NAO Update
Provided as a NAO member benefit
August 19, 2013

1. From the Executive Director's Desk
Good Morning! Lots going on this week. NAO Board Chair Mary Mitchell and I are in Washington today and we have a full day of visits with staff from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and with HRSA senior staff to discuss the AHEC Program and Federal funding for FY14. Stay tuned for more information.

NAO has a very exciting opportunity on the way regarding the Affordable Care Act. We will know in the near future if NAO and the AHEC Network will have the opportunity to play a key role in providing technical assistance to AHECs throughout the country regarding the broad concepts and state-specific issues of the Health Insurance Marketplaces.

AHEC Programs and Centers may have the chance to be leaders in their communities regarding the collection, review and dissemination of promising and successful practices in providing education to health professionals about Health Insurance Marketplaces, along with promising recruitment and enrollment processes. Please begin to think about how your Program or Center could play a role in educating health professionals regarding the Health Insurance Marketplaces.

I know many of you have been thinking about ACA implementation and what it means for your communities for some time; this may be an opportunity to make a real difference in getting your provider base up to speed on the Marketplace in your state. Stay tuned for more information, and for additional perspective, please take a look at my blog at

Congress is on recess until September 3, 2013. While they are home it is a prime opportunity for your AHEC Program and Center to invite members to local events!
I am writing to request that AHEC Program/Center Directors share info on legislative outreach and visits with me; I will then disseminate the best stories and methods to our membership. The NAO Public Policy Leadership team and I believe this is a very effective way of increasing our national advocacy efforts.


What might happen if the House and Senate don't come to an agreement on the FY 2014 L-HHS Appropriations Bill?

  • A one-month continuing resolution (CR) with funding staying the same or a long-term CR (one year) will result. Since the L-HHS Appropriations Bill is the most controversial bill with many competing interests, it will be hard to gain consensus among Democrats and Republicans. The primary challenge is that party politics plus little effort to move fast on funding these bills is the current reality.

What can NAO and the AHEC Network do?

  • Keep members informed and abreast of the issues: We will do that!
  • Program and Center Directors need to keep themselves informed and stay involved.

How are we (NAO & the AHEC Network) doing in our advocacy efforts (a midsummer assessment)?

  • It is a success that AHEC programs were recognized by the Senate in their L-HHS Appropriations Bill, as it gives AHEC standing, especially when we begin advocating to the House
  • AHECs received an extra $1 million over FY12 to FY13
  • AHECs increased funding total by $1 million prior to sequester

You all deserve credit for what was accomplished; we have worked hard with colleagues in the Senate and on a bipartisan basis and we need to keep it up. Thank you for your continuing efforts!

St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse, NY is using Patient Navigators in an innovative way to drive patients to primary care doctors. As you know, the need for Patient Navigators is growing enormously right now and AHECs are increasing involvement in Navigator training.

Click here for more info.

Team training in medical school on the rise and is the primary care shortage worse than predicted? Click here to take a look at these two short articles from the AMA. I'm interested in your thoughts.

With many thanks to our Communications consultant Mike Plumb, traffic to the NAO website has increased dramatically, meaning more people are learning about the AHEC Program and NAO than in the past. Here's a brief rundown of some impressive stats Mike shared recently as a result of an analytic breakdown:

  1. Since the implementation of the new Home page and Directors blog, we have received about a 50% increase in traffic across the board. This means a lot of NAO members have begun visiting the site again for more than just looking at the AHEC Directory, and we have enjoyed a drastic increase in new people visiting the NAO site for the first time.
  2. The Directors Blog has jumped straight to the 5th most visited page on the site, and the Join NAO page has jumped to the 10th most visited page on the site. The Join NAO was only receiving maybe 5-10 visits a month, and jumped to 95 in just one month. I think that is very exciting to see (and corresponds with Membership Renewals).
  3. It is interesting to note that before the change, a little over half of all visits to the NAO website are from direct links to the site. That means that the page was bookmarked, or the URL was memorized, so we can assume that these visits are from NAO members who are regular visitors. After the change of the home page and directors blog, only 28.4% of people were from direct links. This change is not because fewer people were directly linking to the site; this is because so many people were visiting the sites from other sources that this number was simply reduced.
  4. The second-most visits from our site come from people using Google to find it. Before the change, 39.6% of people were finding our site from Googling it; after the change this jumped to 62.5%. This means that with the change, our website has enjoyed a sharp jump in Google search results. Searching for AHEC will show our website as number 1, where before it would show up as 3-4 quite often.
  5. We also have enjoyed a small boost of visits from referrals. This change mostly came from the directors blog links we have placed on our Facebook page pulling in more traffic.

In terms of the NAO Facebook page, over 500 people have now "Liked" the page and well over 100 people typically see one of our daily posts. Additionally, the blog now has a direct link from the Facebook page so you can jump from one to the other.

Have a great week, and I'll report on our DC visits next week.

2. NAO Members, Update Your Member Profile Please
Now is the perfect time to take a moment and update your NAO member profile to ensure that we have the most current information not only about you, but about each center and program office. To update your profile, please go to, log in using your member user id and password, and update your profile. If you forgot your user id and password, simply click on the blue box that says "I forgot my User ID and Password", and follow the instructions.

