After John Schantzen, D.O.’14, and his wife, Amy Schantzen, D.O.’14, completed the Via Christi family medicine residency in Wichita, KS, they joined the medical staff of Kossuth Regional Health Center in Algona, IA, a rural part of the state. There, John sees outpatients and inpatients, covers the emergency room, provides obstetrical care and performs C-sections.
“I think the most rewarding thing about my career is being able to take care of a majority of my patients’ health care needs,” he says. “Practicing this way helps me take great care of my patients because I know their medical history, and I do not need to worry about things being forgotten in hand-off. I also find it very rewarding to take care of three generations of patients in the same family.”
Also rewarding was the loan repayment he received through Iowa’s Health Professional Recruitment Program (HPRP). This innovative program for graduates of DMU’s osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine and surgery, physical therapy and physician assistant programs reduces recipients’ loans by up to $100,000 when they practice in an underserved Iowa community for four years.
“The HPRP program has been a great resource for me because it will allow me to pay off my loans a lot quicker,” John says. “It has also been nice that the program makes the payment directly to my loan company. It has been wonderful essentially getting rewarded by the HPRP for doing my dream job.”
HPRP repays loans through a combination of state funding and money from communities in need of health care providers. If you are willing to provide four years of full-time service in an eligible rural community, the Iowa College Student Aid Commission may award up to $50,000 toward your student loans, which must be matched by your employer, hospital or community. State funds will pay 25 percent of the benefit after each year of employment for four years. After fulfilling the four-year commitment, you are welcome to continue practicing in the community or seek opportunities elsewhere.
Trevor Rohwer, a 2017 graduate of DMU’s doctor of physical therapy program, says the HPRP facilitated his return to northwest Iowa, where he grew up. A physical therapist at Lakes Regional Healthcare in Spirit Lake, he enjoys helping “patients of all ages and pathologies improve their health and well-being so they can return to what they want to do.”
“The loan repayment program has been beneficial for me as it has lessened the stress of student loans after graduation, and it will allow me to pay off my loans much sooner than I would have been able to otherwise,” he says.
Funding for the program is limited, and preference is giving to Iowa residents and communities of 10,000 or less that are located in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or a Governor’s Designated Rural Health Clinic county. The deadline for application and community verification is March 31, 2019. Recipients will be notified at the end of April. Download the HPRP Fact Sheet for more information, and apply here.