant designed to:

  • Provide individuals, via grantee organizations, with BHW-funded financial awards to help pay costs associated with health professions training; and
  • Enhance the scope, quality, and opportunities for health professions training programs or training activities.

Native Hawaiian Health Center – an entity

  • organized under the laws of the state of Hawaii;
  • provides or arranges for health care services through practitioners licensed by the state of Hawaii, where licensure requirements are applicable;
  • which is a public or nonprofit private entity; and
  • in which Native Hawaiian health practitioners significantly participate in the planning, management, monitoring, and evaluation of health services.

Read the Native Hawaiian Health Care Act of 1992, as amended.

Newly Developed Course or Other Training Activity – a specific type of training activity that was not previously in existence at the grantee institution or organization and was developed in its entirety as part of the grant project.

Nurse Managed Health Clinic/Center – an entity which is

  • a nurse-practice arrangement,
  • managed by advanced practice nurses,
  • provides primary care or wellness services to underserved or vulnerable populations and associated with a school, college, university or department of nursing, federally qualified health center, or independent nonprofit health or social services agency.

Online Degree Program – requires students to complete all academic coursework through distance learning.

Part-time Student

Grant Programs

  • Part-Time – the number of days per week and/or months per year representing part-time effort at the applicant/recipient organization, as specified in organizational policy.
  • For a student, it means a student who is enrolled part-time as defined by the organization. The organization’s policy must be applied consistently, regardless of the source of support.    

Nurse Corps Scholarship Program

  • Part-Time – a student who is enrolled on at least a half-time basis (i.e., the student is taking a sufficient number of credit hours to meet or exceed 50 percent of the credit hours required by the nursing school program to be a full-time student).

Partner/Consortium – an organization or group of organizations that provide(s) resources and/or support to grantees for the implementation of training programs and/or training activities.

Patient Encounter – a direct interaction between a designated caregiver and a patient for the purposes of health care.

Practice Transformation – a set of discrete changes in the way a practice operates.

The degree to which a practice is transformed depends on the practice's capacity to provide high quality health care at lower cost in a coordinated manner.

It includes the assessments of quality improvement methodologies currently employed by the practice, as well as assessments of patient population, clinical results, effective use of health information and related technology for clinical and operational improvement, team-based care delivery models (including roles and services provided by all team members), current business models and related financial and administrative practices and community resources.

Practicum – a type of experiential training activity. (See "Experiential training").

Preceptor – a nurse practitioner or nurse-midwife or other health professional responsible for specific aspects of the clinical learning experience.

The preceptor is responsible for the daily teaching and assignment of individuals to be cared for, supervision, and participation in the evaluation of the nurse practitioner or nurse-midwifery student.

The preceptor provides the student with an environment that permits observation, active participation, and management of primary health care.

Preceptorship – a clinical learning experience in which the student is assigned to a faculty member or with oversight by program faculty to a designated preceptor.

The preceptorship provides the student with practice experiences conducive to meeting the defined goals and objectives of the particular clinical course. Before and during this preceptorship, the program faculty visit and assess the clinical learning sites and prepare the clinical faculty/preceptors for teaching their students.

Primary Care – the provision of integrated, accessible health services by clinicians who are accountable for:

  • addressing a large majority of personal health care needs,
  • developing a sustained partnership with patients, and
  • practicing in the context of family and community.

Primary Care Setting – a setting with integrated, accessible health care services by clinicians who are accountable for:

  • addressing a large majority of personal health care needs,
  • developing a sustained partnership with patients, and
  • practicing in the context of family and community.

The following do not meet this criteria:

  • Emergency departments
  • Inpatient hospital settings
  • Ambulatory surgical centers
  • Independent diagnostic testing facilities
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Inpatient rehabilitation facilities
  • Hospices

Private Hospital – a private nonprofit entity which primarily provides the following care, by or under the supervision of physicians, to inpatients:

  • Diagnostic and therapeutic services for medical diagnosis, treatment, and care of injured, disabled, or sick persons, or 
  • Rehabilitation of injured, disabled, or sick persons.

Included in this definition: hospital-based outpatient clinics and hospitals contracted with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Profession & Discipline – identifies a general occupation (profession) and, where applicable, a type of specialty within that occupation (discipline).

Program Completer – an individual who has completed all requirements for a non-degree bearing training program or training activity. (See "Graduate" for individuals who complete all requirements of a degree-bearing training program).

Program Income – gross income earned by a recipient, sub-recipient, or a contractor under a grant—directly generated by the grant-supported activity or earned as a result of the award.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • income from fees for services performed;
  • charges for the use or rental of real property, equipment, or supplies acquired under the grant;
  • the sale of commodities or items fabricated under an award;
  • charges for research resources; and
  • license fees and royalties on patents and copyrights.

Project – all proposed activities, including educational programs, specified or described in an application as approved for funding.

Public Hospital – owned by a government (federal, state, or local), receives government funding, and primarily provides the following care, by or under the supervision of physicians, to inpatients:

  • diagnostic and therapeutic services for medical diagnosis, treatment, and care of injured, disabled, or sick persons; or 
  • rehabilitation of injured, disabled, or sick persons.

Included in this definition: hospital-based outpatient clinics.

