AHEC Community Health Immersion

Since the mid-1990s, AHEC Community Health Immersion (formerly WI Express) has given undergraduate and graduate health profession students the unique opportunity to connect with the diverse communities and cultures of Wisconsin, exploring health care delivery and public health in medically underserved areas. This well-known experience is now integrated into our AHEC Scholars program, and we invite students outside of the program to join our sessions as room allows.

2023 Community Health Immersions

Winter Break/Spring Semester AHEC Community Health Immersions

Experience communities in Wisconsin either in-person or through a live virtual Immersion.

Applications will open here October 23 – November 19, 2023.

Apply here starting Oct 23


In-Person Immersions

Recovery and Substance Use | Manitowoc – January 9-10, 2024
Half of people 12 and older have used illicit drugs at least once. Drug overdose deaths in the US since 2000 are nearing one (1) million. Several factors contribute to addiction, including age of first use and availability of the substance, genetics, and environmental such as family and friends’ beliefs and attitudes. During this immersion,  learn about addiction symptoms, treatment options, challenges and stigma surrounding addiction. You will also have the opportunity to witness a live session of Drug Court and visit area recovery centers to gain a better understanding of the recovery community. This Immersion begins on January 9 at 8:00am and concludes on January 10 at 6:30pm.


Virtual Live Immersions

Resilient Wisconsin: Mental Health Solutions – January 4, 9, 11, 12, 2024
Calling mental and behavioral health a “burgeoning crisis,” Governor Evers declared 2023 as the year of mental health in Wisconsin. We’ve heard a lot about this crisis, but what about the solutions? In this virtual Community Health Immersion, learn about the current mental health needs in Wisconsin and what communities are doing to meet those needs. Guest speakers will share how they are improving access to much-needed services through innovative strategies such as expansion of telehealth, improving technology access in rural areas, and employing nontraditional service providers. You will also collaborate in interprofessional teams to design their own unique solutions. This Immersion runs virtually from 8:00am-12:00pm on January 4, 9, and 11, and from 9:30am-3:00pm on January 12.

Gerontology and the Aging Population – March 18-20, 2024
Northwest Wisconsin is aging at rates faster than most of the country and the state of Wisconsin due to “brain drain” and the retirees moving to the area. Explore gerontology, dementia care, and their careers and services associated with this demographic. This Immersion runs virtually from 9:00am-2:30pm on March 18, 19, & 20.

Underserved Community Series – March 19 & 26 and April 2, 9, 16, 2024
Understand health through different perspectives with an emphasis on health equity issues surrounding underserved communities. Throughout this five part interprofessional series you will have the chance to meet and learn from experts in the region from academia, community organizations and healthcare. This Immersion runs virtually from 10:00am-12:00pm on March 19 & 26 and April 2, 9, & 16.


Hybrid Immersions

Milwaukee Assets & Disparities | Milwaukee – January 4, 12, 13, 18, 2024
Learn about this urban community’s unique cultural groups and assets while visiting a variety of health care settings and community organizations. Explore health care disparities and meet providers working to address these disparities. Topics include integrative healthcare, poverty, access to health care, homelessness, and language barriers. This Immersion meets in-person beginning 8:30am on January 12 and ending 6:00pm on January 13. There are also required virtual meetings on January 4  and January 19 from 6:00-7:00pm.

Culture Shock | Milwaukee or Ashland – April 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 2024
Are you ready to step outside of your comfort zone?! Are you a rural student who is curious what medicine looks like in a highly populated area? And on the flip side, are you a student who lives in an urban setting and have always wondered what medicine looks like in very rural communities? If you said yes, apply today for Culture Shock! We will take you on in person experiences highlighting metropolitan and rural communities! Our rural applicants will be brought to Milwaukee and explore the city and learn how practicing medicine in highly populated area looks like. If you are a student who has a background of large city living, we are bringing you to Ashland and offering you a view into rural medicine! Say yes to experiencing your very own Culture Shock! This Immersion meets in-person in either Ashland or Milwaukee (depending on where you are assigned) on April 18-21, with the first and last day being primarily travel days. There are also required virtual meetings on April 16 from 6:00-7:00pm and on April 23 from 6:00-7:00pm.

Rising Up: Substance Use Disorder in Rural Wisconsin | Rhinelander, Lac du Flambeau – April 18-19, 2024
This two-day community health immersion program in northern Wisconsin combines visits to local health and community-based organizations that provide care in behavioral health and substance use disorders. Observe professionals providing a team-based approach to care delivery in a crisis situation and learn about the specialized healthcare needs of rural communities. This Immersion runs in-person on April 18 & 19, 10 hours per day. There is additional virtual pre and post work to complete with a virtual live orientation the week of April 8th (exact date TBD).



  • The program fee is $200 for In-person and Hybrid Immersions or $50 for virtual immersions. This includes housing, most meals, and transportation between locations during in-person portions of Immersions.
  • Participants are responsible for transportation to and from the session’s location. Carpooling with other participants is common.


Credit Option for Spring Semester:
We are offering a one-credit online course open to all students participating in this program. The course will be administered through UW-Madison. Additional assignments will be given in addition to the regular AHEC Community Health Immersion programming to meet the 45-hour requirement for a credit.

Additional information:

  • Taking this credit is required for UW-Madison Global Health students to count AHEC Community Health Immersion as their field experience.
  • Accepted students will be given permission to enroll in NUTR SCI 421.
  • Credit counts toward Spring 2023-24 course load.
  • UW-Madison tuition rates apply.
  • Students at universities outside of UW-Madison need to apply to be a UW-Madison special student and have the responsibility of determining how to transfer credit back to their home institution.
  • All coursework is administered through Canvas, an online digital learning environment.
  • The course includes your time spent participating in your selected Immersion and additional assignments due throughout the spring semester.
  • This course is graded.

Summer Community Health Immersions

Learn first-hand from community members and health practitioners in these multi-day, in-person Immersions.

Information for Summer 2024 AHEC Community Health Immersions is coming soon. Applications will open spring 2024.


AHEC Program Manager, Katie Freeman