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As part of the $1.7 trillion government spending bill that President Biden signed late last year, Congress authorized a pilot loan repayment program for people who work in infectious diseases and health emergency response — an incentive that advocates say could attract more people to the lagging fields.

But lawmakers have so far not funded the program, and it’s not clear that Congress, with the newly Republican-controlled House, will allocate resources to actually get the program running.


“We know we’ll have more of these emergencies going forward, and we need to do something to build this workforce,” said Amanda Jezek, senior vice president of public policy and government relations at the Infectious Diseases Society of America, referring to the series of public health crises the United States has faced, from Covid-19 to mpox and beyond.

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