The purpose of the John Payne Fellowship is to honor the memory of John Payne and the contributions he made for nearly twenty-five years to the North Carolina AHEC Program. The Fellowship will enable non-medical faculty to further their professional interests and explore innovative educational efforts. As such, the Fellowship not only memorializes John’s leadership of AHEC, but also his lifelong commitment to community-based education, his love of travel, and his interest in exploring new ideas.


The Fellowship is awarded annually to one or more faculty members of the AHECs in North Carolina. It provides support to allow the Payne Fellow to study some aspect of health professions education relevant to the AHEC Program. Projects emphasize lifelong learning, involving experiences and activities which explore new models, new ways of thinking, and innovation. Fellows are expected to share what they learn with AHEC colleagues through discussion, publication, or presentation. The length of the fellowship may vary, depending on the project, and will be in the United States. The Fellowship funding helps to cover travel and living expenses for the individual during the Fellowship. The individual’s AHEC is expected to cover salary and other compensation costs during the Fellowship.


The Payne Fellowship has, as its primary focus, full-time AHEC faculty in allied health, dentistry, mental health, nursing, ORPCE, health careers, library services, pharmacy, CME, quality improvement, and public health disciplines. Other AHEC faculty who fulfill a significant educational role will also be eligible. Physician faculty have the Mayer Traveling Fellowship for similar educational travel. Applicants must have been employed at an AHEC for three years or longer. The applicant must state in writing, in no more than three (3) pages, how he/she envisions the Fellowship to be professionally useful and related to the mission and goals of the North Carolina AHEC Program. The applicant must be willing to write a brief report within two (2) months of the completion of the visit and submit the report to the AHEC Program Director.


Interested faculty should submit his/her written statement and curriculum vitae to his/her AHEC Director. The AHEC Director will review applications and transmit them to the AHEC Program Director along with a letter of support. Although there are no restrictions on the number of applications that can be forwarded by any AHEC Director, it is requested that each AHEC try to limit itself to one nominee. Each AHEC Director is asked to submit the names of nominees, together with their statement, curriculum vitae, and supporting documents, to the NC AHEC Program Director by a date to be determined each year.


Fellows will be chosen from the nominees by a committee appointed by the NC AHEC Program Director. The committee will evaluate applications based on the following criteria: a professional development opportunity, new or innovative educational activity, leadership development, benefits to the NC AHEC Program and strength of the letter of support from their AHEC Director. Selected Fellows are expected to share their experience with a presentation at a future Statewide AHEC Conference.


Once selected, the Fellow will discuss preliminary plans with his/her AHEC Director. The stipend for the John Payne Fellowship will be $2,500 per fellow and can be used for airfare, lodging, meals, and associated costs.


La-Lisa Hewett-Robinson, MA, and Robert Wilson, MA – Attend a national training symposium and work with expert consultants on strategic plans for effectively implementing interprofessional education and practice in behavioral health settings in NC.
Laura B. Leach, MLS – Support continuing education through the presentation of “Innovation and Lean Process Improvement Demystified” at the 2015 NC AHEC Statewide Meeting in Greensboro, NC.

Ruby Brown-Herring, BSW, MEd – Become a certified instructor to conduct mental first aid certification trainings to a wide variety of audiences.
R. Evan Richardson, MSN, CNM – Learn more about practice innovation through human-centered design to enhance knowledge and skills in this area.

Kelly Blasky, MPH – Attend the national meeting for Mental Health First Aid in order to gain the skills to offer a training in this area to the Charlotte AHEC region and statewide.
Toni P. Chatman, MHA – Attend the Health Literacy Institute in Maine to add to her expertise in this area for the benefit of Wake AHEC and the entire NC AHEC system.

Susan M. Miller, PharmD, MBA, BCPS, FCCP – Develop an interprofessional education experience for students and residents in a variety of fields at the Family Medicine Center at Southern Regional AHEC.
Michael Willet, MS – Develop new products and applications which can be used on mobile devices in support of the various missions of AHEC.

Karen Koch, MSW, LCSW – Address the shortage of clinical supervisors in the eastern part of the state, and develop new models for training by attending both the Interdisciplinary Conference on Clinical Supervision at Adelphi University in June, followed by the creation of a number of training programs at Eastern AHEC to address this issue.
Mary Lynn Barrett, LCSW, MPH – Attend training in the Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM) and interview the founders of TRM. Participate in other educational experiences with the goal of becoming an expert in the use of TRM in the Family Medicine Residency Program at Mountain AHEC.

