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

1. From the Executive Director's Desk

Sequestration: 3/1/13
Dr. John Blossom, Director of the California AHEC Program, is quoted in this excellent article that outlines how sequestration would impact a rural health care provider. Please take a look by clicking here.

As you know, on March 1, 2013 "Sequestration" could occur, which means significant cuts to the entire government might happen, unless Congress acts. If they don't act, then across the board cuts will occur to virtually every federal program. While these cuts will vary in size, no discretionary programs are exempted, as we stated last week. At present we are unsure how this would impact the AHEC Program in terms of cuts and what the timeline of those cuts might be, though as soon as we know that information it will be shared.

In terms of advocacy and outreach, the NAO Public Policy Leadership Team will soon be releasing a series of Action Alerts to membership regarding Sequestration, the FY13 Continuing Resolution (which expires on 3/27/13), and FY14 budget process (which has not yet begun). Please stay tuned and be ready to act, especially if you are a designated "AHEC State Advocacy Leader." We'll need everyone on board and active for each of these alerts.

Congratulations to Meseret Bezuneh, MSEd, who was recently named AHEC Branch Chief. Ms. Bezuneh has worked in the AHEC Branch over the last 2.5 years, and knows the AHEC program very well!

For 12 years, Meseret served as the Vice President for Operations at the Anthony Jordan Health Center in Rochester, New York. She managed daily operations of this $10M federally qualified community health center with 160 staff. Following her move to Maryland from New York State, she served for 3 years as the Associate Director for Program & Community Development, University of Maryland Statewide Health Network within the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. She established statewide administrative and functional infrastructure of four regional offices covering 16 of the 23 counties of Maryland and Baltimore City. Then, in 2003, she moved on to be the Deputy Director of the Maryland AHEC program in Baltimore, MD, where she provided administrative and program leadership to the MD AHEC Program and the three AHEC Centers.

In 2010, Meseret was recruited to work at HRSA as a project officer in the AHEC Branch under Lou's leadership. In this role, she developed, managed, monitored, evaluated, and directed implementation of up to $30M in annual cooperative agreements, grants, and contracts for approximately 60 AHEC Program grantees nationwide working to improve access to health care in underserved areas. Meseret has a Master of Science and a Bachelor of Arts, both in Community Health Education from the State University of New York, College at Brockport.

Please join me in congratulating Meseret on her new role!

Help Wanted (Gentle reminder)
The job posting for the NAO Communications Consultant is here. Should you wish to apply or know someone who might be interested (please share widely) in this part-time position, please send (or have them send) a resume and brief cover letter to me ( expressing their interest in the position by February 26, 2013. The Communications Committee Co-Chairs and interested committee members and I will work together to identify qualified candidates and then undertake the interview process, with the hopes of having our Communications Consultant on board by early to mid-March 2013. I'm thrilled about this, and many thanks to the Communications Committee for all their hard work in helping to move this forward.

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


2. The NAO Spring Conference April 9 - 12, 2013
The event will take place at the Sheraton Crystal City in Arlington, VA. Please watch your e-mail for registration and meeting agenda information. We look forward to seeing you at the conference.

3. Reminder: Funding Opportunities
American Indian College Fund: Provides scholarships to American Indian and Alaska Native undergraduate Tribal College students. Deadline: May 31, 2013. For more information:

Health Professions Extern Program: Indian Health Service - Provides externship opportunities for Indian Health Service Scholarship recipients, as well as other health professions students. Deadline: March 1, 2013. For more information:

4. New VMH CE Toolkit Available Online!
Participating in the Veterans Mental Health Project? Have you looked at the NEW online toolkit yet? A-TrACC updated and reorganized the training materials from last year's Train-the-Trainer workshops and posted them on the website. These resources minimize the staff time and investment needed to offer these trainings, making it easier for AHECs of all sizes – even those with only 1 or 2 employees – to participate.
What is in the toolkit?

  • Guidelines and forms for collecting and reporting the registration & evaluation data required by this project
  • Program planning materials and resources
  • Learning objectives, agenda, slides, speaker notes and handouts for 1-hour and 4-hour trainings

The fully developed optional training curricula have been pre-approved by the Post-Graduate Institute for Medicine (PIM) for 1 and 4 hours credit respectively for physicians, nurses, social workers, marriage counselors, and family therapists.

Click here to check out the toolkit. Email with questions or feedback.

5. Next A-TrACC Webinars

The Suicidal Patient in Primary Care - Prevention Resources for Providers. Peggy West, PhD, MSW, Senior Advisor, Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and Julie Goldstein Grumet, PhD, Director of Prevention and Practice, SPRC.
VMH Webinar 307T-A.
February 20, 2 - 3 pm Eastern. Register.

Mining HRSA Performance Measures
This 2-part webinar will help AHEC center staff recognize and use DATA THEY ALREADY COLLECT to evaluate program performance and communicate with stakeholders. With input from over 30 AHECers who participated in work groups in Nov/Dec/Jan, A-TrACC developed tools that identify key data elements, evaluation measurements, and communication strategies for HCPP, CBSE and CE/PES.

Session A: Using Performance Measure Data to Improve Evaluation & Stakeholder Communication
February 26, 3 – 4 pm EST. Register

Session B: Digging Deeper into the Data Nuggets led by Amy Dunkak, Executive Director, Northeast Oregon AHEC, and Lori Millner, Ph.D., Executive Director, Texas AHEC East DFW Region.
March 19, 3 – 4 pm EST. Register


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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Executive Director Rob Trachtenberg | 414-908-4953 |

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