Alaska Center for Rural Health - Alaska's AHEC

PhotoThe Alaska Center for Rural Health (ACRH) was created in 1987 by rural health care providers, educators, and administrators. Our mission is to help strengthen systems to deliver comprehensive and culturally relevant health care to rural Alaskans. It serves all aspects of Alaska's rural health system: Native and non-Native, physical and behavioral, within all disciplines and settings in order to help solve our state's health care delivery problems.

In 2005, ACRH secured a federal designation through the Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA) to serve as Alaska's Area Health Education Center (AHEC) - the first nationwide to be awarded through a School of Nursing. The AHEC established a statewide university-industry partnership focused on strengthening, diversifying and improving distribution of our health workforce.

Specifically, it works in three distinct areas:

  • Encouraging Alaskans from disadvantaged backgrounds into health careers;
  • Coordinating clinical rotations, to encourage health professions students to secure employment in rural communities and/or with underserved populations; and
  • Providing access to continuing education and professional development opportunities for health workers to improve retention, especially in rural areas.

The ACRH - AHEC Program Office is housed within the Office of Health Programs Development at the University of Alaska Anchorage and is advised by the School of Nursing and the AHEC Steering Committee. In turn, the AHEC Program Office contracts with health industry partners that support and host AHEC Centers, serving distinct geographic areas. The AHEC Program Office and Centers work to synergistically bridge the gap between professional training programs and under-served populations.






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