NAO Update
October 1, 2012

1. Message from the President


It is my pleasure to greet you as your new President of the National AHEC Organization. I look forward to working on the many challenges and opportunities facing us this year.

Thanks to the work of your Board of Directors, Executive Director, and Committee Leadership, we are positioned well with a strong Strategic Plan guiding us to accomplish our mission. Over the past year we focused on Branding, Shared Vision, Culture of Evaluation and Learning, and National Programs as our priority areas.

We were successful in the completion of activities that developed a new brand and resulted in the creation of a new vision statement. This year we will continue working to increase our presence in the area of National Programs and adopting a Culture of Evaluation and Learning. In addition, the Board has agreed to put forth significant energy on Advocacy, Funding, Collaboration, and Capacity Building as our priority areas.

With your help, it is also my intent to strengthen the NAO network through the development and incorporation of a diversity agenda that will enhance the work we do around the country on behalf of students, health professionals, and medically underserved communities.

Please know that only with your help and support will we be able to continue to move the NAO network towards our vision as stated below.

"Our vision is that the AHEC network is the national leader in developing a highly competent and diverse health care workforce for underserved populations."

I am very hopeful that I will see many of you at our Fall Conference.

Yours in progress,

Mary Mitchell
NAO President

2. NAO Fall Meeting October 31-November 2, 2012: Don't Forget to Secure Rooms by October 4!
The National AHEC Organization's Fall Conference will be held October 30 (Board Meeting only) – November 2 at the Sheraton Crystal City Arlington, Virginia. This meeting is designed for center directors and program directors to connect with colleagues and learn about changes coming down the line for AHECs, as well as professional development and creating opportunities for collaboration and partnership.

The planned agenda includes presentations by the new HRSA leadership team on AHECs working with various bureaus in HHS, updates on performance measures, and Primary Care initiatives. There will be plenary speakers and panels addressing Inter Professional Education, Diversity in the Health Professions, and AHEC Sustainability. You will hear from NAO Leadership on Board activities and the Washington Update on legislative work. There will be over 2 hours of constituency group meetings, NAO Committee meetings, and opportunities for individual technical assistance.

We need every center director and program director "joining forces" at this meeting, for the solid future of our AHEC network!!

To secure rooms in the NAO room block, hotel reservations must be made before October 4 to receive the group rate of $169/night, as well as to make sure we have adequate meeting space. The National AHEC Organization leadership strongly encourages you to register soon, as prices will increase after the October 4 deadline. Availability is limited, so make your reservations now.

Click here for details.

3. From the Executive Director's Desk

I've been traveling quite a bit the last few weeks, and have had a number of productive conversations with Congressional members, NAO partners, and potential funders. In meetings in Washington, D.C. with House and Senate members of the Labor-HHS Appropriations Sub-Committee, I continued to press the point that the AHEC Program needs to funded at $33 million for FY13, and that the work AHECs do throughout country is vital to the health of the nation. I will be traveling a bit more to Washington in the coming weeks to meet with additional Congressional Members to ensure that the AHEC Program is a key priority area as we move into the new year. We'll all need to keep pushing on our Congressional members to ensure AHEC is on the right track. As I was told in D.C. recently, any Federal program that is still around in this economic and political environment has 2 things going for it: 1) It is a strong and effective program; and 2) it has a significant degree of support. It is essential that we never let support for the AHEC Program wane—meaning we all must regularly connect with our Congressional delegation and keep them informed of AHEC activities, successes and impact.

I've also had the opportunity to speak with a number of organizations that are or may become partners. As I describe the skills, the capacity, and the great work that AHECs are doing every day in every corner of the country, there is great interest in learning more and seeing how collaborative relationships can expand or develop. I've also started some initial conversations with possible funders, so stay tuned and I'll keep you all informed as we move forward. Please do let me know if you have any questions or ideas!


