Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

VA Center for Development and Civic Engagement

Quick Links
Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge

Veterans Health Administration Health Care Talent Academy

On this page:
Overview, Design & Goal  |  Requirements  |  Participants  |  Session Dates & Locations  |  How to Apply

Program Overview, Design, and Goal


The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Health Care Talent Academy (HCTA) will be a dynamic and innovative learning and development program for undergraduate students interested in health care careers. Created under the authority of the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020, this VHA initiative is being designed to:

  • Increase the awareness, knowledge, and empathy of future health professionals toward the health conditions common to Veterans.
  • Increase the diversity of the recruitment pool of future physicians and health care workers.
  • Expand clinical observation opportunities for all students by encouraging students of all backgrounds to consider a career in the health professions.

HCTA is currently a pilot program. Identified facilities, academic partner, session length and other program elements may be adjusted following the pilot evaluation.

It is important to note that the VHA Health Care Talent Academy is not an internship and may not meet compliance for academic credits. Participating Academic Partners will make these determinations throughout the design period. Students also should note that participation in the VHA Health Care Talent Academy is voluntary and does not guarantee employment.

Questions or comments can be directed to


HCTA operates within the Veterans Health Administration. Students who participate in the program will gain valuable skills, professional knowledge and industry insights. In addition to specific shadowing/observation experiences and mentoring at a local VA medical center, HCTA participants will engage as a cohort in group learning activities and projects.


The overarching goal is to encourage HCTA students to consider a rewarding career in public service on behalf of Veterans by working in VA. We believe that this program will enrich the lives of students, allow our dedicated VHA employees to showcase their talents and skills, promote VA as an “Employer of Choice,“ and demonstrate the nation’s ongoing commitment to providing world-class health care and services for its Veterans.

Program Requirements
  • 1-3 Program Sessions
  • Duration: 4 months
  • 5-15 student participants
  • 20-40 observational hours

Additional learning opportunities to include:

  • Veteran and military culture
  • Applying for government employment
  • Building a Culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace
  • Whole Health
  • Introduction to Telehealth
  • Empathy & Resilience
  • Servant Leadership
Program Participants

Program participants are referred from their respective accredited college/university/institution. The goal is to recruit a diverse pool of talented candidates from across demographic groups and health care career focus areas. Priority will be given to the following:

  • Students who, at the time of the completion of their secondary education, resided in a health professional shortage area
  • First generation college students
  • Students referred by minority-serving institutions
  • Veterans
  • Students who indicate an intention to specialize in a health professional shortage area

Candidates will be required to complete an online application, obtain two professional references, go through an interview process, and sign a HCTA agreement prior to selection.

Proposed Session Dates and Locations

Proposed Dates

  • Session 1: February 23 – June 16, 2022
  • Session 2: August 17- December 15, 2022
  • Session 3: February 8- May 25, 2023

Proposed Locations

Host Facility Requirements*

  • Identify Executive Sponsor
  • Appoint Local Program Coordinator
  • Identify clinical shadowing/observation areas
  • Identify supplemental faculty/mentors
  • Complete signed agreement with Academic Partner

*These areas represent the minimum requirements for host facility consideration. National program officials will provide details to identified pilot locations.

How to apply

The final selection of medical centers will determine the participating academic institutions. Those official Academic Partners** will be responsible for direct marketing to interested students. It is anticipated that the application period will open in September 2021, with a link to program details and the online application.

**Note: Only students identified by the Academic Partners will be eligible to apply.