This is a fabulous and very necessary program making it possible for every state (as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam) to sponsor J-1 physicians for waivers of the two-year home residence requirement. Advanced by the now retired U.S. Senator Kent Conrad, and first passed by Congress in October 1994, the Conrad program has been essential in reducing the severe physician shortages in the U.S. medical system.
Under the Conrad program, every state may request a waiver for a clinician who agrees to practice full-time for three years in an underserved area as designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They each have their own specific requirements, which must be met before the state will support the physician's waiver application. Each state may request up to 30 waivers per fiscal year, ten of which may be flex slots (for physicians not working in underserved areas, but who are serving populations coming from underserved areas).