Congratulations to the University of Minnesota AHEC Program
The University of Minnesota Academic Health Center—where the MN AHEC is housed—was selected to become the new national coordinating center to provide leadership in the field of interprofessional education and collaborative practice among health professionals. Congratulations to Dr. Barbara Brandt and the Minnesota AHEC Program! Click here for the link to the HRSA announcement regarding the new coordinating center. I'm very excited to see the great work that will result from this new center!

PCORI Announces Call for Participation in Pilot Process for Prioritizing Specific Research Topics
SHORT TIMELINE: The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) recently announced a call for interested caregivers, providers, patients, methodology experts, healthcare researchers, and other stakeholders to participate in a pilot exercise evaluating PCORI's process of prioritizing research topics to be considered for funding. Those selected will play a vital role in reviewing and testing the process to ensure that it reflects PCORI's patient-centered approach of funding research that is steered by a broad range of stakeholders in the healthcare community. Thirty individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds will be selected and will participate in the following:

  • Three conference calls (October 11, October 29, November 5) reviewing, testing, and providing feedback on PCORI's proposed Process for Prioritizing Specific Research Topics.

  • "PCORI Methodology Workshop for Prioritizing Specific Research Topics" webcast (December 5) taking place in Washington, D.C. Participants will be sharing in-person their experience about the proposed PCORI process.

Statement of Interest deadline is October 1, 2012 by 5:00 PM ET.

  • View PCORI's announcement to complete and submit the Statement of Interest forms.

  • Submit any questions related to the application process to

NAO 2012 Fall Conference
Only about a month until the Fall NAO Conference in Crystal City, VA; please make every effort to attend this meeting! Click here to link to the conference website, where you can take a look at the agenda and register. This conference is particularly important to attend, as there will be a good number of opportunities to work with your AHEC colleagues, learn about emerging and important initiatives, and spend time with our HRSA partners. I lookforward to seeing YOU there!

Have a great week and looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks!



4. Call for Articles: 1st Draft Article Submission is due October 31, 2012
Theme: AHEC Collaborative Educational Innovations
The next edition of the Journal of the National AHEC Organization will focus on collaborative education and training strategies to improve the quality of and access to care for underserved communities. With budget cuts a constant threat, the need to collaborate with community organizations, educational partners, workforce investment boards, and state/national programs is critical. AHECs historically have been immersed in communities linking them to educational institutions and other training programs.

The Editorial Board is looking for articles that address these and other questions:

  • How does AHEC effectively train the healthcare workforce for the future using our linkages to education and training programs?
  • How can AHEC help clinics and community health centers address new patient-centered medical home, electronic health records, and telemedicine needs?
  • How does AHEC invest in the future healthcare workforce using our educational partnerships?
  • How does AHEC impact health professions schools' curricula?
  • How do educational partners help AHEC respond to emerging healthcare issues, such as Bioterrorism or Veterans' Health?
  • How can AHEC show the impact of training and educational programming to help secure more stable funding?

Articles on related topics, such as individual and institutional success stories relating to innovative education programs, strategic planning processes with educational partners, and effective evaluation solutions, are welcomed.

Please submit drafts, photos and accompanying materials to

Refer to the NAO website for Journal submission guidelines

Submission Cover Sheet must be included with the article.

5. Children's Health Webinar Thursday, October 11, 2012
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM MT (3:00 PM – 4:30 PM ET)
To register, click here. More than 12 million children in the U.S. (including infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers ages 3 to 5) spend a significant portion of their days in childcare settings. In this webinar you will learn about major environmental health issues in childcare settings and resources to promote and maintain environmental health; the National Health and Safety Performance Standards for Early Care and Education Settings; and Healthy Child Care America, a collaborative effort of health professionals and childcare providers working to improve the early education and health and safety of children in out-of-home child care. You will also learn about many resources for helping develop healthier learning environments and more effective caregivers in childcare centers and family childcare homes across the country. 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.

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

To submit an item, please click here. Deadline: Thursdays, noon CST.

NAO Resources
Links to new resources and information:

NAO Home Page |Upcoming NAO Meetings and Conferences |Committees
NAO Board |Membership Information |Contact Us