AHEC GHI

AHEC Scholars Program

Explore Beyond the Classroom, Gain Real World Experience Across Wisconsin with AHEC Scholars

Wisconsin AHEC Scholars is a two-year program designed to supplement and broaden a student’s healthcare training. Any student enrolled in their final two years of a qualifies health professions program can apply.

Each year, students are required to complete 40 hours of online didactic training and another 40 hours of community-based experiential training out in the field. The didactic training covers six topic areas related to the practice of healthcare to supplement students’ knowledge of behavioral health, inter-professional education, social determinants of health, cultural competency, practice transformation, and other current or emerging issues. We offer the didactic training in two separate online, self-paced courses. Scholars enroll and complete the first course during their first year as a Scholar and the second course during their second year. Students will have the opportunity to complete their 40 hours of community-based experiential training each year in a Wisconsin rural community and/or with undeserved populations.

Application will be available in late September 2019!

Eligibility Criteria

WI AHEC Scholars is a competitive program. Students must meet all the following requirements for admission:

  • Currently enrolled in either a health professions graduate degree program that is a minimum of two years in length.
  • Able to commit to active participation as an AHEC Scholar for two consecutive years while concurrently working towards their degree program.
  • Interest in working in a rural and/or under served area within Wisconsin upon earning their degree.

About Wisconsin AHEC Scholars Program

Scholars Cohort

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 their 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).

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Experiential Learning (40 hours/year)

  • Students will participate in clinical/community learning experiences, led by one of the seven AHEC 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.
  • Students participate in these experiences in their school’s region, but may also have the opportunity to participate with other Center programs. A list of potential learning experiences will be available on our calendar.
  • Experiential Learning Opportunities

Online Didactic Curriculum (40 hours/year)

Scholars engage in two years of didactic coursework through a digital learning environment called Canvas. Scholars receive 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. All AHEC Scholars participate in an online curriculum focused on improving health and health equity. (approximately 1 credit/40 hours per year), addressing six core topic areas over the two year span.

  • Year 1 Core Topic Areas
    • Interprofessional Education
    • Behavioral Health Integration
    • Cultural Competency
  • Year 2 Core Topic Areas
    • Practice Transformation
    • Social Determinants of health
    • Emerging Health Issues

*NEW* A $500 stipend will be provided to AHEC Scholars who complete the program ($250 at the end of year 1, and $250 at the end of year 2). 

 

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.

What to Expect as a WI AHEC Scholar

While part of a Cohort and Regional Center group each Scholar will follow a customized plan for each year in alignment with this generic outline:

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Year 1

September-December

  • Participate in a Regional Center Orientation (if applicable)
  • Complete an online orientation module
  • Develop your customized plan with your Regional Center for completing the 40 hours of online didactic modules and 40 hours of community-based experiential training

October-August

  • Complete 40 hours of online didactic modules in our Scholars Course 1
  • Complete 40 hours of community-based experiential training
  • Participate in any Regional Center Scholars events or activities (if applicable)

Year 2

September-December

  • Participate in a Regional Center Orientation (if applicable)
  • Develop your customized plan with your Regional Center for completing the 40 hours of online didactic modules and 40 hours of community-based experiential training

October- August

  • Complete 40 hours of online didactic modules in our Scholars Course 1
  • Complete 40 hours of community-based experiential training
  • Participate in any Regional Center Scholars events or activities (if applicable)

APPLICATION MATERIALS

The program is administered by the Wisconsin AHEC Program and the University of Wisconsin-Madison – School of Medicine and Public Health.

How to Apply:

  • Complete the application form which will be released before the end of September 2019. Please check back!
  • Applicants will be able access the application on this page through a link once it is released.

The AHEC Scholars program will grant you a certificate when you graduate from your healthcare career program.

FAQs

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

I'm currently working on fulfilling prerequisite courses for entry into a qualifies health professions program and want to apply and become an AHEC Scholar now. Can I?

Unfortunately, no. Student completing prerequisites for entry into a qualifies degree or certificate 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?

An AHEC Scholar will have access to health care professionals, build professional relationships with faculty members at your school, 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.

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 fro 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.

I work in a healthcare facility. Can I count my wok hours as community-based experiential training?

Most likely. Please discuss your role and work environment with your Regional Center to determine if the setting and activities align with what is required for the Scholars program and secure pre-approval.

What are the eligibility criteria?

All AHEC Scholars must be currently enrolled in a Health Professions Program of at least 18-24 months in duration by Fall 2018 (e.g., physical therapist assistant, paramedic, doctor, pharmacist, nurse).

Where do I meet for Learning Activities?

The online curriculum for the first year cohort will begin in late January, and will progress as a semester long course with weekly assignments. The online curriculum will culminate with the completion of the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) Certification.

The in-person learning activities will happen in rural or underserved urban areas, either in your school’s region, or in another region in the state.

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 (e.g., Wisconsin Express). Stipends may be available based on region, up to $250 per year.

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 hereTo read about example experiential learning opportunities, please visit this page: AHEC Regional Experiential Learning

Contact Us: scholars@ahec.wisc.edu

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.