NAO Update
April 16, 2012

1. Message from the NAO President
Branding the Nation's AHECs

I am pleased to report that the National AHEC Organization has launched a new brand initiative. We embarked on this project approximately one year ago initially via a “Branding the Nation's AHECs” Ad Hoc Committee and later with Touchpoint Communications, LLC (marketing and communications consultant) to define and publicize AHECs' major areas of emphasis and strength, so as to position the national AHEC network for the future.

With your input (over 200 AHEC center directors, program directors and members of staff and boards participated in a survey followed by a focus group at the Fall 2011 NAO Meeting), the NAO was able to determine common themes within the diversity that is the national AHEC network. The strongest theme that emerged was AHEC's role in the local economy, connecting individuals to healthcare job opportunities.

This insight, combined with the national dialogue concerning joblessness AND healthcare access, helped us answer the question, “What does AHEC stand for?” and then led to the tagline: AHEC Stands for Jobs.

The importance of AHEC's role in connecting within communities became central to the development of a visual understanding of AHEC. Working with an award-winning graphic designer, the Ad Hoc Committee and Board of Directors were able to convey the notion that AHECs connect people to care, connect communities to healthy futures, and do so in a vibrant graphic. The resulting logo has been crafted to look thoroughly modern. The colors are consistent with the healthcare world, and work within many palettes found on AHEC websites and elsewhere. The NAO logo consists of the AHEC block graphic and the tagline “Stands for Jobs” and the National AHEC Organization name below the tagline.

This logo will be integrated within NAO (Monday Update, e-alerts, website, letterhead, annual report, brochure, etc.) incrementally and as quickly as possible. AHEC Centers and AHEC programs are encouraged to use NAO's AHEC Stands for Jobs logo in its entirety in public-facing materials (website, brochures, social media channels, etc). Two additional resources are also available. A press release has been developed that AHEC Centers and AHEC Programs can localize for local media. An info-graphic has been created to present on one page the impact of AHEC on the development of the healthcare workforce.

Guidelines for using the logo and tagline have been developed. The AHEC block graphic and tagline may be customized for use by an AHEC Center and/or AHEC Program by replacing the National AHEC Organization name with that of a center or program. I am very pleased to report that for a limited time period, South Carolina AHEC has agreed to cover the costs of customization (THANK YOU!). Please contact Ragan DuBose-Morris,, with your interest.

I am excited about this new graphic and brand for the National AHEC Organization. My appreciation to the following individuals who served on the Ad Hoc Committee on “Branding the Nation's AHECs” for a job well-done!

Tom Bacon
Mindy Bateman
Steve Boulanger
Ragan DuBose-Morris
Brenda Fitzpatrick
Gretchen Forsell
David Garr
Carol Giffin-Jeansonne
Janet Head
Rick Kiovsky

Mary Mitchell
Susan Moreland
Richard Perry
Marty Schaller
Steve Shelton
Patty Thornborough
Rob Trachtenberg
Kathy Vasquez
Mary Wainwright
Sharon Womack


Mary J. Sienkiewicz, MBA
President, National AHEC Organization
Director, New York State AHEC System

2. From the Executive Director's Office

Today I'm in Boston, watching Kenyan men and women runners again dominate the famed Boston Marathon while pining for my younger, faster self. Thankfully, due to a great many health professionals over the years (surgeons, chiropractors, physical therapists, and physicians—allopathic and osteopathic) I'm still able to run 50-60 pain-free miles each week and race occasionally. Not a day goes by that I don't realize how incredibly fortunate I am to have access to affordable high-quality care when I want, where I want, and with whom. This level of access, as we all know, is not something everyone in our country enjoys. Each day I get up heartened to know that every single AHEC Program and Center is working towards that same level of access and care for all and are making great strides through innovative programs, strategic partnerships, and vital community-based activities. We have an incredible national network that for 40 years has been working to improve health by leading the nation in the recruitment, training and retention of a diverse health workforce for underserved communities. Despite our funding challenges for FY13, I believe our greatest days are ahead of us, and I am working as hard as I can to develop the resources, strategic national partnerships, and opportunities to ensure that the AHEC Program is the "go-to organization" for healthcare professions. Thank you for all you do, and remember, AHEC Stands for Jobs!

