A History of AHEC
In partnership with healthcare systems, schools, community-based organizations, and more, AHECs employ traditional and innovative approaches to develop and train a diverse healthcare workforce prepared to deliver culturally appropriate, high-quality, team-based care, with an emphasis on primary care for rural and underserved communities. AHECs are embedded in the communities they serve, positioning them to respond rapidly to emergent training needs of healthcare providers and health professions students.
In 1971, the nationwide AHEC system was developed by Congress to recruit, train and retain a health professions workforce committed to underserved populations. By their very structure, AHECs are able to respond in a flexible and creative manner in adapting national initiatives to help address local and regional healthcare issues and support the nation’s most vulnerable communities. The national AHEC network consists of more than 300 AHEC Program offices and Centers, serving over 85% of the counties in the United States, with over 50 years of experience.