Legislation introduced to support homegrown healthcare professionals

Vice Speaker Tina Barnes

Vice Speaker Tina Rose Muña Barnes, joined by Senators Mary Torres, Amanda Shelton, Joe San Agustin, Clynton Ridgell, Jose “Pedo” Terlaje, Frank Blas Jr., James Moylan, and Tony Ada, introduced

Bill 158-36, also known as the Biråda Act, designates the Guam Community College to serve as the administrative officer of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP) for Guam residents.

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It further creates a scholarship office within GCC to facilitate the program. Participation in the WICHE PSEP would allow students to pursue careers in 10 healthcare fields served by WICHE partner programs while receiving substantial financial support for tuition costs over the duration of a health degree.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the need to address shortfalls in our island’s healthcare system. The fact is we need to ensure we have enough healthcare professionals to care for our people in the near-term and in the future. The Biråda Act was introduced to help offset the enormous cost of professional healthcare education while incentivizing students to come back home and serve the community. This is a long-term solution to a long-standing problem, and I am excited to open this opportunity for our students.” said Vice Speaker Muña Barnes.

Through PSEP, a student can save $32,000 to $130,000 on tuition over the duration of a health degree study. The Biråda Act will inspire and compel graduates to return home to practice and bolster the local professional healthcare workforce.

(Vice Speaker Tina Rose Muña Barnes Release)