NAO Update
Provided as a NAO member benefit
November 4, 2013

1. From the Executive Director's Office
As I mentioned last week, this is my favorite time of year. It's also a time of significant transition--warm to cold; light to dark outside to inside (mostly)--and as NAO has transitioned from one board chair to another. Our immediate past president Mary Mitchell and our new board president Dr. John Blossom would each like to share a short sentiment and reflection regarding their service to NAO and to the AHEC Network.

Note from Immediate Past Board Chair Mary J. Mitchell
What a difference a year makes. In the lives of many folks in the Northeast last year at this time, we were dealing with the devastation and destruction of Hurricane Sandy. For this particular New Yorker, I was on calls with the NAO Executive Leadership to cancel our Fall Conference, which would have been my first opportunity to meet and greet you all as your new NAO President. Many thanks go to the Executive Committee members, our Executive Director, and Paul Rossmann for working with me through that most difficult time.

The year went on, as your Board and Committee Co-Chairs worked on further implementation of our strategic plan priorities for the year (Funding, Advocacy, Collaboration, Capacity Building). We also maintained and increased activity on the development of a Culture of Evaluation and Learning. In addition, we initiated the development of a major document in response to the President's Affordable Care Act (ACA) indicating the kind of work currently underway throughout the NAO Network of programs and centers which are well aligned with the ACA. My appreciation to each and every one of you who contributed to this process. A special thank you goes to Mary Sienkiewicz, who worked with me to finalize the document for presentation. As a result, our A-TrACC program has been funded by HRSA to implement activities through our network under ACA. Stay tuned for more on this.

We then began working on our Spring Meeting, which was quite a success in Arlington, Virginia. There were excellent speakers and very productive meetings, including for the first time a Diversity Committee meeting. Once again, however, fate saw to it that I was unable to open the conference and greet you as planned. I was forced to remain in my hotel bed with an awful infection. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the work of our Board and executive leadership in my true hour of need. Of particular mention, thank you to Dr. Rick Kiovsky, who literally monitored my health, and Mary Craig, who got me to a local health provider.

All in all it has been a year of experiences I will never forget. I am happy to have had the opportunity to serve as the President of this organization, its membership, and the individuals who all work to support improving health care delivery in this country. I look forward to continuing my work as your Immediate Past President, supporting our new President, Dr. John Blossom, and focusing on strengthening our foundation in diversity.

Thank you all for your support and commitment to the National AHEC Organization.

Mary J. Mitchell
Executive Director
Manhattan-Staten Island AHEC

Note from Current Board Chair Dr. John Blossom
Thank you for the opportunity to serve. I look forward to a successful year for NAO. I thank fellow officers, committee chairs and members, A-TrACC, TEI, and especially Rob Trachtenberg…all in advance for the contributions I am confident they will make. Finally a note about big shoes! Thanks to Mary Mitchell for her wonderful leadership.

John Blossom MD
California AHEC Program
UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program

Legislative/Appropriations Update
The Government is back up and running. Congress achieved a resolution to extend the debt ceiling to February 7, 2014 and keep the government funded until January 15, 2014. Congress took a mini recess last week and is back in action this week. The House holds hearings and continues to disparage the Affordable Care Act. The Budget Control Committee will be issuing recommendations for moving forward for FY14 and sequestration. Any key actions will be occurring between now and December 15. Congress may be able to finalize a successful budget resolution over the holidays.

We will continue to increase awareness on the Hill regarding relaying AHEC's importance and message. In the days prior to our strategic planning meeting in D.C., I will be on the Hill meeting with Appropriations Committee Members, staff from the Office of Management and Budget, and others. Once the meetings are finalized, we'll be in touch with AHEC State Advocacy Leaders to mobilize our grassroots network.

A-TrACC Activities for Option Year 4; Time to Ramp Up Again!
This is from last week though bears repeating. Your participation is important!
A-TrACC is gearing up for this year's activities. Building on the successes of the past two years' Veterans' Mental Health Initiative, the energy and excitement are high for the new scope of work. Below are three bullet points that outline the key activities. We need great participation again this year from you all. Stay tuned for much more information from the A-TrACC Team. Looking forward to seeing YOU on the team this year!
Key Activities:

  • Coordinate a national project for AHECs to educate health professionals and staff on the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • Provide technical assistance and resources to AHEC staff to build capacity for using evaluation in program development and implementation and to improve performance measure reporting.
  • Continue to support the Veterans' Mental Health Project by collecting data from AHECs still offering trainings and by encouraging AHECs to promote the Citizen Soldier Support Program (CSSP) online CE courses for providers.

Have a great week!


2. From A-TrACC
Health Professionals and the Health Insurance Marketplace
Reminder: A-TrACC is collecting information on what AHECs are doing to provide information and/or CE to health professionals about the Health Insurance Marketplace. If your AHEC has done anything related to this and you haven't responded already, please do. Email by the end of October. Describe any promising practices you are using for outreach to health professionals and attach examples of tools.
A-TrACC is developing curricula and identifying resources for AHECs to use in a CE and outreach effort to help health professionals better understand the Health Insurance Marketplace. Assessing what AHECs are doing already is the first step in this project. Thank you for your help.

