To be a healthy state, Indiana needs healthy communities. And it needs health care professionals located in all areas of the state, from the inner cities to the rural neighborhoods, prepared to help educate citizens about health problems and issues and to provide quality service. Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) play an important role in providing communities with health care professionals prepared to meet their needs.
There are over 180 AHECs in 46 states. A statewide AHEC is a network of regional “centers” that is coordinated through a central "program" office. Each regional center is locally grown and is designed to assess and meet the needs of citizens in that specific region. West Central Indiana AHEC originated in 2002, was the first operational AHEC in the state and is now of one of five regional centers affiliated with the Indiana AHEC Program Office.
Recruit minority and economically / educationally disadvantaged students into the health professions careers. Minority health professionals are substantially more likely to serve vulnerable populations than their majority counterparts. Likewise, those who grow up in rural and underserved areas are more likely to go to a similar environment to practice after completion of their training.
Assist in the ambulatory training of health professional students. Health professionals who train in underserved communities are much more likely to serve those populations when their training is completed. That is where job shadowing and clinical rotations come into play.
Provide continuing education, especially for providers to the underserved. Continuing education programs improve the quality of care and enhance professional satisfaction, both of which contribute to provider retention.
Respond to emerging health issues by distributing information necessary for practitioners and facilities to address critical health issues and threats in a timely way.
In accomplishing these functions, AHEC can improve the quality of health care, especially primary and preventative care.
Contact us by email or phone: 812-237-4365.