The AHEC mission is to enhance access to high quality health care through partnerships to ultimately improve the distribution, diversity, and supply of health professionals, and to facilitate educational opportunities for health professionals and the community.
The NW PA AHEC serves the PA counties of Butler, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Venango, and Warren and we:
- Facilitate the recruitment and retention of primary care providers in under-served communities through educational and training programs.
- Develop an information and communication network to provide consultation, technical assistance, education, and other professional support for community-based primary care practitioners.
- Increase the number of individuals from minority and underserved communities and populations who enter primary care and allied health professions.
- Evaluate and assess the public health needs of communities within and among the regions and provide innovative, multi-disciplinary responses to those needs.
- Medical Student placements in community – based sites for required rotations.
- Pipeline Program – health career talks at high schools, health exploration programs, mentoring of college students seeking healthcare careers.
- AHEC Scholars – a two-year interdisciplinary program for health profession students interested in supplementing their education by gaining knowledge and experience in rural and/or underserved settings through clinical, didactic, and community-based activities.
- AHEC Learning Communities – an interprofessional project where primary care residents and public health students offer refugees basic health education to improve their health literacy while simultaneously improving their own cultural competence and patient communication.
- State Health Promotion – implemented a program entitled “Shopping Buddies”. Health profession and global health students train with the local Women, Infant, Children (WIC) program to shop for groceries with “at risk” members of WIC clients. Students teach them how to navigate the store, how to identify nutritious foods, how to weigh and measure, and how to properly and completely utilize money, food stamps, and WIC checks which have been found to be their greatest challenges. In some cases, there are also barriers related to culture, religion, or lack of familiarity with foods available in the United States.
- Local Health Departments – collaboration for Health Needs Assessments/Health Improvement Plans.
- Community Health Workers – identifying needs and training interested individuals.
- PA Department of Health – assist with Federal HPSA/MUA designations.