AHEC Scholars


AHEC Scholars is a program for health professions students interested in rural or community-based practice.

Eligible students should have an interest in rural or undeserved healthcare and be enrolled in an approved health professions program.  Approved degree programs include medical, pharmacy, and physician assistant programs.

Program duration is a two year commitment and includes a $1000 incentive during the student’s third year.  Each year includes instruction in the following core topic areas for a total of 160 hours:

    • Interprofessional Education
    • Behavioral Health Integration
    • Social Determinants of Health
    • Cultural Competency
    • Practice Transformation
    • Current and Emerging Health Issues



Core Topics

Educational and training activities will support the following six (6) Core Topics:

Interprofessional Education (also known as interdisciplinary training) which supports a coordinated, patient-centered model of health care that involves an understanding of the contributions of multiple health care professionals.

Behavioral Health Integration which promotes the development of integrated primary and behavioral health services to better address the needs of individuals with mental health and substances use conditions.

Social Determinants of Health includes 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 which seeks to improve individual health and build health communities by training health care providers to recognize and address the unique culture, language and health literacy of diverse consumers and communities.

Practice Transformation which aims to fully support quality improvement and patient-centered are through goal-setting, leadership, practice facilitation, workflow changes, measuring outcomes, and adapting organizational tools and processes to support new team-based models of care delivery. AHEC programs are expected to develop and implement educational and training activities and build and strengthen strategic partnerships. Educational and training activities under practice transformation must target the specific skills and competencies needed to prepare students and practicing health professionals to effectively practice in a transforming health care system.

Current and emerging health issues such as Zika virus, opioid abuse, etc. should be proposed before implementation.