AHEC Health Professions Student Programs
Increasing opportunities for community-based experiential training within each of the five AHEC Center service areas
Better Serve Your Community with the AHEC Health Professions Student Program
Since 2018, our Health Professions Student Programs have been longitudinal, interpersonal education programs providing a defined set of didactic and community-based training activities at no cost to about 50 selected health professions students from various disciplines each year. The AHEC Health Professions Student Programs aim to enhance the education and training of current health professions students committed to serving Alabama’s rural and underserved populations.
The overall goal is to connect students from several disciplines and train them on the importance of working as a team regarding patient care. We also want these same students to graduate and become a part of the workforce in our medically underserved communities.
What We Do
Students are recruited from across the state and include medical, nursing, dental, pharmacy, social work, public health, nutrition/dietetics, and other health professions programs. Each of the five centers coordinates a group of approximately fifty students. Through discussions on popular healthcare topics, we define and expand common healthcare roles throughout numerous health professions. Ultimately, this provides guidance for future career developments and provides students with an opportunity to discuss sensitive topics in a safe environment.
We developed the AHEC Health Professions Student Programs with six courses comprising curricula of 40 hours per year over two years, hosted on the free and widely accessible Google Classroom platform. The scholars are required to complete experiential training with rural and underserved providers and patients in a team based environment, allowing them to make appropriate referrals to improve the health of the individual patient.
Scholars will enhance their knowledge and competence in the following areas:
- Interprofessional Education
- Behavioral Health Integration
- Social Determinants of Health
- Cultural Competency
- Practice Transformation
- Current & Emerging Health Issues
First and foremost, we want to ensure that everyone participating in the AHEC Health Professions Student Programs have an interest in underserved rural healthcare.
In order to participate in this program, you must currently be enrolled in a health professions program with a minimum 2.0 GPA in the following fields:
- Dental/Dental Hygiene
- Social Work
- Physical/Occupational/Speech Therapy
- Public Health
- Health Sciences
Why It’s Important
The AHEC Health Professions Student Programs are important because students learn to leverage resources by working with rural and underserved populations. Collectively, citizens in rural Alabama are older, sicker, and poorer than their urban counterparts. A long history of distrusting government, science, and healthcare contributes heavily to continued health inequities. Alabama will never be able to provide a hospital in every small community, which is why we focus on building a team of providers with the skills they need to place individual patients at the center of the team.
AHEC prepares a diverse, culturally competent group of future healthcare professionals to succeed through service in underserved areas of Alabama. Learn more today!