North Carolina AHEC Program
fall 2010 newsletter | home

Director's Message

Tom BaconThis issue of the AHEC Review has an array of articles on both important people and programs that are part of our success and our efforts to continually respond to the changing needs of the state. Being nimble and able to adapt and respond to new opportunities is not easy for a program as old and established as ours, but this will be critical in the years ahead as we seek to work with our partner academic centers, hospitals, professional associations, and others to prepare a workforce to meet the needs of a reformed health system.

Currently, a number of us are working on a set of subcommittees of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (IOM) as part of an overall effort by the IOM to position North Carolina to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the reform legislation passed earlier this year. We have a number of AHEC people leading or participating in various subcommittees and I am one of several co-chairs of the health workforce subcommittee.

Although we are early in the IOM process, two things have become clear. First, the long history of collaboration among various constituencies in our state will serve us very well as we go forward, both to respond to the reform legislation and to simply do the right thing to improve access to high quality health care for the people of the state and to control costs. Secondly, AHEC must play a vital role as it has in the past to prepare a health care workforce for the future. AHEC’s statewide infrastructure will be an essential resource as we expand our capacity as a state to train primary care providers, retrain the health care workforce for the realities of the 21st century, train providers of all types to more effectively work in teams, and give providers the tools they need to improve the quality and effectiveness of the care they provide.

It is an exciting time for health care in North Carolina and our nation, and much is riding on our ability to respond to the new realities of reform. We who are part of AHEC welcome the challenges that lie ahead and look forward to contributing to our state’s successful response.

Thomas J. Bacon, DrPH
Director, North Carolina AHEC Program