If you have AHEC staff that do not currently receive information from the NAO organization and are interested in doing so, please have your AHEC manager go to, click on the membership tab at the top, click on member profile update, log in and update their profile and add any additional staff names and e-mail addresses. To search for the manager at your AHEC who can add login accounts, click here. Once they have completed this process, an e-mail will be sent to the new staff with their own user id and password, and they will then have login access to the members only section of the NAO website. In the event that you or your AHEC manager have difficulty doing this, or if you are having trouble logging in, please contact our Customer Care department at, or (414) 908-4953 x450.

Thank you for helping us out and updating this important information.
Best Regards,
NAO Membership Committee

3. From A-TrACC
A-TrACC Webinar 315T-A. Perf. Measures 2013 - Suggestions for Aligning Data Fields.
Highly recommended for all grantee staff responsible for compiling and inputting data in the HRSA Electronic Handbook. The A-TrACC team will present this webinar to discuss suggestions for aligning data fields in the current A-TrACC Field Guide with the revised 2013 HRSA performance measure reporting tables.
Thursday, August 22, 3 to 4 pm Eastern: Register

We Broke 9,000!
As of August 15, reports received show that VMH CE training has reached 9,051 health professionals!! Keep up the fantastic work. Please send your reports to as soon as you complete the follow up evaluation. The goal is in sight!

4. Way to Go, Northern NY AHEC in Canton, NY

This Cross-State AHEC collaboration shows the value of AHEC for a medical student: a community-based, primary care, interprofessional learning opportunity caring for a vulnerable population. What more could you want! Thanks to the Northern NY AHEC from the MassAHEC Network.

To ensure that health professions students understand where healthcare providers are truly needed, and to foster cross-state AHEC collaboration, the Northern NY AHEC in Canton, NY coordinated a summer experience in upstate NY for a student from the MassAHEC/UMass Medical School's Rural Health Scholars. Kathryn Bailey, UMass Class of 2016, spent the summer at the North Country Children's Clinic with support from the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization. In her words: I've greatly enjoyed having full access to everything the clinic is working on. They are in the midst of implementing the Health Care for the Homeless federal grant and given my interest in homelessness and past research on its impacts on health and they are eager to let me be involved in the program development. I've had the chance to sit on their homelessness task force, draft the job description for the program coordinator, design the assessment tools, and write policy and procedures. It has been exciting to incorporate questions about housing instability - like crowding and multiple moves - into practice (considering I previously did research demonstrating their correlation with adverse child health outcomes). In addition to the homelessness program, I've had a chance to shadow a psychologist and NP, and brainstorm ways to better integrate nutrition counseling into clinical practice with their nutritionist. It's been a unique opportunity to explore an integrated primary care model from a management perspective. As an added bonus, I'm not far from the Adirondacks and had chance to do some hiking in the High Peaks!

5. Journal of the National AHEC Organization Seeks Articles
"AHECs: Successfully Adapting to Meet the Nation's Healthcare Needs." It's been 30 years since the Journal of the National AHEC Organization began documenting how AHECs have responded to meet the nation's evolving primary healthcare access needs through education, training, and other healthcare workforce initiatives. In this edition we continue this tradition by highlighting how AHECs are once again responding to changes in the fiscal, education, and healthcare environments.

The Editorial Board is looking for articles that address five important topics:

  1. Interprofessional Education (IPE)
    • How does providing IPE differ from previous educational activities at your AHEC?
    • What challenges have you overcome and do you have a success story to share?
    • How has this affected health professions student training?
  2. The Affordable Care Act
    • What role(s) will your AHEC play in its implementation?
  3. Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce
    • How is the workforce changing in terms of demographics, economics, student loan debt burden, and other ways?
    • How do AHECs encourage more diversity in the healthcare workforce?
  4. Social Entrepreneurship
    • What does social entrepreneurship mean in an AHEC context?
    • What role does a readiness assessment play for your AHEC in determining whether to pursue a social entrepreneurship strategy?
    • What challenges have you overcome and do you have a success story to share?
  5. Social Media
    • What is social media in an AHEC context?
    • How is your AHEC using social media?
    • What is the future for AHEC's use of social media?

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. Deadline: September 15, 2013 (1st Draft Article Submission)

6. AHECs: Extended Release/Long-Acting Opioid Education Activities
It is not too late to join in with AHECs around the U.S. and provide physician prescribers in your area with the FDA Extended Release/Long-Acting Opioids Education.
Many groups have signed on to offer this program to their learners. Costs are fully reimbursed and sessions are often being incorporated into already-scheduled programs such as Grand Rounds or Brown Bag Lunch sessions. Additionally, some AHECs are partnering with the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) to offer an additional hour of education specific to Addiction Medicine.

Two kick-off meetings have been held and provider faculty trainings are currently being scheduled.
More information can be gained at the CO*RE website: or contact the sponsor of this program, Kate Nisbet of Interstate Postgraduate Medical Association, 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.

©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 |NAO Board