Office of Primary Care and Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program
AHEC addresses issues related to access and quality through:
- Continuing education and quality improvement initiatives with primary care providers.
- Training providers in best practices and practice guidelines.
- Developing opportunities for interdisciplinary training.
- Training individuals to promote health education.
- Facilitating access to mental health practitioners.
As Partners in the Vermont Blueprint for Health, AHEC initiatives include:
- Annual Geriatrics Conference
- Support clinical education for Vermont Health Professions students.
- Assist primary care practitioners with education that encourages healthy eating and weight loss
- Encourage and support Vermonters to enter needed health care professional education programs.
Training Students in Rural and Underserved Areas
To help make student experiences in rural areas more accessible and affirming, AHEC:
- Provides housing assistance to students with clinical rotations 25 miles or more from campus.
- Creates experiences in communities above and beyond the student clinical experience, such as conducting community health screenings, interdisciplinary opportunities, community presentations and encouraging health careers in middle and high school students.
The Vermont Educational Loan Repayment for Health Care Professionals
Learn more in our Educational Loan Repayment Section.
Area Health Education Centers Program (AHEC)
What is an AHEC?
In 1970 a report from the Carnegie Commission recommended the development of a nationwide system of Area Health Education Centers. Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) were begun by the federal government in the late 1970s as programs designed to address health staffing distribution and the quality of primary care through community-based initiatives. The program is designed to encourage universities and educators to look beyond institutions to partnerships that promote solutions which meet community health needs
How are AHECs Structured?
AHECs are administered by a University-based School of Medicine, which houses the Program Office, and subcontracts with area centers that are remote from the University and designed to cover a geographic part of the state. Each Center must be a 501C3 entity, governed by a Board of Directors that represents community leaders and health care practitioners from the region in which the Center is located. A program office may receive a maximum of 12 years of federal seed funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); the Centers are eligible for six years of funding. The Program Office administers a multidisciplinary academic consortium that includes one or more nursing schools and schools of other health professions, such as social work and physical therapy.
How are AHECs Funded?
The federal government awards seed money through competitive grants to establish AHEC programs and centers. The intent is to create an infrastructure and to build a case for state support when the activities and accomplishments are of value to the communities served by the AHEC.
What is the Role of the Community in AHEC?
Communities are the heart of AHEC. The Centers are governed by a community Board of Directors who live in and represent the region served. These community boards identify the needs and priorities for health care professionals in their region within the scope of the broad AHEC objectives. The AHEC employees live in the Center’s region and are employees of the Board of Directors rather than of the academic partner. A minimum of 75% of all federal dollars awarded must be subcontracted directly to the Centers, with the remaining financial oversight used to develop institutional support and linkages needed by the committee.
Where is AHEC in Vermont?
The University of Vermont's College of Medicine AHEC Program was established in 1996 and now includes the Program Office at the University of Vermont in Burlington; Northeastern Vermont AHEC started in 1997 and located in St. Johnsbury, VT; Champlain Valley AHEC, launched in 1998 in St. Albans; and Southern Vermont AHEC, launched in 1999, located in Springfield, VT.
Last modified August 13 2012 09:19 AM