What Is An AHEC?

The AHEC Program began in the early 1970s when many areas of the United States were faced with severe shortages of health care professionals, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and public health workers. Recommendations issued by the Carnegie Commission addressed how colleges and universities could help ease these shortages. One of the Commissionís recommendations led to the development of Area Health Education Centers (known as AHECs). In 1972, Congress awarded funds to establish AHEC programs in 11 states. The program has since expanded to over 40 states. The federal AHEC Program provides oversight for AHECs all across the nation. The federal AHEC program is based in the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions (http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/ahec/).

AHEC programs have a professional association, the National AHEC Organization whose website is http://www.nationalahec.org/home/index.asp.

All AHEC programs are based at Schools of Medicine. The Virginia program is based at Virginia Commonwealth University (www.ahec.vcu.edu) and includes eight community based centers, of which RAHEC is one. RAHEC was established in 1994 and is an independent, non-profit 501©3 organization.