Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) are committed to expanding the health care workforce, maximizing diversity and facilitating distribution, especially in underserved communities. AHECs were created by Congress in 1971 to increase the quantity, diversity and distribution healthcare professionals, especially in rural and underserved areas. Research has been shown that positive changes to these three areas increase access and improve the overall health of communities.
The West Central Alabama Area Health Education Center (WCA AHEC) seeks to improve health care delivery to Alabamians living in rural and medically underserved areas by increasing the quantity, diversity, distribution and quality of Alabama’s healthcare workforce. As a community-based non-profit organization, the WCA AHEC is designed to be responsive to local health needs, is committed to improving the quality of healthcare and serves as an important link between academic training programs and community-based outreach programs.
The WCA AHEC staff works with schools to prepare disadvantaged and underrepresented students for health careers and introduce students to wide assortment of health careers. We develop creative, hands-on, innovative learning opportunities for student to explore various health careers, many they never knew existed. We help coordinate shadowing opportunities, and offer student an opportunity to participate in college tours and health career summer camp. We also help place health profession students (college students currently enrolled in a health profession program) in clinical rotations serving rural and underserved populations. We offer transportation and housing reimbursement to students to help reduce the burden of In addition to working with student we provide continuing education offerings to healthcare providers work with individuals within our service areas. Offerings are designed to meet the needs of the rural and underserved communities and help healthcare providers keep their licenses current.