North Central AHEC Part of Statewide Observance of Health Education Center Week | GCTC

North Central AHEC Part of Statewide Observance of Health Education Center Week

The North Central Area Health Education Center (NC AHEC), located at Gateway Community & Technical College, said today that Governor Steve Beshear has proclaimed April 5 9, 2010, as Area Health Education Center week in Kentucky.

AHEC statewide is a community-driven, nonprofit organization whose goal is to improve access to health care in rural and medically under-served areas. This is accomplished by forming academic/community partnerships that link the resources of academic health centers with the needs of the communities. AHEC assists communities in obtaining the health resources and opportunities necessary to improve the quality of life, with a particular focus on under-served populations.

Formed in 1999, the NC AHEC serves Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties along with 13 other counties in northern and central Kentucky. Since 1999, over 5,300 health care students have completed a portion of their clinical education at teaching sites in the NC AHEC area. The students, from the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine, worked in both urban under-served and rural areas.

One of the most important teaching sites for students in northern Kentucky has been HealthPoint Family Care, Inc., a non-profit community organization that offers health care to low income and uninsured people at clinics in Covington, Latonia and Bellevue. HealthPoint physicians and dentists have worked with 116 medical, dental and physician assistant students since 1999.

"HealthPoint staff members are excellent teachers and role models for aspiring health care professionals, and they always respond positively when asked to teach a student, said Evelyn Tackett, director of NC AHEC. HealthPoints administration recognizes how important it is to teach future doctors and dentists, and they have been extremely supportive in providing a good teaching environment." Currently, Drs. Arlene Shih, Viviana Goldenberg, and Imam Bastawros teach medical students, and Dr. Jeffery Parker teaches dental students.

The AHEC program was established in 1971 through legislation under the U.S. Public Health Services Act. There are 53 medical schools and three nursing schools that have an AHEC program in the United States, affiliated with 235 community-based AHECs in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

Kentucky's AHEC system as it is known today began in the 1980s. The two central AHEC offices reside at the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky schools of medicine. There are eight regional centers throughout that cover the commonwealth. In addition to NC AHEC, they include Northeast (Morehead), Northwest (West Louisville), Purchase AHEC (Murray), South Central (Bowling Green), Southeast (Hazard), Southern KY AHEC (Mt. Vernon), and West (Madisonville).

UK regional centers in the eastern half of the state annually facilitate over 1,800 clinical rotations for health professions students resulting in more than 7,800 weeks of training in rural and/or urban under-served areas. More than 12,000 K-12 Kentucky students are served annually in an effort to encourage them to pursue a career in one of the health professions.

AHEC offers health education programming to more than 27,000 students and roughly 13,000 adults annually. The regional AHEC centers provide nearly 4,000 library services to practicing health professionals and health professions students and continuing professional development to more than 12,000
practicing health professionals annually.

We are delighted to receive this recognition from the governor, which shines a spotlight on how the AHEC organization benefits the well-being of the community, Tackett said.