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NAO Update
January 4, 2012

1. From the Executive Director's Office
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful break! I look forward with you to 2012, and great things for NAO and the AHEC Program. Not much to report right now, but lots in the pipeline and I'll be reporting on a great many AHEC and NAO initiatives and projects very soon. Please be sure to send me a one-pager regarding your state's data/outreach activities, as well as let me know who your state's advocacy leader will be if I haven't heard from you yet.

My very best to you and your family for a Happy and Healthy New Year!

2. Upcoming A-TrACC Trainings

Program Evaluation
A-TrACC Online Discussion 206D-A. Sharing AHEC Logic Models.
January 9, 3 PM ET
Toll Free: 1-800-857-5166
Participants Code: 2828788#
Moderated by A-TrACC Project Director Mary Wainwright with contributors Elyse Perweiler, Director, New Jersey AHEC Program, and Terrell Zollinger, Professor, Dept. of Public Health & Assoc. Director, Bowen Research Center, Indiana University School of Medicine. For an example of an AHEC Logic Model developed by CDC Evaluation Director Tom Chapel and to download other materials prior to attending the webinar, please link to this site:  If your AHEC program has a logic model that you are willing to share with the group, please send it to by Jan. 6.

AHEC Project for Veterans/Service Members & Families Mental & Behavioral Health
Veterans Mental Health – TA Webinar 207T-A: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
January 26, 3 PM ET
Register: )
Toll Free: 1-800-857-5166
Participants Code: 2828788#
Lieutenant Commander Erin Simmons, PhD, will discuss signs and symptoms of PTSD, the incidence of PTSD in veterans/service members deployed since 09/2011, and assessment measures for practitioners to use in making referrals to behavioral health specialists. Simmons is a clinical psychologist in the US Navy who has served two tours of duty in Iraq and was recently appointed Junior Psychologist for the Year.

3. Don't Forget to Mark Your Calendars for the NAO Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX July 29-August 2, 2012
Plan on enjoying networking opportunities and informative presentations on a variety of topics! Stay tuned for more details on this exciting conference!

4. Reminder: Online Call for Presentations
The Conference Planning Committee for the National AHEC Organization (NAO) 2012 Conference invites you to submit a proposal for a concurrent session or poster presentation for the conference scheduled for July 29–August 2, 2012 in San Antonio, TX.

The conference theme for 2012 is AHECs in the Changing Healthcare Landscape. The goals of the conference are: 1) to provide practical skills and information to implement or improve AHEC-sponsored programs; 2) to enhance the professional development of AHEC directors, staff and board members; and 3) to enable participants to develop new approaches that advance the AHEC mission.

Proposals are to be submitted online this year. Please click on the following link to access the online submission system:

Note that the deadline for submission is January 23, 2012.

5. AHEC and Jobs
Don't forget! Career opportunities can be advertised on the NAO website for FREE! Non-members will only pay $100 per listing. Click here for details.

6. Looking for Your AHEC Stories: Deadline for Abstracts is January 20, 2012
The National AHEC Organization is compiling data and stories for the 2011 Annual Report, which gets published in 2012. This annual publication highlights the wide range of programs that AHEC provides the current and future healthcare workforce. Interested in having your AHEC's success story included in the 2011 edition? Develop a 50-word abstracting touting one of the services your AHEC provides:

  1. Health Careers Promotion/Preparation; P-16+ Pipeline
  2. Health Professions Students/Residents Training; Community-Based Education
  3. Health Professionals Recruitment and Retention; Practice Entry and Support
  4. Continuing Education
  5. Health Literacy/Promotion
  6. Health and Community Development
  7. Healthcare Workforce Planning and Assessment

The theme of this year's report is “AHEC's Response to the Changing Healthcare Landscape.” Highlight innovative processes, new methods for data collection and reporting, or share how federal stimulus funds have enabled your AHEC to continue providing essential services. If your AHEC's abstract is accepted, you will be asked to provide a 300-word article and photo (or graph) within a two-week period. E-mail abstracts to by Friday,
January 20, 2012.

7. Potential Collaboration between NAO and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

National MS Society Project: Increase Access to MS Care in Rural and Other Underserved Areas

Relationship to the Society's Strategic Response Plan for 2011-2015: We develop, deliver, and leverage resources to enhance care for people with MS and quality of life for all those affected by the disease.

Defining our Scope
Rural: for the purposes of this project, the use of the term 'rural' represents those individuals who reside in rural areas which are also designated as medically underserved areas.

Underserved: the term, ‘underserved communities' is used to refer to any and all groups which may be considered disproportionately at-risk of not having reasonable access to MS care. These demographic risk-factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Uninsured or underinsured individuals
  • Cultural and/or ethnic disparities
  • Transportation barriers

Description of the Initiative
The objectives of the project are to increase MS healthcare services, expand the number of healthcare practitioners, and improve access to specialized MS care in rural areas and for others who are underserved. Results will be realized through the successful implementation of the following strategies:

  • Increasing the availability of healthcare professionals with knowledge and competency in MS care, through recruitment, training and engagement activities;
  • Effective networking of MS healthcare providers with existing rural practitioners;
  • Partnering with existing health organizations which have demonstrated success in outreach, training and engagement of rural healthcare professionals*
  • Optimizing technologic advancements to reduce or eliminate barriers to access;
  • Increasing our outreach efforts in rural and other underserved areas;
  • Expanding and improving upon our current methods of engaging and responding to residents in rural and other underserved areas

*Area Health Education Centers are recognized as valuable and successful models of effective outreach and training for healthcare professionals. Several of the Society's regional and chapter staff currently collaborate with AHECs in their geographic areas to develop and promote educational programs for healthcare practitioners involved in MS care. The National MS Society is interested in furthering our collaborative efforts with AHECs to advance MS training to healthcare professionals in both rural and other underserved areas.

Project Structure
The National MS Society has approved and adopted this initiative; it is identified as a priority for all entities of the Society to achieve tangible and measurable gains during the 2011-2012 years with the potential to continue to engage in this initiative in successive years.

Society staff members, known as Regional Liaisons, serve as the conduits of information and drivers of change for this initiative at the regional level. The efforts of the six regional teams are coordinated by a national implementation team lead by Dorothy Northrop, Vice President of Continuing Care Initiatives, and Lisa Taylor Skutnik, Executive Vice President of Clinical Programs for the Society.

For more information about this initiative, please feel to contact either Dorothy or Lisa at the National MS Society:
Dorothy Northrop Lisa Taylor Skutnik

Telephone: 212-476-0454
Telephone: 212-476-0409

© 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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