AHEC - North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program



2012 NC AHEC Progress Report

Letter from the Director

I am pleased to offer this 2012 Progress Report for the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program. The report summarizes our accomplishments over the past year in addressing the health workforce needs of the state.

2012 Progress ReportThough the numbers are impressive, it is the individual stories behind the numbers that capture the essence of AHEC. It is about dedicated preceptors spending time with young learners; experts in various fields willing to share their knowledge through our continuing education programs; talented quality improvement staff spending hours in a rural safety net practice to make sure that they have the best tools available in providing care for their patients; and health professionals mentoring young people to assure that we have a new generation of bright and dedicated nurses, dentists, pharmacists, doctors, physical therapists, and numerous other health professionals.

This year we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of AHEC in North Carolina. Throughout 2012 we will publish a series of special reports and hold events to commemorate the founding of our program, the accomplishments over the years, and our plans for the future. AHEC has a rich history and is indebted to a number of visionary leaders who designed and set the course for this program in the 1970s. At the same time, we are excited about the opportunities ahead of us to improve access to health care for the people of this state, to enhance workforce diversity, and to advance the quality of care delivered to patients and families.

In order to focus our work in the years ahead we are close to completing work on a new strategic plan for NC AHEC. During this process, we have engaged literally hundreds of our own faculty and staff, key partners and other constituents of our programs, and key health leaders from across the state in both assessing our strengths and looking at the opportunities we have before us. Throughout this process we have stayed focused on our mission of preparing a health workforce to serve the communities of the state in the coming years, and doing this in partnership with our academic and community colleagues. You will be hearing more about the outcomes of this in the months ahead, but some clear trends have emerged. Our overarching goal will be to give students, residents and health professionals the experiences and tools they need to thrive in a 21st century health care system. Within that context we will place greater emphasis on preparing providers to work in interprofessional teams. We will continue to innovate in the way we deliver educational experiences to students and health professionals through both greater use of technology (high tech) and a focus on high quality teaching sites at the community level (high touch). Finally, our work to create a more diverse workforce to serve the increasingly diverse population of North Carolina will remain a priority.

It is an exciting time for health care in general and for the AHEC Program in particular. We hope you can join us in celebrating our 40th anniversary, and in working with us to assure that we continue to meet our mission to prepare health professionals for service to the communities of North Carolina.

Thomas J. Bacon, DrPH
Director, NC AHEC Program

2012 Progress Report NC AHEC 2012 Progress Report (pdf)