Scholarship Connections
The Next Step —
Post-Graduate Clinical Training

Congratulations! You’ve reached your final year of academic training. The Indian Health Service (IHS) congratulates you and looks forward to adding your talent and professional skills in support of the IHS mission: To raise the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level.

Before beginning your health career, many of you will enter into a required or optional post-graduate clinical training program in pursuit of board certification or licensure in your chosen health profession. As you prepare to choose your career path, you will need to familiarize yourself with IHS Scholarship Program policies regarding the deferment of your service commitment.

Required Documentation

Mailing Address

Send all required documentation to:

Indian Health Service
Scholarship Program
Attn: Program Analyst
801 Thompson Ave., TMP Suite 450A
Rockville, MD 20852



Reference the IHS Scholarship Program Recipient Handbook [PDF - 4000KB] and the Recipient Orientation PowerPoint Presentation (PPT) Series for detailed information on your transition to a post-graduate training program and then on to an Indian health professional career.

Graduation Documentation

The following documents are required prior to or immediately after graduation:

  • Notice of Impending Graduation (IHS-856-13) [PDF - 94KB]: Due at the beginning of your final academic term.
  • A copy of your diploma: Due immediately after graduation.
  • Final official transcript: Due immediately after graduation. The transcript must document the degree awarded.
Pre-Training Documentation

The following forms are due to your Program Analyst during your final year of academic training in preparation for and selecting your post-graduate clinical training program:

  • Request for Approval of Deferment (IHS-856-11) [PDF - 94KB]: This form must be submitted at the beginning of your final year of school (August/September for spring graduates) indicating the programs that you are considering after graduation.
  • Notification of Deferment Program (IHS-856-14) [PDF - 90KB]: This form must be submitted no later than the first day of your final month of school notifying the program of which IHS-approved post-graduate clinical training program you will attend.
Post-Graduate Training Options

The following list outlines the health professions approved for deferment and the eligible post-graduate clinical training programs associated with those health professions. IHS must approve all post-graduate training; the program officially recognizes only those training programs approved by the appropriate American specialty board. If you enter a program that was not approved by the IHS Scholarship Program, you will be in breach of your contract and placed in default.

Required Training Programs


Residency/Post-Graduate Clinical
Training Program

Total Years of Approved Deferment


Emergency Medicine
Family Practice
General Internal Medicine
Family Practice/Psychiatry

3 years
3 years
3 years
3 years

General Psychiatry
Internal Medicine/Family Practice
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics
Internal Medicine/Psychiatry

4 years
4 years
4 years
4 years
4 years

General Surgery

5 years
5 years

Social Work

Practice under the supervision of a licensed clinical social worker

3 years

Clinical Psychology

Practice under the supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist

2 years


ADA-approved internship; if not included as part of your degree program

1 year

Optional Training Programs


Residency/Post-Graduate Clinical
Training Program

Total Years of Approved Deferment


Advanced Education Program in General Dentistry (AEGD) or General Practice Residency (GPR) accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)

1 year


Training programs emphasizing clinical out-patient (OPD), in-patient (IPD) and/or emergency (ERD) nursing skills

1 year


Ocular Disease/Pathology
Primary Care Optometry

1 year
1 year


American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) or American Pharmacists Association (APhA) accredited Post-Graduate Year One (PGY1) Pharmacy Residency Program (Hospital, Community or Managed Care only)

1 year

In-Training Requirements

You must comply with the following requirements to continue your participation in your post-graduate clinical training program:

  • Remain in good standing with your residency or training program.
  • Annual Status Report (IHS-856-16) [PDF - 90KB] form and letter of good standing from your program director or coordinator to your Program Analyst by May 31.
  • Make no changes in the period, place of or type of training without prior approval from the IHS Scholarship Program Branch Chief.

If you fail to comply with these requirements, IHS will find you in breach of contract and place you in default.

Transitioning to an Indian Health Career
In addition to your academic and recipient reporting responsibilities, the IHS Scholarship Program recommends that you begin researching career opportunities at the beginning of your final year of post-graduate clinical training (July/August for spring/summer graduates or February/March for fall/winter graduates). The Health Professions Scholarship Graduate Newsletter and Recipient Handbook [PDF - 4000KB] will provide you with the information you need to prepare for and find an Indian health career that meets the requirements of your service commitment.
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