Area Health Education Centers

What are Area Health Education Centers?

Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) are federally funded organizations that focus on the expansion of the health care workforce particularly in rural and underserved areas.1 They offer a variety of educational programs that provide awareness and understanding of the complex barriers to health care delivery in hard-to-reach communities. In addition, AHECs provide continued support services to health care professionals and often establish training for health care providers in the areas they seek to serve.

AHECs & Community Health Workers

Individuals who participate in AHEC programs often move on to a position within the health care industry, including becoming a Community Health Worker. Being that AHECs are passionate about supporting health career student needs so that they can provide sustainable healthcare in the rural and underserved areas that they live in; interfacing with CHWs is a frequent occurrence. CHWs are trusted members of their community who empower their peers through education and connections to health and social resources. They have unmatched knowledge of how social, economic, and cultural factors impact health in their communities. This makes them an invaluable source of information for organizations seeking to have an impact on the populations they serve.

As a part of our mission to advance the CHW profession, MHP Salud has a long history of providing support services to AHECs. Through our Management Based Objective program, we’ve been able to establish deep relationships with such organizations which allows us to exchange information from our over 35 years of experience implementing CHW programs in underserved communities. This knowledge can be leveraged to help AHECs strengthen their programs and their responses to current and emerging health issues.

According to the National Area Health Education Center Organization, there are over 300 AHECs that serve over 85% of United States counties. Additionally, there were 644,692 participants enrolled in various AHEC programs from 2019-2020.

As the need to address health care issues in our country continue to stay in high demand, the advancement of the health care workforce becomes increasingly important.

MHP Salud continues to support Area Health Education Centers with CHW training and consulting services that include:

  • Real-world examples
  • Developed, tested, and proven strategies
  • Updated material to continuously reflect new standards and needs within the CHW profession