Message From the Director
Welcome to the Web site of the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program. This site provides information on the core five functions of NC AHEC (Primary Care Residency Training, Information and Library Systems, Continuing Education, Health Careers and Workforce Diversity, and Health Science Student Support) plus a number of other valuable resources.
Across the state, AHEC faculty and staff provide educational programs and services of high quality and in formats to make them accessible to the largest number of participants. Our continuing education staff reached more than 169,000 individuals in the past year, and the number of people accessing the resources of the AHEC Digital Library continues to grow. AHEC health careers programming served over 30,000 individuals, and the depth and breadth of activities to introduce young people to health careers is truly impressive. Finally, in spite of significant downturns among graduating medical students nationally in primary care, the AHEC-based residencies in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, ob/gyn, and surgery continue to attract high quality residents, and place approximately two-thirds of them in communities in North Carolina to practice.
In 2005, the NC AHEC Program was involved in a strategic planning process. Several major themes emerged that from that process that will clearly guide our work in the coming years:
- Developing a stronger integrated information technology infrastructure to serve our educational, clinical, information and administrative needs.
- Collaborating in new ways across the AHEC system to assure a rapid flexible response to new educational opportunities as they arise.
- Working with our educational and community partners to strengthen primary care resident recruitment, funding and retention.
- Identifying and implementing additional efficiencies in our core services at both state and regional levels.
- Demonstrating value and measurable outcomes for our various programs and services.
The evidence continues to mount that we are experiencing a worsening situation in regard to the numbers of nurses, dentists, pharmacists, selected allied health professionals, mental health professionals, and physicians. As comprehensive statewide strategies are developed to address these shortages, AHEC will play a central role in support of expanded enrollments by the university and community college programs. The AHEC Program will be actively engaged in developing new clinical sites, supporting expanded training programs for faculty, and supporting the use of technology and other means to deliver educational programs to students at remote sites in North Carolina. Finally, we remain committed to offering programs to develop a more diverse health workforce for our state, in order to most effectively serve the needs of the diverse North Carolina population.
The faculty and staff of the AHEC Program remain committed to our mission of improving access to quality health care for the people of North Carolina. We are pleased to offer this Web site and hope that you will join us in our future efforts.
Thomas J. Bacon, DrPH
Director, NC AHEC Program