Social Entrepreneurship Pilot Program Phase I
Richard Merchant, Executive Director of the Northern (NY) AHEC in Canton, NY, recently completed four of the initial five trainings to AHECs who were selected as part of the NAO Social Entrepreneurship (SE) Pilot Phase 1. He has one more training to do this week in Denver, CO and, based on feedback and evaluations of the first four, the SE Pilot Program is off to a great start! In each of the trainings to Center and Program Directors, board members, and AHEC staff, Richard has provided a comprehensive, integrated, and dynamic workshop that provides the necessary tools to launching a successful social enterprise initiative and developing a social enterprise business model. I'm thrilled to report that an SE Pre-Conference Workshop has been confirmed for the NAO San Antonio Conference this summer—please make every effort to attend. In a time of tight budgets, giving AHECs every resource to grow in an entrepreneurial way is simply smart business. Many thanks to Richard for traveling the country to do this important work, and to the SE Pilot Team—Rick Kiovsky, Program Director of the Indiana AHEC Program and Carol Giffin-Jeansonne, Executive Director of the Western Colorado AHEC—for providing excellent leadership in this initiative. Stay tuned for more information!

NAO 2012 San Antonio Conference
The conference registration for this summer's NAO Conference in San Antonio, Texas is now live! Please go here or go to and look for the link. Register as soon as you can. The San Antonio conference promises to be excellent, and I can't wait! Looking forward to seeing you all this summer.

Veteran's Health Initiatives
Please take a look at this Defense Centers of Excellence blog that highlights the work NAO and AHEC are doing, as part of the ATrACC HRSA contract. Many thanks to good partners Dr. James P. Kelly, Director of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, and Bob Goodale, Director of the Citizen Soldier Support Program, which is a Defense Department-funded program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

NAO, as an organizational partner in Mrs. Obama's Joining Forces Initiative, has created a list of activities that AHEC Programs and Centers may consider pursuing as related to Veteran's health issues, and are located here. Please take a look and see what might be a good fit for your Program or Center. I encourage you to do as much as you can, and please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Have a great week!

2. Register Online Now for the NAO Conference in San Antonio July 29-August 2, 2012!
Historic San Antonio, TX is the setting for our conference. Don't forget to mark your calendars for this exciting event. There will be plenty of networking opportunities and informative speakers on a variety of topics that will impact your center or program. This year's theme is: AHECs in the Changing Healthcare Landscape. Please go here or go to and look for the link.

3. 2011 NAO Annual Report and Updated NAO Brochure Soon Will be Available: Order your copies of the new NAO Annual Report and updated NAO Brochure. The theme for this year's annual report is “AHEC's Response to the Changing Healthcare Landscape.” The NAO Brochure includes updates for statistics that surround the AHEC “pipeline” graphic. Click here to get to the order form.

4. Upcoming A-TrACC Trainings

2012 Performance Measures
A-TrACC Webinar 218T-A&B. A-TrACC Field Guide Suggestions: Collecting and Reporting Community Based Student Education (CBSE) Activities for BHPr Performance Measures led by Mary Wainwright, A-TrACC Project Director, and Gretchen Forsell, A-TrACC Project Manager.
Register: April 17, 3 pm Eastern (repeat session)

AHEC Project for Veterans/Service Members & Families Mental & Behavioral Health
Veterans Mental Health – TA Webinar 211T-A: Working Miracles in People's Lives: Connecting the Faith Community and Behavioral Health Professionals to Help Service Members and their Families

Presenters Debbie Caton Rogers, Director, Mental Health Education, Eastern AHEC, Greenville, NC, and John Oliver, Chief of Chaplain Services and Clinical Pastoral Educ. Supervisor at the Assn. for Clinical Pastoral Education, Durham VA Medical Center, NC.

Register: May 1, 3:00 PM Eastern

5. Agriculture Education Health Grant Closes May 15, 2012
Rural Health and Safety Education focuses on: 1) Individual and Family Nutrition and Health Education providing: a) info on the value of good health at any age; b) info to increase motivation to take responsibility for their own health; c) info about and access to nutrition and health promo and educational activities; and d) training for volunteers and health services providers on nutrition and health promo and healthcare services in cooperation with state, local and community partners. 2) Farm Safety Education that provides info and training on safety in the workplace, including but not limited to: a) the prevention of occupational injury and death rates; b) the prevention of exposure to farm chemicals; and c) the prevention of agricultural respiratory diseases and dermatitis. 3) Rural Health Leadership Development Education that assists rural communities in developing nutrition and healthcare services and facilities that will provide maximum benefit for resources invested and assist community leaders and public officials in understanding their roles and responsibilities. Click here for details.


Mission Statement: The National AHEC Organization supports and advances the AHEC Network to improve health by leading the nation in the recruitment, training and retention of a diverse health workforce for underserved communities.

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Executive Director Rob Trachtenberg | 414-908-4953 |

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