Diana K. Bond, PhD (c), RN, BC, and Sandie M. Coleman, MAEd – Study the CME process at two sites in the Houston area that have been particularly successful in developing exemplary CME systems in the new environment for professional development for physicians. Apply lessons learned to their work at Wake AHEC and inform AHEC efforts statewide to a more quality-focused CME that takes better advantage of technology and other new systems of educational delivery.
Dawn Grant, MPH – Attend the World Conference on Quality and Improvement in St. Louis in May 2010. Utilize the knowledge gained from the conference to incorporate quality issues and quality measurements in a broad array of educational activities conducted by Eastern AHEC and by AHEC statewide.

Monique Mackey, MLS – Study the issue of physician re-entry into the workforce after a period of being out of active practice. Visit the state of Oregon to study the way in which that state has organized a formal process for providing a clinical skills refresher program and for approving physicians for re-entry into active practice.
Joann Spaleta, MBA, MHA, MT, (ASCP) – Additional advanced level leadership education as part of the American College of Health Care Executives. She has been particularly active in organizing and offering management and leadership training at both the Charlotte AHEC and throughout the state.

Isis Hanna, BA – Attend the IDI Certificate Course in Portland, Oregon to gain additional tools to use in building successful cultural diversity programs at Charlotte AHEC and for the entire NC AHEC system.
Peter Koval, PharmD – Study robotic avatars and voice recognition software applications at Keele University in the United Kingdom and apply this new knowledge toward a greater use of technology into the pharmacy curriculum at Greensboro AHEC and across the state.

Elaine B. Owens, MPA – Visit the Connecticut AHEC “Youth Health Service Corps” program to learn more about the structure, specific training modules,and recognition offered to students. A similar program might then be applied to NC using this model.
Tara D. Owens and Sherry Stafford, MEd – Attend the E-Learn 2007 conference in Quebec City, Canada to learn about the research, development, diverse learning experiences, implementation, and technology needed to improve e-learning at AHEC.

Mollie Scott, PharmD, BCPS, CPP – Development of a pharmacotherapy curriculum for geriatric fellows by drawing upon the experience of specialists across the country.
Amy Vega, MBA, MHA, RHEd – Research into the multiple connections between public health and animal care in North Carolina.

Haile, Libby, MEd, MY, SH, CLS – Investigation of Culture Clues™, an online informational resource on ethnic and racial groups served by the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, for the purpose of exploring potential for developing similar resources on major ethnic populations in North Carolina
Keating, Lyn, MS – Development of the capability to teach bioethics curricula in continuing education courses offered by Coastal AHEC and elsewhere in North Carolina

Pacelli, Sheryl, MEd – A look at the models for preparing for the psychological aspects of bioterrorism and other disasters.
Ramey, Deborah, MAEd – Exploration of tracking and evaluation models for health careers workforce programs.

Blicher, Karen, LCSW, CHT – Integration of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction into the programs and services of Mountain AHEC, including the Division of Family Medicine, OB-GYN and Regional Services.
Zeliff, Karen, MLS – Development of an instructional packet, protocols and templates for CE staff to equip them with the concepts and tools needed to work with traditional classroom-based partners to help provide quality online continuing education.

Hill, Jean, EdD – Review the recruitment and retention strategies implemented by four magnet hospitals and share strategies that could be replicated in facilities seeking to enhance the nurse work environment.
Paul-Aviles, Fern, Ms, RPH – Visit sites and meet with pharmacy faculty members at sites in Oklahoma and Virginia to observe how the universities support the development of progressive community pharmacy practices.

Hayes, Patricia, MSN, RN, CNAA – Explore techniques in health behavioral management in Oregon which have proven to be effective and which could be taught to health providers in North Carolina.
Kennedy, Michael, MGA, CHES – Visit the Andrus Center at the University of Southern California, and increase NC AHEC’s ability to create appropriate training programs in the field of geriatrics using effective teaching methods.

Harrison, Nancy, MSN, RN – Meet with nurses in Colorado and work collaboratively with the Colorado AHEC to look at innovative models of nursing practice.
Pulley, Anita, MSN, RN – Study how the Massachusetts AHEC Program functions as an integral partner in the healthy communities movement within their state and apply the strategies to the NC AHEC Program.

Hambrick, Russet, MLS – Two-week fellowship at Texas A&M University resulting in certification in distance education programming, and use the ideas gained to build stronger rural networks through telecommunication.
Leonard, Diane, RN, EdD – Visit a model site involved in the healthy communities movement to determine the collaboration strategies they use, to assess the educational infrastructure and to determine how NC AHECS may be more involved in such efforts.