NAO Update
Provided as a NAO member benefit
July 8, 2013

1. From the Executive Director's Desk
I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing Fourth of July Holiday. There is much to cover in this week's Monday Update. Please be sure to read closely.

Changes to the National AHEC Network
I am writing to apprise you of some recent unfortunate developments with four of our AHEC Programs. The Oklahoma, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, and Iowa AHEC Programs will all be undergoing significant changes in the very near future.

At the end of this August, the Iowa AHEC Program Office and its Centers will be closing their doors for good. With limited non-Federal resources and no HRSA process yet established for transitioning AHECs from U76-U77 status (Infrastructure Development to Point of Service/Maintenance Enhancement), the leadership at the Iowa AHEC made the decision to close up shop and consider what the next steps may be to support the people of Iowa.

In terms of the Oklahoma, Mississippi and Puerto Rico AHEC Programs, the affiliated academic health science centers made the decision in FY12 to end their respective affiliations with the AHEC Program for multiple reasons. With no Federally-supported AHEC competitive process for FY13, the Oklahoma, Mississippi and Puerto Rico AHEC Programs have no avenue to seek Federal support to continue their AHEC Programs at other interested institutions. As of this writing I do not know what their short- and long-term plans are. In any event, Oklahoma, Iowa, Mississippi and Puerto Rico may not be recognized AHECs in any capacity at the close of this current fiscal year.

It's hard not to be discouraged by this development, and it underscores the importance of maintaining a close, open, aligned and collaborative relationship with leadership at the AHEC-affiliated academic health science centers. While I know the AHEC leaders in each of the above states certainly did that, and did it well, I would be remiss if I did not remind you that continually keeping leadership informed (Deans and Chairs) of the value of AHEC to the institution is critical. Regularly demonstrating the ROI, if you will, is but one way to ensure that your AHEC Program is well supported and integral to the success of your academic health science center. Additionally, making certain that you continue to reach out to your elected officials—local and Federal—is always good practice.

These are difficult and uncertain times. Our national network has been challenged before and it will no doubt be challenged again. I am certain that we will become stronger in the future, though for now, I am saddened by these recent developments and will miss working with good friends and valued colleagues in each of the affected states.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Advocacy for FY14 Funding
Thank you for your continued advocacy efforts to secure FY14 Federal Funding for the AHEC Program. You will see a new Action Alert tomorrow that outlines the need to continue reaching out over the next four weeks to your Congressional Delegation. A portion of that Alert is below:

"Great work on making initial contact with your members of Congress. It is important to continue reaching out to your legislators over the next 4 weeks, especially in the Senate, as they meet to discuss and decide appropriations for Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) for fiscal year 2014."

Background & Issue
It is important for all members of Congress to hear from AHEC state leaders; center directors, members, and beneficiaries of the National AHEC Organization (NAO); and students affiliated with the AHEC program as they begin the appropriations process for fiscal year 2014 (FY14), impacting financial support for AHEC programs. Due to the fact that the President's FY14 budget proposal, released to Congress on April 10, provided zero funding for the AHEC program, it is vital that all get involved. While many of you have initially contacted your legislators, it is important to continue following up with them as the time for members to discuss and decide appropriations for the AHEC program is drawing near. The main goals are to reach out to key legislators of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (L-HHS) Committee and to additional members of Congress, asking them to urge their House/Senate L-HHS Appropriators to support full funding for the AHEC program at $33.142 million in the FY 2014 L-HHS Appropriations bill.

New NAO Website Homepage
I'm pleased to announce that the NAO website will have a newly designed homepage, effective July 15. NAO Communications Consultant Mike Plumb has been hard at work in refining the website to make it easier to navigate. Mike also did quite a bit of excellent work in clearing out dated material. Please take a look; I look forward to your feedback.

