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October 20, 2014

From the Executive Director's Office

Fall Conference Planning Hitting the Home Stretch!

We are excited to host another National AHEC Organization Fall Conference which will be held December 2-4, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. This year's theme is "AHEC: A National Resource, Creatively Addressing Local, State and National Health Workforce Issues". This meeting is intended for Center Directors and Program Directors to network with colleagues and to learn about opportunities for collaboration and partnership utilizing our National AHEC Network.

Our agenda is packed with exciting sessions including a Plenary Session with key NAO Partners who will discuss their perception of the AHEC Program and will include an opportunity for attendees to have an open conversation with them about who we should be partnering with and how those partnerships could work. IPE Integration will be the focus of another Plenary Session, as well. HRSA leadership will be available for grant guidance and performance reporting meetings and other technical assistance.

To secure rooms in the NAO room block at the Hyatt, hotel reservations must be made before November 11th to receive the group rate of $149 per night, as well as to make sure we have adequate meeting space. We strongly encourage you to register before November 7th as prices will increase after this date (early bird date!). Availability is limited; please make your reservations now.

We'll see you in December in Washington, DC and please be sure to check out the newly formatted NAO conference website: for all the pertinent data.

NAO By-Laws

The revised NAO Bylaws as approved by the membership in July 2014 are now on the NAO website. These bylaws govern NAO operations effective October 1, 2014, and again, many, many thanks to Michael French and the team for doing an outstanding job! Here is the link to the bylaws on the NAO website:

NAO's Statement on Diversity

Many thanks to the NAO Diversity Committee and the NAO board for their work on crafting and approving an organizational statement on Diversity. This statement will soon be on NAO letterhead, on the website, and on other communication tools as used by NAO:

NAO welcomes and accepts diversity in the broadest context to recognize, value, and learn from all people of varying cultural backgrounds regardless and inclusive of age, physical/mental ability, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, language, national origin, religion, socioeconomic status, and geographic region.

I'm proud of the work of the Diversity Committee and pleased with this statement as I know it strengthens NAO and our AHEC Network.


I was pleased to attend the kick-off webinar of "HELEN", or, the national Health Equity Leadership & Exchange Network last week. I was very impressed and believe that 'HELEN will be a great resource for NAO and our AHEC network.

Below are some of the basics; I encourage you all to check out the website and become members:

The HELEN project will strengthen health equity leadership and increase the number of sustainable campaigns that play an important role in offering community education and mobilization. The HELEN initiative, which will include members of various organizations, coalitions and associations committed to the elimination of health disparities, will serve as a national forum for health equity champions to share information about timely, relevant, and pressing policy issues impacting health equity.


The Health Equity Leadership & Exchange Network (HELEN) is a collaborative effort between the National REACH Coalition, Morehouse School of Medicine, and the National Collaborative for Health Equity.

Purpose: HELEN is a national network designed to bolster leadership and the exchange of ideas and information among communities of color and other vulnerable populations relative to the advancement of health equity in laws, policies, and programs.

Item of interest: "Learn what med schools are doing to increase diversity"

What are the most important factors in attracting a medical student body that reflects a diverse patient population? Hang out with experts, educators and physicians in training from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time Oct. 20 to share your ideas and learn what others think.

Join an online Google Hangout to listen, watch and share ideas on:

  • Innovative ideas to attract medical students from underrepresented groups
  • New ways medical schools are preparing current students for an increasingly diverse patient population
  • How institutions teach and collect feedback on racial and ethnic health care disparities

Have a great week and make sure to keep checking out NAO's social media!

Psychological Health Issues Affecting Women Service Members and Veterans

Date/Time: October 23, 2014, 1-2:30 p.m. (EDT)

Women represent more than 15 percent of those serving in today's U.S. military. Education and awareness of women's health issues are key factors in maintaining current operational readiness. An increase in the presence and engagement of women in the military has resulted in an equally rapidly growing population of women veterans, projected to reach 15 percent of the total U.S. veteran population by 2035 (National Center for Veteran Analysis and Statistics, 2011). This presentation will describe relevant research findings and clinical g uidelines to inform best practices for meeting the unique needs of this population.

Current research findings indicate many women in the deployed environment hesitate to seek medical care when they have a health concern related to their genito-urinary or reproductive health. Issues around pregnancy and breastfeeding lead to occupational health concerns. Although important gender differences exist, similar to their male counterparts, women may develop mental health difficulties such as posttraumatic stress disorder and depression related to combat and/or military sexual assault.

During this webinar, participants will learn to:

  • Review the effects of combat on psychological health
  • Explain the rigors of maintaining proper nutritional and gynecological health in a deployed environment
  • Communicate issues around sexuality and motherhood with service members
  • Describe gender differences in the effects of military service on mental health and well-being
  • Identify the components of gender-sensitive clinical care


Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, MD, MPH
Chief Clinical Officer
Department of Behavioral Health
Washington, D.C

Jennifer Strauss, Ph.D.
Women's Mental Health Program Manager
Mental Health Services, Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, D.C.


Maj. Demietrice L. Pittman, Ph.D.
U.S. Army, MS
Clinical Psychologist, Deployment Health Clinical Center
Bethesda, Md.

Continuing Education:

Continuing education credit is available from Duke Medicine. You must register on or before October 23, 2014, at 3 p.m. (EDT) to qualify for the receipt of continuing education credit.

To qualify for receipt of continuing education credit for applicable webinars, eligible participants must create a profile in the Duke Medicine Learning Management System and register for the event on, or before, the event registration deadline. Complete responses to all pre-registration questions are required to be eligible to receive credit for attending this event. For guidance on creating a user account and event registration in the Duke Medicine Learning Management System site, please visit

DCoE's awarding of continuing education credit is limited in scope to health care providers who actively provide psychological health and traumatic brain injury care to U.S. active-duty service members, reservists, National Guardsmen, military veterans and/or their families.

For additional details, please visit

Upon completion of registration, a confirmation email will be sent providing webinar event details.

Sign up for the webinar at

If your network security settings do not allow access to the Duke Medicine website, use another network or device to access the registration page. Once registered, you may use Adobe Connect or Defense Connect Online to attend the webinar.

Employment Opportunities

Are you looking to advance your career within the AHEC community? If so, please make sure you check out our Employment section on the NAO website. All AHEC’s are able to post any job openings free of charge.

There are currently two available job openings for Executive Directors in Alabama, so please take a moment to check out the listings.

Everything a financial aid administrator needs to know about NHSC programs. Click here for online version.


Save the Date!
An Overview of the NHSC Programs for Financial Aid Administrators

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET

Please plan to participate in this upcoming webinar about the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Programs.  Learn more about how you can advise students interested in pursuing a career in primary care about opportunities to practice in underserved communities and receive financial support through NHSC. A question and answer session will follow the presentation. Find the answers to questions like:

  • How do NHSC programs work?
  • How are NHSC programs invoiced?
  • What is the impact of Primary Care Loans?

Prior to the webinar, we encourage you to test your internet connection to ensure proper functionality and get a quick overview of Adobe Connect.

To log into the webinar, please use the following information:

  • Log into the webinar and enter your information in the guest field when prompted.
  • Dial-in number: 1-888-391-6801 Passcode: 8081979 (to access the audio portion of the webinar)


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