NAO Update
July 2, 2012

1. Message From the NAO President

San Antonio, July 30—August 2, 2012: "AHECs and the Changing Healthcare Landscape"
NAO's biennial conference is just four weeks away. There is still time to register and hotel rooms are available. Click here

Don't miss this opportunity to connect with your AHEC peers from across the country. As we all grapple with funding challenges, there is much to learn from each other. This opportunity only comes every other year.  Just when we might think we need to save money or think that we do not have enough timewe really need to invest in our future!

The NAO website provides all the details on this exciting conference. I look forward to seeing you there!

Federal Funding
FY12: Over the past month, we have been communicating with HRSA upon discovering a discrepancy between the $30.1 million appropriated by Congress for AHEC in FY12 as compared to the $27.2 million designated as FY12 Enacted in the President's FY13 budget documents. An initial response from HRSA informed us that the HHS Secretary's transfer authority applied nearly $3 million of AHEC funding to the World AIDS Day Initiative. Follow-up correspondence to Dr. Mary Wakefield, HRSA Administrator, requested that she ask the Secretary to reconsider her transfer decision. As of this writing, we are still awaiting a response. The Public Policy Leadership Team will be reaching out to AHEC Advocacy Leaders in selected states (with House and/or Senate members on the Appropriations Committees) to share our concern.

FY13: THANK YOU to AHEC Centers and AHEC Programs for your communication with Senators about the value of AHEC's contributions to the federal government's health workforce priorities. As a result of your efforts, AHEC funding was included in the Senate's Labor, Health and Human Services (L-HHS) bill.The next step requires the exact same level of urgent communication with Representatives regarding the House L-HHS bill mark up.

NAO's Public Policy Leadership Team (Co-Chairs of Public Policy, Advocacy Co-Chairs, President, President-Elect, Immediate Past President, Executive Director and Health and Medicine Counsel of Washington) continues to meet regularly to advance NAO members' federal funding interests.

Supreme Court Ruling
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Chief Justice Roberts, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, found the individual mandate to be constitutional based on the congressional powers to tax and spend. The Supreme Court ruling means that PPACA will remain largely unchanged, including patient care provisions such as coverage for pre-existing conditions and the elimination of caps on insurance benefits. As you will recall, the PPACA reauthorized AHEC and this language also remains unchanged.

NAO's representative in D.C., Health and Medicine Counsel of Washington, has informed us that: "The only change following this ruling regards Medicaid. Under PPACA, if states do not implement new requirements included in the law, then the federal government would be able to withhold the full federal portion of Medicaid funding. The Supreme Court ruled, however, that the federal government could only withhold funding associated with the new provisions, and therefore must continue to provide funding to states for its pre-PPACA requirements."

Mary Sienkiewicz
NAO President

2. Veterans Mental Health Project SPOTLIGHT!
Chris Guastaferro, Executive Director of the AHEC of Southwest Oregon, has the following VMH experience to share.

What emerged out of the Pacific NW Vets Mental and Behavioral Health Train the Trainer Workshop was the spark to an unforeseen collaboration. Who knew that after the Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and North Dakota AHECs convened, there would be potential for working together not only for this project but in future projects. The AHEC of Eastern Washington has developed a web portal designed to be useful to both professionals (healthcare, mental health, social work, AHEC, etc.) and veterans and their families. Currently the site is a growing source of resources and outreach education (live webinars, archived webinars, and links to other training opportunities). The NW consortium is building a framework around this portal to meet the objectives of the A-TrACC project. However, more importantly, it will provide ongoing support for medical professionals and others interested in learning more about issues and support services for veterans and their families. We're currently investigating ways to create efficiencies in marketing and reporting. Please visit the portal at

Share your plans, activities, and successes, in the Monday Update. Send a 100-word or less description of what you are doing to Attach supporting materials or include links to online resources. These will be featured in the Monday Update on a regular basis.

3. Upcoming A-TrACC Trainings

Vets Mental Health Train-The-Trainer 5-Hour Workshop to be Held During the NAO Conference – Last Chance!
Come experience the training that over 200 AHEC staff from more than 130 Centers have already attended. Learn how to organize CE for civilian healthcare providers on the behavioral/mental health issues of veterans and service members. By attending, your center can participate in the nationwide AHEC commitment to the A-TrACC Veterans Mental Health Project; however, you will not be eligible to receive the additional financial assistance offered earlier this year to those attending the 10 regional workshops.
Tues., July 31 from 1:45 to 5:45 pm & Wed., Aug. 1 from 8:45 to 9:45 am – NAO National Conference, San Antonio, TX

  • Participants MUST attend all Sessions
  • Separate Pre-Registration is Required
  • Email to Sign Up
  • For more Information Click Here.

Next Veterans Mental Health Webinar August 7
A-TrACC TA Webinar 213T-A. The Story of War & Warriors & Rural Mental Health led by Harold Kudler, MD, Mid-Atlantic Veterans Health Care Network Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, Duke University Medical Center.
Register: August 7, 3:00 PM Eastern

4. "Gift Basket" Donations Needed for the 2012 NAO San Antonio Conference
The Membership Committee is putting out a Call to all AHECs planning to attend the NAO 2012 San Antonio Conference in July. As we have done in the past, we are asking AHEC Centers and/or Programs to provide a small "gift basket" of some sort to be provided as door prizes throughout the conference (no more than $50 please). Be creative and fun—make the gift reflect something about your state or region. It could be something as small as a gift certificate (though it would need to be one that could be used by someone from any other state) or something larger. We do want to respect the fact that airlines now charge for extra bags and extra weight—so your gift should be a "packable" size (both for you in transporting the gift and for the person who wins your gift). This is always a fun part of the conference, so think "out of the box" here. If you are planning to bring a gift, please e-mail Sharon Womak ( ), Membership Committee co-chair, so we can keep a running list of how many items we will have. If you wish to ship the gift basket directly to the hotel, please contact Paul Rossmann or Karen Olsen at NAO Headquarters for directions.

5. The K-20 Promising Practices Database Seeks Your Information
For some time now, you have been asking for a way to share ideas and replicate successful K-20 initiatives with other members. The Education Committee is very pleased to offer a way for all of us to do exactly that. We would like you to share your Center or Program initiatives for elementary, middle school, high school, or college/university students. Specifically, we would like to publish programs that focus on youth recruitment into health careers, health promotion and wellness activities, or enrichment programs in sciences, math or more, and workforce development certification programs in the public health or health careers pipeline. Please click here and enter your information. You will also see an option to search the database as well if you would like to view other AHECs' information. If you have any questions or concerns, please direct them to our Education Committee Co-chairs, Mary Craig at, or Gloria Pressley McGruder at


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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