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NAO Update
February 6, 2012

1. Message from the NAO President
Strategic Plan Update: In October, NAO Board Members and Committee Co-Chairs participated in a strategic planning session. We completed a SPOT analysis—Strengths, Problems, Opportunities and Threats and identified eight strategic focus areas for the next three years: Funding, Culture of Evaluation and Learning, Branding, Advocacy, National Programs, Collaboration with Partners, Shared Vision, and Building Capacity.

While all of the eight areas are important, we established priorities for this year (2012): Shared Vision, Branding, National Programs, and Culture of Evaluation and Learning. Our intent is to accomplish the goals and objectives set out in this plan by December 2012. The Board is reviewing progress monthly and will reconvene in the fall of 2012 to establish action priorities for 2013.

I am excited by this opportunity to be a part of the continued development of the National AHEC Organization, and continued support to NAO Centers and Programs. The new mission statement noted in Rob's report is the first action step realized! This year's tactical action plan as well as the overall strategic plan will require expertise and input from NAO Board Members, Committee Co-Chairs, and NAO members. I hope that each of you will think about getting involved with a workgroup and/or committee and will say “yes” when called upon to help. Thank you.

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

2. From the Executive Director's Office
I hope everyone who is writing AHEC 5-Year Proposals is coming to the end. I know it's been an arduous process, and I wish you all the best in finishing them up! Enjoy some well-deserved down time if you can once they are submitted.

I hope everyone got a chance to take a look at the terrific new NAO Mission Statement last week. Please feel free to share widely! It is now posted to the NAO website. Here it is again:

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.

Last week, the NAO Public Policy Leadership Team completed a mini strategic planning meeting to prepare for FY12 and FY13, and it's clear that advocacy and regular and consistent outreach (both in Washington and at home) to your Congressional Delegation will continue to be vitally important for the AHEC network. We are committed to making progress towards the full Congressional authorized AHEC appropriation of $125 million annually in an incremental fashion. For FY13, our message is that AHEC should be funded at $75 million. We will ask our network of state AHEC Advocacy Leaders to coordinate advocacy efforts starting very soon, and I am sure you can count on a good number of alerts coming out from NAO over the course of the year. We saw the impact of those alerts and your hard work this past year with AHEC being funded at $30.142 million for FY12. It will take—and will continue to take—an "all-hands-on-deck" approach to ensuring that the AHEC Program is appropriately funded. We'll continue to provide the tools for effective advocacy to make your job easier. I'll also be spending a good deal of time in Washington in the next few months on the Hill meeting with key Congressional Committees and Members, and will report here the outcome of those meetings.

In terms of state AHEC Advocacy Leaders: I still need a few more: Florida, Kentucky, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Washington (state). Please let me know as soon as possible who the Advocacy Leader will be for these states. It's vitally important that we have the country covered in terms of coordinated advocacy efforts, especially as we're gearing up to make our pitch. Please let me know if you need any more information regarding the role of the Advocacy Leader; happy to answer any questions!

Finally, please make every effort to attend one of the remaining Veterans' Mental Health Train-The-Trainer Workshops: For more information and the complete workshop schedule visit the A-TrACC website. To view recordings of past VMH webinars visit the A-TrACC Vets Mental Health Resource Room. For more information, contact NAO, as you know, is getting more engaged in a variety of ways with Veterans' health issues, and a strong AHEC presence at the workshops is very important. Beyond the obvious in terms of improved health for the many Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, there are increasing partner, policy and potential funding implications for NAO and the AHEC network. I'm headed to the Baltimore, MD Train-the-Trainer workshop toward the end of the month and I can't wait to participate and learn more. Hope to see some of you there!

Have a great week!

3. Upcoming A-TrACC Trainings
AHEC Project for Veterans/Service Members & Families Mental & Behavioral Health
Veterans Mental Health – TA Webinar 208T-A: Traumatic Brain Injury
Dr. James P. Kelly, B.A., M.S., M.D., Director, The National Intrepid Center of Excellence, a component center of the Defense Centers of Excellence, will discuss the incidence of TBI in service members and explain strategies service members and their families use to overcome problems. Dr. Kelly is a neurologist and one of America's top experts on treating concussions.
Register: February 23, 1:30 PM ET

2012 Performance Measures
A-TrACC Webinar 216T-A&B. A-TrACC Field Guide Suggestions: Collecting and Reporting Continuing Education (CE) for BHPr Performance Measures - a component of AHEC Professional Education and Support Activities led by Mary Wainwright, A-TrACC Project Director, and Gretchen Forsell, A-TrACC Project Manager.
Register: Feb. 27, 3:00 PM ET
Register: March 2, Noon ET (repeat session)

Train-The-Trainer Workshops
February 28 & 29 are the dates for the FREE Veterans Mental Health Workshop in Buffalo. Why not go early or stay longer to experience Niagara Falls in winter—you're only 20 minutes away. Experience the thunder and spray of the falls in a spectacular winter wonderland setting.

At the workshop you will learn how to organize continuing education programming for civilian healthcare providers on the behavioral/mental health issues of veterans and service members returning from combat. Every center sending staff can get up to $1000 to support CE offerings on this topic.

Contact Mary Craig to register.

For more information and the complete workshop schedule, visit the A-TrACC website. To view recordings of past VMH webinars, visit the A-TrACC Vets Mental Health Resource Room. For more information contact

4. Have You Taken Action on the National AHEC Organization Award Nominations?
An Invitation to the AHEC Community to Recognize Our Most Outstanding Projects and Individuals
The NAO Awards Committee is now accepting nominations for the NAO Awards for Excellence, which will be presented at the 2012 National AHEC Workshop in San Antonio.
At each of the bi-annual national workshops, the National AHEC Organization recognizes projects and individuals that epitomize the AHEC spirit of excellence in five major categories:

We encourage you to visit the NAO Awards website ( and click on the individual award categories to review the criteria and instructions for nominating candidates. Only NAO members are eligible for awards, and you may nominate yourself, as sometimes, you are the person/organization who best knows your work. No individual or organization may receive more than one award in any one year.
The deadline for nominations is March 14, 2012.
For further information about the 2012 NAO AHEC Awards, please contact either of the Awards Committee co-chairs:

Suzanne Matthew, PhD
Northern Wisconsin AHEC
Ph: 715-849-2432

Tom Bacon, DrPH
North Carolina AHEC Program
Ph: 919-966-8981

5. Support for Heart Health Programs
AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation: Connections for Cardiovascular Health
The mission of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation's program, Connections for Cardiovascular Health, is to improve cardiovascular health within the United States. Through the program, grants of $150,000 and more are awarded to U.S.-based nonprofit organizations for initiatives that address patient cardiovascular health issues, work to address unmet needs related to cardiovascular health in the community, respond to the urgency around cardiovascular health issues, and improve patients' lives in connection with the services provided. In addition, initiatives should be focused on measurable results and the recipient organizations must be able to demonstrate sustainability of their programs after the Foundation grant funds are expended. The application deadline is March 15, 2012. Visit the Foundation's website to review the funding guidelines and submit an online application.

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.

© National AHEC Organization | 7044 S. 13th Street, Oak Creek, WI 53154 | 414-908-4953 x131|
Executive Director Rob Trachtenberg | 414-908-4953 |

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