Alaska's small population and remote geography creates a challenge for recruiting and retaining a quality healthcare workforce, particularly in rural and underserved communities. Eight years ago, UA and multiple public and private stakeholders organized an effort to receive federal Area Health Education Center (AHEC) funding to address the health care workforce needs of Alaska.
The AHEC mission is to achieve three goals:• developing and sustaining a strong local health workforce in Alaska by engaging youth and others to enter health careers
• recruiting health students to consider working in rural and underserved areas of the state by providing clinical experiences in these communities during their training
• retaining health professionals in these regions by providing accessible continuing education and professional development opportunities
This healthcare pathway effort has been very successful in Alaska, supporting 3,733 students to complete 7,999 clinical rotations across Alaska; reaching over 2,492 youth through engagement activities, and providing 505 continuing education opportunities to professionals. Since 2006, 1,089 students have graduated and employment locations were tracked through the State of Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD). According to DOLWD, 18% work in a rural borough or census tract, compared with national rural recruitment rates for new graduates of 8-12%.Alaska's small population and remote geography creates a challenge for recruiting and retaining a quality healthcare workforce, particularly in rural and underserved communities.The AHEC Program Office contracts with industry partners and health organizations that have created AHEC Centers, serving distinct geographic areas. The five current partners are: the Yukon Kuskokwim-AHEC at YKHC, Fairbanks-Interior Alaska-AHEC at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, the South Central-AHEC at the Providence Health and Services Alaska, the Northern AHEC at Ilisagvik College in Barrow, and the SouthEast AHEC at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.
Click here to go to the ACRH-AHEC main page: http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/acrh-ahec/index.cfm