North Carolina AHEC Program
summer 2010 newsletter | home

Director's Message

Tom BaconThe summer issue of the AHEC Review contains articles that span the depth and breadth of AHEC in North Carolina. In spite of the severe budget cuts we have experienced over the past two years, the AHEC faculty and staff continue to demonstrate their resourcefulness and creativity in developing programs which respond to the needs of the communities of our state.

The lead article features the 11th Annual Future Leaders in Health Care Conference, held last month in Winston-Salem. This conference serves as a capstone of the year’s activities in health careers for the AHEC Program and a number of our partner agencies. It affords an opportunity for some of the most talented high school students with whom we work to participate in a week-long meeting on a cutting edge topic and to be exposed to some of the top leaders in the health care field. The theme for this year’s conference, “Connecting the Dots: Creating a Blueprint for Health Care Leadership”, is timely given the tremendous changes underway in health care in the U.S.

The need to grow the health care workforce will be vital in the years ahead. The demand for health professionals in a growth state like North Carolina will be great, and many current health professionals will be retiring over the next decade. As a result, it is essential that we recruit a new generation of young people who can fill the broad array of jobs that will be available in the health care field.

AHEC’s health careers programs are targeted to recruiting a diverse group of young people who are interested in health careers, giving them the tools they need to thrive as students and ultimately as health professionals, and then to provide them with the support they need at the community level as they enter practice. The annual Future Leaders in Health Care Conference, the summer health careers camps and programs, and other activities held throughout the academic year are the key components to AHEC’s comprehensive approach for developing a new generation of health professionals to serve North Carolina. Congratulations to all of the AHEC staff who are so important to the success of these programs.

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