NAO Update
Provided as a NAO member benefit
January 14, 2014

1. From the Executive Director's Office Just Outside the Arctic Circle
I hope you all are staying warm and safe; it was terribly cold here in the Northeast last week and I know that the frigid air was much, much worse in other parts of the country. Please be careful when venturing outside. I hope we've seen the last of the Polar Vortex for this winter, and I swear on one of my early morning runs last week I saw a confused polar bear.

Legislative & Appropriations Update from Washington
A budget conference committee between the House and the Senate diligently worked to come to an agreement on the top-line number before breaking for recess in mid-December and finally did so on December 10, 2013. The House introduced and passed their bipartisan budget deal first, the Senate passed theirs on December 18, 2013. The budget moved onto the Administration and was signed into law.

Appropriators in the House and Senate feel better now that they were able to pass a 2-year budget deal and look forward to finishing FY 2014 and start quickly with FY 2015 (which will most likely include budget caps and be a more streamlined process).

The framework now exists to finish the appropriations bills for FY 2014 with an impending deadline of next Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. As soon as the omnibus bill (combined approps bills) is released, we will let you know the funding level and if there are any pertinent recommendations.

It continues to be important to weigh in with legislators and recommend the Senate's $30.025 million allocation for the AHEC program. An Action Alert will be forthcoming; stay tuned!

The next issue we will monitor after appropriations will be the President's budget request for FY 2015, which is scheduled to come out February 3, 2014.

Advocacy Activities
As I mentioned earlier, NAO Public Policy Leadership Team members held a call with Hester Grippando from the White House Office of Management and Budget where we discussed the AHEC program, made a case for how the AHEC should fit in the President's budget, and requested that the budget reflect and hold onto the Senate's increased allocation. We will likely be visiting with her in early spring regarding the FY15 budget.

I likely will be in Washington from January 28-30, 2014 and then again with other NAO policy leaders during the first week of February for the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Annual Policy Institute. Each year there is significant AHEC participation at the Policy Institute. HMCW plans to attend and set up meetings for NAO leadership, and we will work on a one-pager regarding the AHEC program which will be included—as in past years—in the 'leave-behind' folder during the NRHA conference.

NAO Strategic Thinking Meeting; November 2013
As was discussed in a previous Monday Update, the NAO Strategic Thinking Meeting in Washington last November was very productive and helped NAO chart a course for developing a stronger, leaner, more efficient, and more agile organization that can best serve NAO membership. Below is a summary of session goals and some of the outcomes of our 2-day meeting.


  1. Review National AHEC Organization's Strategic Plan
  2. Identify organizational priorities to guide us forward
  3. Identify areas for Board and organizational development

Over the course of the first day, we: 1) reviewed the NAO strategic plan and conducted an in-depth analysis of what was accomplished as a result of the plan; 2) assessed the strengths of our current plan; 3) reviewed what did not go as planned; 4) looked at challenges to implementing the plan; and 5) established organizational priorities going forward.

Identifying Organizational Priorities
The early portion of the day focused on two main questions: 1) What do we need to focus on given the current environment?, and 2) What are our key organizational priorities? We discussed the current climate within which NAO operates, specifically focusing on the economic climate, the political climate, member needs and interests, technology factors, outside environmental trends, inside organizational trends, and potential uncertainties that loom in our possible future. The following is a snapshot of that discussion:

We reviewed (7) organizational topics:
1. Organizational structure
2. Decision-making processes
3. Communication (internal/external)
4. Member interests and priorities
5. Leadership
6. Organizational Practice
7. Image/Reputation of the organization

Out of that discussion we highlighted NAO's strengths as they relate to each topic and identified what we would like to "see more of." The NAO board will be addressing the many statements that resulted from that discussion and will prioritize areas in which to move forward. I will share more information as it evolves.

Board and Organizational Development
The latter part of the day and the next focused on internal operations and on two main questions:

Governance as leadership:
1) What does this mean for NAO?
2) What do we need to succeed?
There were four focus areas that emerged from our discussion:

  1. Board selection and preparation (skills, roles and responsibilities, orientation, training, evaluation of board effectiveness)
  2. Committee structure, roles, and appointment process
  3. Communication regarding fiscal status
  4. Executive Leadership

Each of the four focus areas will be addressed during NAO board meetings over the course of the year. As changes are implemented or, in some cases where Bylaws changes are necessary, I will keep you all apprised as we move towards our goals.

Please let me know if you'd like more detailed information about our very successful 2-day meeting; I'd welcome the opportunity to talk with you.

