Together with AHECs across the country and the national Health Resources and Services Administration, a new interdisciplinary educational program is being launched. The AHEC Scholars program focuses on a diverse culturally competent healthcare workforce that specializes in serving rural areas.
Healthcare students apply to become AHEC Scholars and will receive recognition upon successful completion of the two-year program. AHEC Scholars are competitively selected from applicants to ensure representation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds or racial/ethnic groups that are considered inadequately represented in specific health professions. The AHEC Scholars will comprise a collaborative cohort of up to 25 students from a variety of health profession degree or certificate programs.
During both years, students participate in supplemental instruction, that augments their respective degree program requirements in their specialty fields. Studying together with different health professions students offers cross-disciplinary collaboration and innovation. Instruction consists of on-line and community/experiential learning.
AHEC Scholars complete a service learning community project and participate in a Journal Club, including poster presentations at the annual Northwest Rural Health Conference. Instruction will incorporate six core topic areas:
• Inter-professional Education: supports a coordinated, patient-centered model of health care that involves an understanding of the contributions of multiple health care professions.
• Behavioral Health Integration: promotes the development of integrated primary and behavioral health services (mental health and substance use conditions)
• Social Determinants of Health: economic stability, education, social and community context, health and health care, neighborhood and built environment are social determinants that have a profound effect on health.
• Cultural Competency: training health care providers to recognize and address the unique culture, language, and health literacy of diverse individuals and communities.
• Practice Transformation: goal-setting, leadership, practice facilitation, workflow changes, measuring outcomes, adapting organizational tools and processes to support new team-based models of care delivery
• Current and Emerging Health Issues: examples include Zika virus, pandemic influenza, opioid abuse, geographically relevant health issues, and more.