A New Tool for AHEC Centers. A-TrACC Webinar 401T-A,B,C: Field Guide Spreadsheets
A-TrACC has developed Excel spreadsheets that center staff can use to organize and aggregate data collected with the A-TrACC Field Guide forms. Participants will learn how to use the spreadsheets for their own reporting and evaluation needs and how to organize the data required for HRSA biannual reporting. The spreadsheets will be presented in three sessions. Center program coordinators should register for the session most relevant to their AHEC work.

  • Session A: CBSE Field Guide Spreadsheets for CBSE Coordinators

Thursday, Nov. 7, 3 to 4 pm Eastern: Register

  • Session B: CE/PES Field Guide Spreadsheets for CE Coordinators

Thursday, Nov. 14, 3 to 4 pm Eastern: Register

  • Session C: HCPP Field Guide Spreadsheets for HCPP Coordinators

Tuesday, Dec. 3, 3 to 4 pm Eastern: Register

3. NAO Data Collection: Data Needed
It's NAO data collection time! While HRSA has been busy revamping our federal data reporting requirements, CORE has been working to determine exactly what data we need to collect to tell the AHEC story ourselves. Most items in the data request will be the same or similar to what you have seen in previous years, but a few things are new. We know that some of you may not be able to provide everything. All we ask is that you fill in as much of the request as you can and look at ways you can potentially collect this data in the future.

This year we will not be collecting usual CORE Excel file or copies of your BHPr report. Instead, we have created a web-based data collection tool ( that you can use to directly input your state's data. In order to use the site, you will first need a password. Please send an e-mail with: 1) whatever password you would like to use; 2) your name; and 3) your AHEC's name to CORE Co-Chair, Steve Boulanger, at so he can grant you access as soon as possible.

Once collected, this data will be used in the aggregate for the NAO Annual Report, requests from policy makers, and requests from our NAO leadership. As always, thanks for your help in making this successful.

4. 2013 Webinar Series: Exercise is Medicine--The Impact of Physical Activity on Health and Wellness November 21, 2013
This session will highlight the National Prevention Strategy's goals related to active living.
Thursday, November 21, 2013, 2:00 – 3:30 pm, MT (4:00-5:30 ET). Improving the Health of Communities through the National Prevention Strategy. Presented by Region VIII Federal Partners. Click here for details.

5. Rural Healthy People (RHP) Webinar Report and Study
National RHP2020 Webinar Report: We surveyed over 1,200 rural stakeholders from across the United States to determine the most important Healthy People 2020 priority areas for rural America. Data generated from that national survey will be reported during the webinar, including a look at differences by U.S. Census and DHHS regions. This information and other project activities will be posted over the coming months on Texas A&M's Southwest Rural Health Research Center website at National RHP 2020 Delphi Study: We will announce our National Delphi Study during the webinar. The Delphi will be conducted in December, 2013, following the RHP2020 webinar with the goal of expanding and broadening efforts to identify which of the Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicator objectives should be the focus for rural America in this decade. During the National Webinar we will be soliciting 60 rural stakeholder volunteers to participate in the Delphi exercise.

6. SBIRT Webinars and Updates
November 13, 2013 1:00 - 2:30 PM EST
SBIRT IN ACTION: SBIRT, Another Vital Sign
Presenter: Ronald Dwinnells, MD, MBA, CPE, FAAP
SBIRT can be easily implemented in primary care settings with minimal costs and significant results. Join Dr. Ron Dwinnells, CEO of One Health Ohio, to learn about his current work implementing SBIRT in a Federally Qualified Health Center. Register

Note: This SBIRT project at an Ohio FQHC was featured on our blog - if you enjoyed the post, join the webinar to learn more detail and ask questions!

December 4, 2013 1:00 - 2:30 PM EST
Brief Intervention for Marijuana
Presenter: Carolyn Swenson, MSPH, MSN, FNP
Marijuana presents unique challenges for screening and brief interventions--especially in states that have legalized its medical or recreational use. This presentation will explore these challenges from the perspective of SBIRT implementation in Colorado and discuss effective interventions for prevention (especially with youth) and harm reduction. Register

SBIRT IN ACTION, a webinar series focusing on implementation.We will examine the use of SBIRT in a variety of settings, describe various ways the SBIRT process can be designed, share lessons learned, and review obstacles and opportunities for SBIRT. See the full schedule and register at

Of Interest

Community Conversations: IRETA asks local faith leaders and educators, 'How could SBIRT help you?'
Read more

Experts call for better addiction medicine training for physicians
Read more

Tools for Practice

An Analysis of National FundingTrends for SBI Services
Read more

News and Updates

Published: Overview of and student satisfaction with an undergraduate addiction training program for nurses
Read more

10/8 BIG meeting notes posted
Read more

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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