"One-Question" Survey
I've been thinking quite a bit about the value one gets by being a member of NAO. As a way of getting some quick feedback, please answer the following question (one- or two-word responses are OK!). You can email me your response ( and I'll provide a summary of responses; thanks!:

  • What is the greatest benefit of being a member of NAO?

Request for Information
One of the CA AHECs is interested to know if any AHEC has developed a mentoring/training program for RN clinical preceptors. If your AHEC has, please send the information directly to Brenda Mitchell: Thanks!

Have a great week and bundle up!

2. From A-TrACC

Upcoming Evaluation Webinar
How do you tell the story of your AHEC work? Plan to attend the "Stories as an Evaluation Tool" webinar at 3 p.m. Eastern, Jan. 29. Qualitative researcher Susan Eliot will discuss how to capture compelling and convincing stories from program participants. You will learn how stories fit in your evaluation plan and come away with a process for collecting and sharing them. Register Now.

Send Your VMH Data
Jan. 31 is the deadline for submitting data on any Veterans Mental Health trainings you have held since September. To date, AHECs have trained 12,301 health professionals through this project. What an impact! Email if you need the reporting spreadsheet.

Please continue to refer health professionals to the Citizen Soldier Support Program's free online accredited CE courses using the unique link created just for your AHEC. When providers access a course with your link, you can get the tracking information needed for CE reporting. It is easy and free! So far, 13 AHECs have done this, and 128 health professionals have completed courses. Access resources, get step-by-step instructions, or watch a recorded webinar for more information about how this works. All AHECs can do this, whether you participated in the VMH Project or not.

Request for Proposals
Do you have expertise in CE accreditation? An appropriate CE accrediting organization is needed for the A-TrACC marketplace project. For more information, check out the RFP. Submission deadline is Friday, Jan. 17.

Marketplace Participation
Join AHECs across the country on a nationwide initiative to train health professionals and staff on the health insurance marketplaces. Financial support of $1,500 is available for your center in exchange for providing training for at least 50 health care providers and/or staff. This project may fit in with training AHECs are already providing on the health insurance marketplaces. For questions or to request an application, e-mail

3. Hurry! Deadline January 24, 2013! NAO Annual Report: Looking For Your AHEC Stories
The National AHEC Organization is compiling data and stories for the 2013 Annual Report, which gets published in the spring of 2014. The theme of this year's report is "AHEC: Driving Access to Quality Health Care Through Innovation, Implementation, and Impact." This annual publication highlights the wide range of programs that AHEC provides the current and future healthcare workforce. Interested in having your AHEC's success story included in the 2013 edition? Develop a 50-75 word abstract touting one of the services your AHEC provides:

  1. Health Careers Promotion/Preparation; P-16+ Pipeline
  2. Health Professions Students/Residents Training; Community-Based Education
  3. Health Professionals Recruitment & Retention; Practice Entry and Support
  4. Continuing Education
  5. Health Literacy/Promotion
  6. Health and Community Development
  7. Healthcare Workforce Planning & Assessment

If your AHEC's abstract is accepted, you will be asked to provide a full 300-word article and photo (or graph) within a two-week period. E-mail abstracts to by Friday, January 24, 2014.

4. National AHEC Organization 2014 Conference: AWARD NOMINATIONS

An Invitation to the AHEC Community

To Recognize Our Most Outstanding Projects and Individuals

The NAO Awards Committee is now accepting nominations for the NAO Awards for Excellence, which will be presented at the 2014 National AHEC Workshop in Charlotte, NC.

At each of the bi-annual national workshops, the National AHEC Organization recognizes projects and individuals that epitomize the AHEC spirit of excellence in these major categories:

AHEC Center Awards for Excellence (Continuing Education, Learning Resources, Health Careers Student Recruitment, Research or Evaluation Tools, Health Professions Student Training and Special Community-Based Program)

Eugene S. Mayer Program of Excellence Award

Red Koelling Award for Service to AHEC

Andy Nichols Award for Social Justice

We encourage you to visit the NAO website home page ( where you will see the award nomination information. You can then click on the links to the individual award categories to review the criteria and instructions for nominating candidates. Only NAO members are eligible for awards. No individual or organization may receive more than one award.

The deadline for nominations is February 24, 2014.

For further information about the 2014 NAO AHEC Awards, please contact either of the Awards Committee co-chairs:

Mary Mitchell, MPA, Manhattan-Staten Island AHEC,

Mary Sienkiewicz, New York State AHEC System,

5. Have You Marked Your Calendar Yet? NAO Conference Takes Place July 7-11, 2014
Exciting and historic Charlotte is the setting for this must-attend NAO event. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more info as it becomes available. We look forward to seeing you there!

