Wisconsin AHEC improves access to quality health care by developing community-based health professions training programs and enhancing health education resources across the state.
AHEC is a health professions education and outreach program funded by federal grant and direct appropriation from the state legislature. It is part of a nationwide network of programs for improving accessibility and quality of primary health care. The national program was designed to encourage universities and educators to look beyond their institutions to partnerships that meet community health needs, working toward the goal of decentralizing health professions training and linking communities with academic health centers in partnerships to promote cooperative solutions to local health problems.
The Wisconsin AHEC System works to improve the supply, distribution and quality of health care professionals in Wisconsin. The system is comprised of seven regional Centers (located in Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Beloit, Cashton, Wausau, Superior and Marinette), and a statewide program office located at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison.
Program areas include the following:
- Enhancing the learning experience for all health professions’ students at community-based sites, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary programs, developing cultural competence, and technological support
- Supporting health career recruitment programs in under-served rural and urban areas to assist high school and college students from underrepresented populations prepare for entry into health professions schools
- Supporting faculty mentors and preceptors at community-based training sites with continuing education, technological support, and other services to enhance the practice environment, maximize the ability of health professionals in under-served communities, and provide high quality health care
- Partnering with local organizations in a variety of outreach activities to improve the health of the community
From 2009-2012, Wisconsin AHEC implemented a SEARCH (Student Experiences and Rotations in Community Health) program grant from the National Health Services Corps. Implementation of the SEARCH contract provided training opportunities for NHSC scholars and students in primary care disciplines who are interested in practices in rural and urban under-served areas.
The current AHEC federal grant period is from 2017-2022.