North Carolina AHEC Program
summer 2011 newsletter | home

Director's Message

The Power of PartnershipsTom Bacon

This issue of the North Carolina AHEC Review contains articles on a variety of programs offered by AHECs, important new grants, and several awards received by AHEC staff. In reading through these articles, I was reminded once again of the importance of partnerships in furthering the work of AHEC and in dramatically expanding our capacity to train students and support providers already in practice.

Some of the successful programs described here were only possible through our collaboration with other organizations and agencies. These include partners as diverse as the Moses Cone Stroke Center, the Salvation Army of Wake County, and the Citizen Soldier Support Program. The work of AHEC would not be possible without the long standing partnerships we have with the major medical centers in the state, the campuses of the university system, and the literally hundreds of state and local agencies who join with us in developing and offering educational programs, community service opportunities, and superb sites where we can place students from across North Carolina.

In an era of shrinking resources, these partnerships become that much more vital to sustaining our work and assuring that we are maximizing our resources to the fullest. As we face an upcoming year of additional budget cuts, I am confident we will find new ways to stretch our AHEC funds even further through building on our existing collaborations and looking for opportunities to create new ones.

Strong and effective partnerships do more than save money, though. Bringing multiple perspectives to the table to create educational programs, solve clinical and administrative problems, or find new ways to teach learners, always result in stronger outcomes than if we try to go it alone in our respective silos. Much has been written about creating a health care system of the future based on collaboration even with those with whom we compete at times. The NC AHEC Program has been functioning this way for years, and I think the skills we have developed in fostering a collaborative style of working will serve us well in the years ahead.

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