American Heart Month - February 2004
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in our country. To encourage Americans to learn more about fighting this dreadful disease, February is recognized as American Heart Month. While Americans of all backgrounds can develop cardiovascular disease, some segments of the population are affected more than others. For example, did you know more women than men die from heart disease each year? Or, that African Americans face higher rates of cardiovascular disease than the general population? In recent years, medical science has developed new treatment options for heart disease and a greater understanding of the importance of good nutrition and fitness in heart health. As American Heart Month is observed around the country, it is important for all Americans to discuss their heart disease risk factors with a medical professional. In recognition of the ongoing efforts of health professionals and medical researchers working to prevent and treat heart disease, is highlighting some of the benefit programs available to health professionals.

Clinical Research Loan Payment Program for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds
The program supports the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Intramural Research Program in recruiting and retaining health professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds to conduct clinical research at the NIH by providing for the repayment of educational loans for participants with substantial amounts of educational debt relative to income. Participants agree by written contract to engage in clinical research as employees of the NIH for a minimum two-year period. For more information visit

Intramural Research Training Award
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) IRTA Traineeships are established for the principal benefit of the participants and to provide opportunities for developmental training and practical research experience in a variety of disciplines related to biomedical research, medical library research and related fields. For more information visit

Minority Access to Research Centers
MARC offers special research training support to 4-year colleges, universities, and health professional schools with substantial enrollments of minorities such as African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans (including Alaskan Natives), and natives of the U.S. Pacific Islands. For more information visit

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program
The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program recruits health professionals to work in selected health professional shortage areas and, in return, helps repay their qualifying educational loans. In addition to loan repayment, these clinicians receive a competitive salary, some tax relief benefits, and a chance to have a significant impact on a community. For more information visit