Publication – written material that has been submitted to, and accepted by, a publishing authority as part of a collection of related work.

Quality Improvement – an organizational philosophy that seeks to meet client needs and expectations with the minimum of effort or rework or waste, by using a structured process that selectively identifies and improves all aspects of care and service on an ongoing basis.

Race – an individual's self-identified affiliation with one or more of the following origins:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native – a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment
  • Asian – a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam
  • Black or African American – a person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander – a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands
  • White – a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa

Rapid Cycle Quality Improvement (RCQI) – a simple yet powerful tool used to achieve improved outcomes by health care professionals and educators, asking three simple questions: 

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • How will we know if a change is an improvement?
  • What changes can we make that will result in improvement?

By allowing the application of several tests over time, the RCQI model can identify the most successful ideas: those that have the largest impact on the overall program outcomes. Learn more about the RCQI exit disclaimer.

Reservist – a member of the Armed Forces of the United States Reserve Component, including the Army National Guard of the United States, the Army Reserve, the Navy Reserve, the Marine Corps Reserve, the Air National Guard of the United States, the Air Force Reserve, or the Coast Guard Reserve.

Residency Program

Grant Programs

  • Residency – a training program that provides an individual or group of individuals (known as "residents") with advanced clinical training in a specialty area.

National Health Service Corps and Nurse Corps

  • Postgraduate Training (Residency) – advanced training of a graduate from a health professions education program (e.g., internships, residencies, chief residency, and fellowships). This experience may provide a financial award to help pay costs associated with advanced training in a specific content area.

Residential Background – the type(s) of location(s) where an individual has established residence.

Residential Nursing Home – an institution that primarily provides, on a regular basis, health related care and service to individuals who, because of their mental or physical condition, require care and service (above the level of room and board) that can be made available to them only through institutional facilities.

This category includes a “skilled nursing facility,” which is an institution (or distinct part of an institution), that provides skilled nursing care and related services to residents requiring medical, rehabilitation, or nursing care. It does not generally include the care and treatment of mental diseases; transitional facilities; assisted living; and group homes.

Rural – a geographical area located in a non-metropolitan county, or an area located in a metropolitan county designated by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy as being considered rural.

Note: To determine whether a geographical area is considered rural as determined by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, please use the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer.

Rural Health Clinic – an entity certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

A rural health clinic provides outpatient services to a non-urban area with an insufficient number of health care practitioners. Visit Health Information Technology in Rural Areas exit disclaimer for more information.

Social Determinants of Health – the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work, and age, as well as the systems put in place to deal with illness.

In turn, a wider set of forces—economics, social policies, and politics—shape these circumstances.

State – any of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, America Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau.

State or Local Public Health or Human Services Department – the state, county, parish, or district entity that is responsible for providing health care services which include health promotion, disease prevention, and intervention services in clinics or other health care facilities funded and operated by the Public Health or Human Services Department.

Structured Training Program – a series of curriculum-based training activities given to an individual or group of individuals over a specific period of time.

Team-Based Care – delivered by intentionally created work groups of at least three types of health providers, of which themselves and others recognize as having a collective identity and shared responsibility for a patient, group of patients, their families, and/or communities to improve health outcomes.

Telehealth – the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration.

Technologies include videoconferencing, the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications.        

Trainee – an individual who participates in a training program or training activity.

Urgent Care Center – provides acute episodic care on a walk-in basis to assist patients with an illness or injury that does not appear to be limb- or life–threatening, and is either beyond the scope, or availability of, the typical primary care practice.

Underrepresented Minority (URM) – an individual from a racial and/or ethnic group considered inadequately represented in a specific profession relative to the representation of that racial and/or ethnic group in the general population.

Note: For the purposes of the health professions, we consider individuals from the following racial and ethnic backgrounds underrepresented:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Black or African American
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  • Hispanic (all races).

Underserved Area – geographic location or population of individuals eligible for designation by the federal government as a Health Professional Shortage Area, Medically Underserved Area, Medically Underserved Population, or Governor’s Certified Shortage Area for Rural Health Clinic purposes.

As an umbrella term, Medically Underserved Community (MUC) also includes populations such as homeless individuals, migrant or seasonal workers, and residents of public housing. Learn more about HRSA shortage designations.

Unstructured Faculty Development Activity – generally a stand-alone single training activity provided to faculty for the purpose(s) of additional training and/or faculty development.

These activities may include conferences, workshops, or grand rounds and are not necessarily offered at or by the grantee institution or organization.

Unstructured Training Activity – generally a stand-alone single training activity that is not part of curriculum.

Veteran – any person who served in one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.

The seven uniform services include: The United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Public Health Service, and National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officers Corps.

Veteran Prior Service – a person who served in an active uniformed service and was discharged or released from that service under conditions other than dishonorable prior to reaching official retirement status.

Veteran Retired – a person who served in an active uniformed service; was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable; and is entitled, under statute, to retired, retirement, or retainer pay.

Vulnerable Populations – groups of individuals at higher risk for health disparities by virtue of their race or ethnicity, socio-economic status, geography, gender, age, disability status, or other risk factors associated with sex and gender.

Date Last Reviewed:  October 2017