NAO Update
Provided as a NAO member benefit
October 7, 2013

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1. From the Executive Director's Desk

Despite the Government Shutdown, there is still a lot going on. In terms of the shutdown: The NAO Public Policy Leadership Team will be closely monitoring any Congressional developments and share any new information with you all. Monday Updates are usually written the preceding Wednesday or Thursday. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC) 50th Anniversary Briefing Memo
On September 24, 2013, HPNEC--of which NAO is a member--held a briefing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the authorization of health professions and nursing programs under Titles VII and VIII of the Public Health Service Act. The purpose of the briefing was to reflect on the advancements made since 1963 and to discuss the present needs of the nation's changing health care system. Click here for an overview of the memo with a few references to the AHEC Program.

Health Extension: Role in Primary Care and Community Health
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Commonwealth Fund are supporting a new emerging strategy for facilitating primary care transformation and improving community health-"Health Extension." The Primary Care Extension Program is incorporated into the Affordable Care Act in Section 5405. This model has been adapted in the health sector from the successful Cooperative Extension Service employed in the Agricultural sector. "Health Extension" is now being developed and tested in 18 states. Many thanks to Dr. Helene Silverblatt from the New Mexico AHEC for sharing this resource. The new online toolkit on the range of applications of Health Extension, how to get started, and where to get help was launched on September 30. Click here for details. You can access the toolkit at

AHECs and Oral Health
It appears that AHECs around the country may be quite involved in oral health grants and projects. We may have another opportunity to collect information from you all--like we did with ACA-related activities--and use it to demonstrate our reach and impact in the oral health sphere. If you can, please send me some brief highlights as to what your AHEC is doing regarding oral health and the oral health workforce. I bet we can come up with quite a list. Please send anything to me by end of day on Friday, October 18, 2013; thanks!

Have a great week, and please be sure to take a look at the NAO website to make sure your AHEC's information is up to date. We will be asking you to do this on a quarterly basis. Thanks!

Have a great week!


2. From A-TrACC

What Next: Health Insurance Marketplace Education & Outreach for Health Professionals
Is your AHEC providing information to health professionals about the Health Insurance Marketplace? If so, please let us know. NOTE: We do not need information related to outreach and enrollment of consumers or small businesses. This is only about outreach and education for HEALTH PROFESSIONALS.

Please email by Wednesday, October 9. Send a brief description of promising practices you are using with/for health professionals and attach examples of any tools.

HRSA has contracted with NAO for A-TrACC to develop state-specific curricula for AHECs nationwide to use in a CE and outreach effort to impact health professionals' knowledge of the Health Insurance Marketplace. Assessing what AHECs are currently doing is a vital first step in this project. Thank you for your help.

3. Health Education Specialists Help Consumers Understand New Health Care Options:

2013 National Health Education Week Features New Resources & Toolkit on Health Reform
With open enrollment for health insurance beginning October 1, the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) is pleased to introduce a new toolkit entitled The Role of Health Education Specialists in Implementing the Affordable Care Act. The toolkit is a central piece of National Health Education Week, which is being celebrated from October 21-25, 2013.

"Health education specialists are trusted, authoritative sources of health information for patients, consumers, and families," says Kelli McCormack Brown, PhD, CHES, SOPHE President. "Thus, we strongly urge all health educators to take an active role in helping the public prepare for the health insurance expansion, learn about the Marketplace and how to get covered, and explain the range of preventive health services available."

SOPHE invites all health education specialists and other health professionals to participate in the activities of National Health Education Week by joining in the daily events:

  • Monday, October 21: Communicating ACA's Provisions for Improving Consumer Health & Wellness
  • Tuesday, October 22: Navigating the Health Insurance Enrollment Process
  • Wednesday, October 23: Working with Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) and Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH)
  • Thursday, October 24: Promoting Worksite Wellness
  • Friday, October 25: Advocating for the Prevention and Public Health Fund

"Whether working on college campuses or in businesses, community organizations, K-12 schools, or healthcare facilities," says Elaine Auld, MPH, MCHES, Chief Executive Officer of SOPHE, "health education specialists have a monumental role in applying our knowledge and skills to help consumers become healthier."

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law on March 23, 2010. Over the past three years, millions of Americans have gained access to preventive services with no cost-sharing, communities are becoming healthier with investments from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and coordinated patient care is improving with the establishment of Accountable Care Organizations and Patient-Centered Medical Homes. Americans are now able to enroll in affordable health care coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace online, by phone, by mail, or in person. Many individuals may also qualify for financial assistance to help pay for a health insurance plan.

In addition to tailored resources in SOPHE's toolkit, health professionals can refer consumers to the website, which has information in multiple languages. and the Provider Marketplace Toolkit also contain many valuable fact sheets, tools, and resources.

About National Health Education Week (NHEW): NHEW is celebrated annually during the third week of October and focuses national attention on a major public health issue, provides public education, and improves consumer understanding of health education's role in promoting the public's health. NHEW is recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. About SOPHE: The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) is a non-profit professional organization founded in 1950 to provide global leadership to the profession of health education and health promotion and to promote the health of society. SOPHE's 4,000 international and chapter members work in various public and private organizations to advance health education theory and research, develop disease prevention and health promotion programs, and promote public policies conducive to health. For more information, go to

4. Use Veterans Crisis Line as a Resource

Note: All materials for the Monday Update must be submitted to, Rob Trachtenberg (, or the Communications Committee by Thursday at noon CST the week before the Update runs. Thanks!

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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