Explore Beyond the Classroom, Gain Real World Experience Across Wisconsin with AHEC Scholars
Wisconsin AHEC Scholars is a two-year program designed to enhance and broaden a student’s healthcare training. Any student currently enrolled in a health professions degree or certificate program who is two years from program or degree completion can apply.
Each year as an AHEC Scholar, you’ll participate in a combination of didactic and community-based experiential training in a Wisconsin rural community and/or with undeserved populations.
Educational and training activities support the following six (6) Core Topics:
- Interprofessional Education
- Behavioral Health Integration
- Social Determinants of Health
- Cultural Competency
- Practice Transformation
- Current and Emerging Health Issues
We offer flexible pathways for students to complete their didactic and community-based experiential training each year. View and download our AHEC Scholars Program Overview and Learning Activity Checklist to learn more.
AHEC Scholars earn a $1,500 stipend over the course of their experience. Stipends amounts are distributed throughout the 2-year commitment at regular intervals, upon successful achievement of program milestones.
Application window: October 1, 2019 – January 31, 2020 at 11:59pm (or until all spots are filled)
WI AHEC Scholars is a competitive program. You must meet all the following requirements for admission:
- Currently enrolled in either a health professions degree or certificate program that is a minimum of two years in length.
- Be two years out from graduation (i.e. in your 1st year of a 2-year certificate or graduate degree program, in your 3rd year of a 4-year professional degree program)
- Able to commit to active participation as an AHEC Scholar for two consecutive years while concurrently working towards your degree program.
- Participating in alumni surveys after you finish the program
- Interest in working in a rural and/or under served area within Wisconsin upon earning your degree.
About Wisconsin AHEC Scholars Program
Each fall, WI AHEC accepts a new Scholars Cohort ranging in size from 105-145 students. The Cohort will complete their first and second years on the same timeline and are referred to by the academic year of their start (e.g. 2019-2020 Scholars Cohort).
Scholars Academic Year
The WI AHEC Program defines the Scholars Academic Year as the time period between September 1 and August 31. The program lasts for a duration of two years, ensuring Scholars will complete 40 hours of online didactic training and 40 hours of community-based experiential training before the end of each Scholars Year (for a total of 160 hours over two years).
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Community-based Experiential Training (40 hours/year)
Each year, AHEC Scholars students participate in team-based experiential training experiences, supported by one of the seven AHEC Regional Centers (of about 15-20 students) throughout Wisconsin, where you will get to interact with the local community and learn to transform your healthcare practices to suit the needs of rural and underserved communities
Didactic Curriculum (40 hours/year)
Each year, AHEC Scholars students engage in didactic coursework. Scholars receive online access to coursework towards the start of each Scholar Year and work alongside their Regional Center group peers under the facilitation of their Regional Center Scholars faculty team.
Regional Center Assignment & Groups
Each accepted Scholar will be assigned to one of Seven Regional Centers: Milwaukee, Northeast, Northern Highland, Northwest, North Central, Scenic Rivers, or South Central. Regional Center assignment takes into account many factors including community need, Regional Center resources, and Scholar preferences reported during the application process.
Regional Centers support their group of Scholars to ensure successful completion of annual requirements and coordination of community-based experiential training. In many cases, a Scholars’ Regional Center Assignment corresponds to the anticipated location of their community-based experiential training (e.g. a Scholar anticipating completing their community-based experiential training in Rhinelander, WI would be assigned to our Northern Highland Regional Center). Scholars will work with their assigned Regional Center to customize their community-based experiential training each year.
The program is administered by the Wisconsin AHEC Program and the University of Wisconsin-Madison – School of Medicine and Public Health.
Application window: October 1, 2019 – January 15, 2020 (or until all spots are filled)
- Prepare your response to the following prompt: In 500 words or less, please describe your background and career goals. How do you feel the WI AHEC Scholars Program will benefit you in reaching your goals?
