The Massachusetts Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Network is a statewide system of six regional offices, in collaboration with the Office of Medical Education at Boston University School of Medicine and a network office at UMass Medical School.
Each regional AHEC office is hosted by a local not-for-profit agency or the city health department with local advisory boards who provide guidance and input and assure the Center's responsiveness to local health care workforce needs.
The MassAHEC Network addresses the concern of health disparities in the Commonwealth with a focus on three areas of workforce development:
Ensuring a culturally competent, skilled health care workforce.
This is accomplished through training, certificate and continuing education programs with topics responsive to local concerns. More than 6000 health care professionals are trained each year, with sessions that include medical interpreter training, a college credit program for community health workers, comprehensive, interdisciplinary programs on HIV/AIDs and continuing education programs for physicians, nurses, mental health professionals, and others.
Ensuring that all residents of the Commonwealth have access to quality health care delivered by a skilled health care workforce.
This is accomplished by providing health professions students with experiences in underserved areas including rural health care, urban situations, correctional health, elder care and other community based opportunities.
Ensuring that the diversity of the health care workforce reflects the diversity of the population it serves.
This is accomplished through efforts to reach students in middle and high schools, giving them the opportunity to explore the many varied careers in health care, providing tutoring and academic assistance and assisting them with applications to college or certificate programs. Specific recruitment efforts focus on Latino and African American men and women interested in nursing.
Commonwealth Medicine and MassAHEC Network:
The MassAHEC Network is part of the Center for Health Policy and Research (CHPR). CHPR's mission is to promote and conduct applied research, evaluation, quality improvement, education and training aimed at informing policy decisions and advancing practice to improve the health and well-being of people served by public agencies. CHPR sits within a division of UMass Medical School called Commonwealth Medicine. The mission of Commonwealth Medicine is to partner with state agencies and provide the research and education necessary for quality service delivery to the populations served by state health and social services agencies– basically disadvantaged and underserved populations.