North Carolina AHEC Program
winter 2011 newsletter | home

Director's Message

Tom BaconRecently we have been reading the annual reports that the AHECs submit at the end of the year to summarize the accomplishments of their various educational programs over the past 12 months. It is always inspiring to read about the myriad of ways each AHEC is fulfilling its mission to prepare health care professionals to serve the needs of the communities in the state. Each of the AHECs provide both data and a narrative on their achievements in training students and residents, providing continuing education, library support, and other services to practicing health professionals – and in working with elementary and secondary students who may be inspired to choose a career in the health field.

Beyond our core programs and services addressing our primary mission, AHEC faculty and staff go the extra mile in contributing their time and energy towards making many health and other social service organizations and agencies successful in creating healthier and more stable communities. This issue includes an article about staff from the Northwest AHEC and their involvement in a free clinic. Staff from other AHECs participate each year in health fairs, volunteer at soup kitchens and homeless shelters, and help build Habitat for Humanity homes. Many of them tutor children in schools and in other settings, speak about opportunities in the health field to school classes, church groups, and civic clubs, and volunteer on boards for community health centers, mental health associations, health literacy councils, and hundreds of other agencies.

AHECs attract people who are both highly competent and highly dedicated to the premise that our communities are only as strong as we are willing to make them, and that we have both professional and personal roles to play in creating a healthier, just, and economically-viable state. It is a privilege to be a part of an organization that attracts these kinds of individuals who continue to have great success in their professional lives, but also are always willing to make special efforts in living out the AHEC motto of “creating a better state of health.”

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