North Carolina AHEC Program
fall 2011 newsletter | home

Director's Message

Tom Bacon This issue of the AHEC Review contains articles that represent the full spectrum of the NC AHEC Program, from our work with young people in our health careers programs, to innovative community-based opportunities for students and residents, to work being done with health professionals to improve their capacity to serve patients and the general public. The article about the H.E.R.O.E.S. program at Charlotte AHEC reminds me of the remarkable young people we work with throughout the year who have aspirations to become health professionals, and welcome the opportunities the AHEC health career programs afford them. These and other young people should be inspired by the article on the two sisters who participated in the health careers programs at Greensboro AHEC and who are now pursuing careers as physicians, one as a medical student and the other as a first year resident in internal medicine. The graduates of our health careers programs do truly amazing things.

There are interesting articles about our work with students and residents as well, including the article about the public health graduate student who’s placement through Wake AHEC was with a family medicine practice in Roxboro, and through that experience implemented a robust health literacy program. Articles on the growing number of osteopathic medical students at Southern Regional AHEC as well as PharmD residents, also at Southern Regional, represent the diversity of the students and residents with whom we work on a daily basis.

Finally, I was delighted to see that three of our AHECs successfully competed for small grants through the National AHEC Organization to implement smoking cessation programs in their regions over the coming year. These programs will allow them, through various educational modalities, to give health providers the tools they need to work with patients who are struggling to stop smoking.

We also include in this issue a short article and some summary charts which reflect the work of the entire AHEC network nationally. These summary data are produced by the National AHEC Organization and show the total impact AHECs across the country are having in health careers, in placing health science students in community settings, many of which are underserved communities, and in providing continuing education to practicing health professionals. We have been actively engaged with our national colleagues for nearly 40 years, advocating for AHEC legislation with Congress, sharing best practices across programs, and working to strengthen the impact that each our respective programs can have in the communities we serve. It is a challenging time at the federal level, given the budget cuts that have already been implemented and are being planned, but the AHEC network nationally is strong and we are proud to be a part of this collective effort.

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