Regional health education centers expand partnerships
The North Dakota Area Health Education Center (AHEC) was established in 2008 at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences’ Department of Family and Community Medicine. Two regional centers, the Eastern AHEC located in Mayville, directed by Bill Krivarchka, and the Southwest AHEC in Hettinger, directed by Tony Scheerz, have been established to develop health care personnel and to improve the distribution, diversity, and quality of health care professionals in underserved areas throughout North Dakota. To continue the mission of the AHEC, two new partnerships have been formed by each regional AHEC.
Mayville State University (MSU) has contracted with UND to serve as the fiscal host for the Eastern AHEC. “Mayville State University is honored to participate as an active partner with the North Dakota AHEC through a partnership agreement with the Eastern AHEC,” said Steven Bensen, MSU vice president for business affairs.
North Dakota State University’s Department of Nursing has been named as the fiscal host for the Southwest AHEC. Loretta Heuer, associate dean for Nursing and associate director of the ND AHEC will provide administrative direction. “It is important for North Dakota to grow our own health care workers, and the Department of Nursing is excited to partner with UND’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences to develop tomorrow’s providers,” said Heuer. “AHECs have an excellent reputation in building student interest in health care careers and providing pathways for them to enter the profession with the ultimate goal that they return to work in their own community. North Dakota rural areas will certainly benefit from this partnership in the years ahead.”
“We are excited about our new partnerships with Mayville State and North Dakota State University and having the AHEC regional employees as part of the North Dakota University System,” said Mary Amundson, principal investigator of the AHEC program. “Our third and final regional center will be developed in 2011; it will serve northwestern North Dakota, and we look forward to entering into a partnership with a college or university within that region to serve as the fiscal host for the NW AHEC.”
“The collaboration by multiple partners to implement the work of the ND AHEC demonstrates that those partners recognize how important the initial education and ongoing efforts to ensure competent health care providers are to the health of all residents in North Dakota” said Tracy Evanson, associate professor in the College of Nursing and associate director of the ND AHEC. “The ND AHEC partners are committed to improving recruitment and retention of highly qualified health care providers in our state, particularly in rural areas, where workforce development needs are the greatest.”
The ND AHEC received almost $1 million for the third year of the grant program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the College of Nursing, and Dakota Medical Foundation of Fargo. For information on the North Dakota AHEC, please visit www.ndahec.org.
-- Denis MacLeod, assistant director, Office of Alumni and Community Relations, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 777-2733, firstname.lastname@example.org.