NC AHEC (North Carolina Area Health Education Centers) is currently accepting applications for the new NC AHEC Scholars Program. With an emphasis on individuals from underrepresented minorities, disadvantaged/rural backgrounds, and first-generation college students, the NC AHEC Scholars Program recruits, trains, and supports a diverse group of students from across the state, creating a multidisciplinary team of health professionals committed to community service and the transformation of health care in North Carolina.
The NC AHEC Scholars Program is one of 49 programs in the country supported, in part, by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
“Around 180 North Carolina scholars will become a part of a national cohort of approximately 3,900 scholars each year,” estimated Jacqueline R. Wynn, MPH, Director of Health Careers and Workforce Diversity and Associate Director of the NC AHEC Program. As immediate past president of the National AHEC Organization (NAO) and as the leader of NC AHEC’s statewide Health Careers and Workforce Diversity Liaisons, Wynn has been instrumental in planning and securing funding for the AHEC Scholars Program in North Carolina and across the country.
“The program is an extension of AHEC’s health careers pipeline and diversity programs, which help ensure that health care professionals reflect the diverse range of the communities they serve.”
Health professions students interested in supplementing their education by gaining additional knowledge and experience in rural and/or underserved urban settings may apply for the program, which will run September through May each year, beginning in 2018-19. Co-created and co-taught by faculty across the state, with both statewide and regional components, the two-year program includes 40 hours of community-based, experiential, or clinical training and 40 hours of didactic education in six core topic areas: interprofessional education, behavioral health integration, social determinants of health, cultural competency, practice transformation, and current and emerging health issues.
“NC AHEC Scholars will stand out among their peers in an increasingly competitive environment,”
added Wynn. “They will have the chance to meet leaders in health care and make connections with other participants, creating an invaluable network for their future careers in health care.” NC AHEC Scholars may also receive a subsidy, subject to academic or institutional approval.
Applicants should have a current interest in improving health care in rural or underserved communities and be currently enrolled in a health professions degree or certificate program in North Carolina. Medical, dental, pharmacy, nursing, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy, public/population health, and other health professions students are eligible to apply.
“The goal of the program is to create an interprofessional cadre of health professionals committed to service in rural and underserved North Carolina communities and to transforming health care in North Carolina,” Wynn iterated. “Scholars will develop knowledge, skills, and abilities that will better enable them to practice in a transformative health care system that will be crucial to improving our state of health.”
Visit ncahec.net for more information on the NC AHEC Scholars Program and to view each NC AHEC’s application guidelines.