6. Don't Forget: Online Call for Presentations
The Conference Planning Committee for the National AHEC Organization (NAO) 2014 Conference invites you to submit a proposal for a concurrent session or poster presentation for the conference scheduled for July 7 – 11, 2014 in Charlotte, NC.

The conference theme for 2014 is AHEC: Driving Access to Quality Healthcare through INNOVATION, IMPLEMENTATION & IMPACT. The goals of the conference are:
1) to provide practical skills and information to implement or improve AHEC-sponsored programs;
2) to enhance the professional development of AHEC directors, staff and board members; and
3) to enable participants to develop new approaches that advance the AHEC mission.

Proposals are to be submitted online this year. Please read all of the directions carefully to ensure that all submission requirements are met.
Please click on the following link to access the online submission system:

Note: The due date for final submissions is Monday, January 20, 2014.

7. Upcoming Presentations from SBIRT

January 15, 2014 1:00 - 2:30 PM EST
Implementing SBIRT in Two Primary Care Clinics
Presenter: Chris Farentinos MD, MPH, CADC II
Dr. Chris Farentinos of De Paul Treatment Centers will share her experience collaborating with Legacy Health, one of the largest health care systems in Oregon, to secure a grant and implement SBIRT using a co-location model. Implementation steps, dos and don'ts, and specific metrics and sustainability strategies will be discussed. Register

February 19, 2014 2:00 - 3:30 PM EST
A Nursing Response to the Full Spectrum of Substance Use
Presenters: Deb Finnell, BSN, MS, PhD and Lauren Broyles, PhD, RN
Presenters will provide an overview of alcohol SBIRT and discuss its fit with nursing roles, responsibilities, and practice across settings and specialties. Participants will have the opportunity to use a brief intervention evaluation tool to assess the quality and comprehensiveness of a brief intervention delivered in a video example. Register

February 26, 2014 1:00 - 2:30 PM EST
Implementation of SBIRT: Lessons from the Field
Presenters: Aaron Williams, MA, and Michael Lardieri, LCSW
Presenters will discuss common themes and lessons learned in a multi-site SBIRT project led by the National Council for Behavioral Health in Ohio. They will address training and technical assistance, common SBIRT barriers and ways to overcome them, financing strategies, and communication and partnership development. Register

Looking for more SBIRT webinars?


Visit to view a 2014 schedule by our partners, NAADAC and NORC

8. Joint Center Congratulates Promise Zones Grantees

Recently President Obama announced that the first five Promise Zones community grants have been awarded, namely to San Antonio, Texas; Philadelphia; Los Angeles; Southeastern Kentucky; and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies congratulates these communities, and shares their optimism that smart, geographically targeted policies can help struggling regions to recover from the lingering effects of the economic downturn. Research suggests that place-based strategies such as the Promise Zones initiative will revitalize high-poverty communities by attracting private investment, expanding affordable housing, improving educational opportunities, providing tax incentives for hiring workers, and helping to drive down violent criminal activity. The Promise Zones initiative builds upon the success of existing federal programs such as Choice Neighborhoods, a redevelopment program that provides local leaders with proven tools to revitalize distressed public housing and concentrated poverty into vibrant, opportunity-rich neighborhoods; Promise Neighborhoods, which builds a pipeline from the earliest ages of educational support services around a strong school environment, focused on the goal of high school graduation and college-going for every student; and the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation program, which targets neighborhoods with persistent violent crime, focusing on hot spots of criminal activity, by employing cross-sector strategies that show evidence of impact in reducing violence.

"Promise Zones are among the most promising anti-poverty strategies in over a generation," said Brian Smedley, Ph.D., Interim President and CEO of the Joint Center. "This is an effort to tackle some of the most persistent structural barriers to opportunity experienced by people living in communities that have suffered from economic neglect and political marginalization." "We know from our own experience with initiatives such as PLACE MATTERS, which the Joint Center has managed since 2007, that place-based strategies can tackle the challenges brought about by high levels of segregation and poverty concentration," said Autumn Saxton-Ross, Ph.D., Program Director for PLACE MATTERS at the Joint Center. "We look forward to working with Promise Zones communities to advance successful practices around the country."

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is one of the nation's leading research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses primarily on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color. To learn more, please visit

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.

Vision: Our vision is that the AHEC network is the national leader in developing a highly competent and diverse health care workforce for underserved populations.

©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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