University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Office of Primary Care and Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program


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?

AHEC Centers MapThe 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 November 03 2014 04:04 PM