NAO Update
Provided as a NAO member benefit
September 9, 2013

1. From the Executive Director's Desk

As we get close to a new programmatic and fiscal year, I always think of autumn as a time of reflection and renewal. There are a number of things that I am very excited about that I'd like to share that augur well for NAO and the AHEC Network, while there are still a few issues of ongoing concern.

First, I am very much looking forward to our November board and committee co-chair strategic planning meeting. I believe the meeting will help NAO and the AHEC network take another step forward in our organizational evolution. We will be assessing the impact of our current strategic plan, identifying the next set of organizational priorities over the next 2-4 years within the context of the current fiscal and healthcare environment, analyzing our current leadership design, and looking at a number of ways in which to build upon our sustainability strategy. A good deal of planning is currently occurring and, while the meeting is still over two months away, I am pleased to say we are on track for an excellent and productive strategic planning session.

Second, the strength, reach and connectivity of our national network is growing due to an increase in the use of social media, an increase in opportunities for the network to quickly come together around a common initiative (i.e. Vets’ MH; REMS, smoking cessation, CHW development) and, I hope, an increased recognition that we--NAO and the AHEC Network--are at our strongest when we work together and think collectively to advance our work and our mission. The national network of AHECs is--in my opinion--ripe for all sorts of funding and programmatic opportunities that advance the health of our country. As NAO is a member association, I am always eager to hear from you on how we can provide more value, resources and advocacy on your behalf.

Third, the leadership and sophistication at the NAO board level is increasing every year and is providing excellent guidance and strategic thinking. Every day, the board members and committee chairs are doing an enormous amount of work that helps the organization stay on track and grow. Current NAO president Mary Mitchell has done an outstanding job this year and I know president-elect John Blossom is gearing up for a busy year when he takes office on October 1, 2013.

Of course, there are a few ongoing concerns, such as long-term sustainability of individual AHECs and NAO, inconsistent Presidential and Congressional support for our program and other health professions' programs, and a general sense that investment in long-term processes and outcomes has been sacrificed for the immediate return on investment. One of my closest friends and running partners is a financial advisor, and his guidance is that long-term investment--in most cases--usually pays higher dividends than short-term volatile gains. I like his advice and believe that our work--even if the results aren't always immediate--is extremely meaningful, impactful, and lasting.

If you've read this far, thank you! As always, please let me know your thoughts. One of my goals for the coming year is to increase the dialogue with AHECs everywhere. Let's talk.

Have a great week!


2. From A-TrACC

Webinar 316T-A: Performance Measures 2014 – A-TrACC 2013/14 Field Guide Suggestions. The A-TrACC team will present and discuss the newly revised Field Guide that will support data collection for the 2014 (next year's) HRSA performance measure report.

Wednesday, September 11, 3 to 4 pm Eastern: Register

VMH Webinar 317: VMH Advances! EVERY AHEC should attend this webinar celebrating the outstanding success of the Veterans Mental Health Project. Leaders from HRSA, SAMHSA, and NAO and will highlight the project's impact, share plans for its advancement and discuss potential opportunities for AHECs in other national initiatives. Register now!
Tuesday, September 24, 3 to 4 pm Eastern: Register

So Close!
As of August 29, reports received show that VMH CE training has reached 9,648 health professionals!! Keep up the fantastic work and sending your reports. If you have trainings in September, please send your reports to as soon as you complete the follow up evaluation so we can include that data in our year end reporting.

3. Hurry! Journal of the National AHEC Organization Seeks Articles from You
"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)

4. Next Update to Be Blasted Tuesday, September 17, 2013
The next Update will go out on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. Content will be due Thursday, Sept. 12 at noon CST. Send content to 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.

©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.

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