In partnership with communities across the state, AHEC has coordinated the award-winning Wisconsin Express program since the mid 1990s. This program gives health professions students a unique opportunity to become immersed in Wisconsin’s diverse communities and cultures, while they explore health care delivery and public health in medically underserved areas, learning with and from students in other disciplines.
We are offering 14 WI Express program opportunities throughout winter, spring, and summer breaks during the 2020 – 21 year.
A one-week cultural immersion experience designed to give health professions students an opportunity to study firsthand the diverse local and regional healthcare innovations and challenges in Wisconsin communities. Multidisciplinary groups of 6-12 students explore the region’s cultural diversity and healthcare, developing strategies for intercultural and interprofessional effectiveness in healthcare practice. Throughout the week, participants have opportunities to reflect on and evaluate their experiences.
This program is best suited for undergraduate and graduate students in any degree program or health profession degree program.
This program emphasizes the following Core Topic Areas:
- Interprofessional Education Supports a coordinated, patient-centered model of health care that involves an understanding of the contributions of multiple health care professionals (also known as interdisciplinary training).
- Social Determinants of Health Includes the five key areas (determinants) of economic stability, education, social and community context, health and health care, and neighborhood and built environment, and their impact on health.
- Cultural Competency Seeks to improve individual health and build healthy communities by training health care providers to recognize and address the unique culture, language and health literacy of diverse consumers and communities.
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Statewide: January 10-13 (virtual)
Take a virtual tour around the state of Wisconsin and explore the unique cultures and communities of each of our 7 regions. Populations of focus include Hmong, Native American, Spanish/Immigrant, Homeless and Incarceration.
Hayward: March 14-19
Students will be exposed to rural healthcare in both small and tourism-based communities of the northwoods. The program will present a unique perspective as coordinators of this program come from the workforce development industry. The program will include many healthcare entreprenuers that started their own business and the process they used to develop the business in addition to many other visits, job shadows, and speakers.
Eau Claire: March 21-24 (virtual)
Aging & Veteran Focus
This site will focus on caring for an elderly population, many of whom are veterans, have mental health disorders, or have chronic diseases. Students will visit hospitals/clinics, public health departments, aging and disability resource centers, nursing homes, and mental health/rehabilitation facilities. Students will also learn about the impact of an aging health care workforce and the ever-growing need for health care professionals in rural and underserved areas.
Ashland: May 23-28
Midwifery, Rural & Native American Focus
This site gives students the opportunity to see a wide variety of rural health care settings, including women’s health, midwifery, acute care, public health, tribal clinics, and others. A diverse group of practitioners will present and discuss the challenges and rewards of working in rural health in far northern Wisconsin, as well as culturally appropriate care for Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) populations.
Beloit-Madison: May 23-28
Underserved, Health Disparities, and Women’s Health
Participants gain opportunities to explore health disparities locally and globally and learn about health care programs and services available. Various community organizations, and health care professionals offer participants experiences focusing on the underserved including Hispanic, African American, uninsured/underinsured, women’s health, homeless, and rural populations.
Green Bay: May 23-28
Native American, Hispanic & Somali Focus
Activities will challenge participants to see health from the perspective of the Native American culture of the Oneida Nation, the growing Hispanic and Somali community, as well as the homeless and underinsured. Small group activities include interactions with providers serving these diverse groups, as well as a service learning opportunity.
Keshena: May 23-28
Native American Focus
This site engages with the Menominee Indian Tribe. The week begins with attendance at a Pow Wow honoring Veterans. This experience provides a historical perspective of termination & restoration, including learning about the tribe’s unique status of federal jurisdiction and sovereignty on their own land. Visits will be made to multiple sites around the reservation and focus on health disparities and how residents have engaged their community to create change for their people.
La Crosse: May 23-28
Rural & Underserved
This site focuses on social determinants of health and cultural competence engaging with providers and patients across the region. Students will visit sites that serve the Amish, Hispanic, Ho-Chunk, Hmong, LGBTQ, uninsured/underinsured, homeless and more. Students will have the opportunity to job shadow, volunteer at a homeless shelter, provide education at a free clinic, and participate in a community project.
Lac du Flambeau: May 23-28
Native American Focus
Students at this site will focus on priority health care issues facing rural and indigenous communities in northeast Wisconsin including chronic illness, obesity, substance use disorder, and domestic/sexual violence. The week starts out with attendance at the Menominee Nation Veteran’s Pow Wow. Throughout the week, the concepts of tribal historical trauma and trauma informed care will be explored.
Lancaster: May 23-28
This site offers students a first-hand opportunity to explore incarceration healthcare through visits to maximum and minimum state prisons and county jail. The week will also explore rural Grant and Crawford counties focusing on income and geography’s effects on health and access to healthcare. We will hear from community members, healthcare practitioners, and public health professionals.
Marshfield: May 23-28
Amish & Mennoite Focus
This site focuses on Amish/Mennonite culture and rural health care. Students visit these communities to explore how respect for culture can interact with health care. They learn about the balance between cost of medical care and reduction of risk. Some of the sites students visit include public health departments, fee-for-service, midwifery and family practice clinics, dental practices, educational institutions, and various Amish/Mennonite businesses.
Milwaukee: May 23-28
At this site, students learn about Milwaukee’s Latino, African American and Hmong communities. Students will explore health care disparities and meet providers working to address these disparities. Students visit a variety of health care settings and community organizations. Students explore issues of poverty, lack of access to health care, homelessness, language barriers and AODA issues.
Sheboygan: May 23-28
Approximately 6,000 Hmong live in Sheboygan. A health needs assessment (2016) documented serious problems in health care access and health literacy in this population. The Hmong Community Center has implemented a number of unique programs addressing these needs. Student will also gain first-hand knowledge about Hmong history, culture and traditional health beliefs.
Superior: May 23-28
Gerontology & Aging
Northwest Wisconsin is aging at rates faster than most of the country and the state of Wisconsin due to ‘Brain Drain’ and retirees moving to the region. This site will explore gerontology, dementia care and their careers and services associated with this demographic.