The Nebraska Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program recently received notice for continuation of funds for the fourth year of a five-year grant period from the Health Resources Services Administration.
The funding allows the Nebraska AHEC, which is based in the UNMC Department of Family Medicine, to continue working with rural and underserved communities across the state through five AHEC centers that collectively serve all 93 counties.
The five regional AHEC centers help to bridge academic institutions and communities to improve the health of all Nebraskans. The centers include the:
- Nebraska Panhandle AHEC located in Scottsbluff, Neb.;
- Northern Nebraska AHEC located in Norfolk, Neb.;
- Central Nebraska AHEC hosted at the University of Nebraska at Kearney;
- Southeast Nebraska AHEC hosted at Public Health Solutions District Health Department in Crete, Neb.; and
- Omaha AHEC, hosted at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
The funding renewal comes at just the right time when the Nebraska AHEC is expanding its AHEC Scholars Program to health professions students at UNMC, said Mike Sitorius, MD, director of the Nebraska AHEC Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
The two-year AHEC Scholars Program is aimed at health professions students interested in serving in rural or urban underserved areas and focuses on interprofessional education and community-based workshops.
"Ensuring there are future health professionals prepared to serve in rural and underserved areas of Nebraska is key in maintaining healthy communities," Dr. Sitorius said.
"Nebraska AHEC Scholars gain exposure to communities across Nebraska providing them real-world experience. This program aligns well with UNMC's continued efforts in educating and retaining a well-trained health care workforce," he said.
Students at UNMC with at least two years left in their health profession program are eligible to apply. Applications are being accepted through Sept. 14.
"Nebraska AHEC Scholars gain access to community-based workshops, build a statewide network of peers from multiple disciplines, connect with potential employers and community leaders, and gain national and state resources on the latest health topics," said Lydia Sand, program coordinator.
The program began in 2018 in collaboration with community colleges across the state, Sand said. Through it, participants were able to shadow health professionals at Midtown Health Center, a federally qualified health center in Norfolk, Nebraska, where they learned how the facility meets the needs of the community by providing culturally competent care.
Participants also were hosted at CHI St. Francis in Grand Island, Nebraska, where they attended a workshop focused on effective team structure and the vital role it plays in patient-centered care.
The Scholars Program is offered at no cost to the student and a stipend is provided. Learn more about the program or apply today.