- Complete our easy online application where you’ll provide us with demographic information, your career and interests, and your response to the question above.
We review applications on a rolling basis, offering admission along the way to qualified applicants. Expect to hear from us within 3 weeks of submitting your application.
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I'm currently working on fulfilling prerequisite courses for entry into a qualified health professions program and want to apply and become an AHEC Scholar now. Can I?
Unfortunately, no. Student completing prerequisites for entry into a qualified certificate or degree program are not eligible to apply for WI AHEC Scholars until fully accepted in their academic program.
What are the benefits of becoming an AHEC Scholar?
Not only will you gain valuable experience working in team-based environments, as an AHEC Scholar, you will also have access to build relationships and networks with health care professionals, explore career opportunities, and obtain a certificate of completion to include with your resume.
Do my two years as an AHEC Scholar need to be consecutive years?
Yes. You need to be enrolled in the program for two continuous academic years. You need to be enrolled in an academic program of study for the entire time you are also enrolled in AHEC Scholars, with some exceptions for Year 2. Students who cannot complete their first year or their second year must officially withdraw from the program. Please be sure to connect with your Regional Center prior to withdrawing to discuss flexible options to support your continued participation as a Scholar.
When do I start counting my didactic and community-based experiential training hours each year?
The AHEC Scholar academic year runs from September 1 through August 31 each year. Scholars can and should count all eligible didactic and community-based experiential training hours accrued during that time period for each year. For example, if you join AHEC Scholars in spring of 2020, you would be considered a Scholar for the period of September 1, 2019 through August 31, 2021. You would be able to count in coursework and community-based experiential training as far back as Sept. 1, 2019, and you would need to finish all AHEC Scholars requirements before Aug. 31, 2021. It’s always best to connect with your Regional Center for specific guidance.
I'm a part-time student doing a two-year degree in a four-year schedule. Can I divide my AHEC Scholars requirements into smaller chunks so I don't have to do as much each year?
Unfortunately, no. AHEC Scholars requires a minimum of 40 hours didactic coursework and 40 hours of community-based experiential training each year. You can be enrolled in the program for more than two years, but you’ll have to do 40/40 hours each and every year.
Can I complete the entire AHEC Scholars program on an accelerated schedule?
No. AHEC will only count 40 hours of community-based experiential training and 40 hours of didactic coursework each year. you can do more if you wish, but you must complete 40 hours within the time frame of each year (September 1 – August 31).
I am graduating shortly. Can I finish my AHEC Scholars requirements after graduation?
You need to be enrolled in an academic program for at least part of each of the two years of your AHEC Scholars participation. If you are just joining Scholars now and you will be graduating in a few months, you would not be eligible to enroll because you would not reach the second year of the Scholars program. If you are already into your second year but will be graduating before the end of it, that is acceptable. For example, if you graduate in May, you can still finish up your last AHEC Scholars requirements by August.
What happens if I start AHEC Scholars but can't finish?
Our goal is to offer as much flexibility as we can for students to support successful completion of our two-year program. We understand that personal compelling circumstances happen that may make completing the program challenging. Please reach out to your Regional Center for support. If you drop out of your academic program, you must withdraw from AHEC Scholars.
What are the eligibility criteria?
All AHEC Scholars must be currently enrolled in a health professions degree or certificate program of at least 18-24 months in duration by Fall 2019.
Will I work with a team?
Yes! You will join a cohort of 15-20 students in your region, coming from a variety of fields.
Do I need any prior experience?
No! Health innovation relies on interdisciplinary collaboration, so students from all health profession disciplines are welcome. Skills from your peers can help your work stand out from the crowd.
How much does it cost?
There is no tuition for the AHEC Scholars Program. There may be costs related to some of the optional experiential learning opportunities.
Where can I find more information?
The seven regional AHEC Centers provide the clinical/community-based learning activities. To learn more about the centers, see here.
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This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.