Potential Funding Opportunity
NAO is partnering with the George Washington University (GWU) Cancer Institute on its application for a five-year cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "National Support to Enhance Implementation of Comprehensive Cancer Control Activities." The purpose of the project is to develop and provide formal training sessions and technical assistance to National Comprehensive Cancer Control grantees and their partners to reduce the burden of cancer. The hope is that 2 AHECs in each of the 10 Comprehensive Cancer Control Program regions (click here to see the map) would be interested in participating and would facilitate roundtables that will aid in the integration of comprehensive cancer with chronic disease efforts. GWU would provide an agenda and structure for the roundtable and AHEC sites would do the coordination, logistics, hosting, and facilitation of the roundtable. AHECs would be responsible for inviting state comp cancer stakeholders and related chronic disease partners to the event. GWU has budgeted for 15 total AHECs to receive $4k each. Five AHECs would host roundtables in year 2, five in year 3, and five in year 4 for a total of 15 sites hosting 15 roundtables. If you'd like additional information, please let me know. If you know definitively that you are interested, please send a letter of support on your letterhead with signature to Elisabeth Reed,, or fax to 202-994-1714 by end of day on Friday, July 12.
Click here for a template. To express interest, AHECs must use the template.

Is GME Snubbing Rural America?
Click here to see an interesting article and interview featuring our colleague Dr. Candice Chen from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services discussing why young physicians won't practice in rural areas. It's worth a look.

Pew Charitable Trust: "In Search of Dental Care"
The Pew Charitable Trust, a partner in the Sullivan Alliance (of which NAO is a member) to address dental disparities, released a new issue brief called "In Search of Dental Care" on June 25. Please click here to see it. It's worth a look.

Congratulations to NEOMED AHEC (OH)!
Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) and Northeast Ohio Region III AHEC Receive AmeriCorp Grant!
As part of NEOMED's pipeline efforts to provide academic and career support to disadvantaged individuals, 20 AmeriCorps members will be associated with four NEOMED and AHEC center sites that allow serving rural populations of youth and train and recruit students for STEMM-based medical/health careers—thus contributing to breaking the cycle of high unemployment and poverty in these communities. Working with each AHEC center partner sites in Akron, Canton and Youngstown from 2013-2016, AmeriCorps members will develop and support a K-16 to health professions practice pipeline program through the Health Professions Affinity Committee (HPAC) model* to encourage students from various Northeast Ohio communities to remain 'home' in the practice of health professions and other STEM+M professions and to provide the critical parental training and then family training for success.

Have a great week!

2. From A-TrACC

VMH Webinar 313. AHECs & CSSP Partner to Promote Online VMH Training Options. All AHECs can continue to improve behavioral health access and services for veterans by referring providers to the free CSSP online courses. Each AHEC has been assigned a unique web link for accessing the courses. Providers using your link to access and complete the course are tracked so that they can be included in your CE reports. This outreach extends the impact of the national AHEC Veterans Mental Health Project and increases awareness of the tremendous work AHECs have done in the past 2 years. This is something every AHEC in the country can do! Tools and methods for encouraging targeted providers to take the online courses will be shared.
Monday, July 22, 3 to 4 pm Eastern: Register

VMH Training Reports Needed ASAP!
Thanks to those who have sent their data and to those who have contacted us about when we can expect your reports. If we have not yet heard from you, please contact us and/or send your reports to ASAP. Not sure if your AHEC has outstanding reports? These spreadsheets list all trainings for which we still need data.
Click here for a list of trainings by date.
Click here for a list of trainings by state.
A-TrACC cannot accept reporting after September 29, 2013. If your training is in July, August or September, we must get reports as soon as you complete the follow up evaluation.

3. Northwestern CT AHEC Requesting Proposals from AHECs Interested in Participating in theYouth Mental Health First Aid Corps
NWCTAHEC seeks AHECs to participate in the Youth Mental Health First Aid Corps by serving as the host site for a full-time AmeriCorps member. AmeriCorps members will be trained as Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructors and will implement Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings for a wide cross-section of community members who work with young people.
The Youth Mental Health First Aid Corps is made possible through an award from the Corporation for National and Community Service AmeriCorps National Direct.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based training program that helps individuals and communities respond appropriately to young people who may be experiencing a mental health issue. In the aftermath of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, President Obama and other national, state and local leaders are calling for the widespread implementation of Youth Mental Health First Aid as a strategy to improve access to mental healthcare services for young people suffering from mental illness.

The national network of AHECs is uniquely positioned to provide AmeriCorps members with the resources necessary to bring about positive sustainable change in a community's ability to improve access to mental health care. Building synergy between the AmeriCorps mission of mobilizing volunteers to create solutions to our nation's toughest challenges with the AHEC mission to improve access to health care for vulnerable populations will position AHEC as a national leader responding to pressing community healthcare issues.

Click here to download a copy of the Youth Mental Health First Aid Corps Request for Proposals.

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 |

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