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NAO UPDATE | Provided as a Member Benefit November 23, 2015

From the CEO's Office

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, which just happens to be my favorite holiday. While the last few weeks have been enormously challenging due to health issues facing dear friends and family members, I do find myself immensely thankful for my family, close friends and, of course, my NAO and AHEC colleagues throughout the country. I find myself equally thankful that every day I have the privilege to do meaningful, important work with so many talented and dedicated AHECers.

I wish you all a restful and peaceful Thanksgiving holiday break. While I won't be racing this Thanksgiving, I know I'll get a chance to do a good deal of trail running over the break, as I guess is now the new tradition!

"Countdown to the Capitol" Webinar Series

We had a terrific first webinar last Friday in our series of presentations as we "Countdown to the Capitol" and our NAO Washington, DC 2016 national conference. I was thrilled with the turnout, the robust discussion and our presenters. There was a great deal of valuable and timely information shared with attendees, and I know that subsequent webinars (see below for registration information) will be equally successful. Kudos to our Public Policy Committee Co-Chairs Angela Boyer and Kristina Fjeld-Sparks for their tireless work in putting this important series together!

Tuesdays with Trachtenberg

A Tool for Connecting with Colleagues AND catching up on all things NAO

The next "Tuesdays with Trachtenberg" call will be Tuesday, December 1st from 12:30--1:00pm EST. On last week's call we discussed the New Director's Orientation and other items related to the NAO 2016 Washington, DC conference, as well as the "Countdown to the Capitol" webinar series. I'm looking forward to another robust discussion! Dial in at: 1-605-475-3220: Passcode: 245171#

Please note that this call will be only 30 minutes long.

NAO Special Interest Groups

Jump in and lead a group!

OK everyone; the link to the NAO "Special Interest Groups" is available and people have signed up for their area(s) of interest. It's up to YOU to now take that first big step and become a leader and organizer for one of the SIGs to get that dialogue going with your colleagues! I know that one of you--for each of the SIGs--is itching to take that first step and connect with your colleagues around a shared area of interest. Go for it and let the dialogue blossom!

****Many thanks to Cathy Whaley, Director, Northeast Indiana AHEC, for taking that first step and signing up as the leader and coordinator for the 'Interprofessional Practice' SIG and to Pat Sammartino, Education Network Manager at the Alaska AHEC for leading the 'CE/CME Development, Processes, and Available Technologies for Delivery' SIG!

Here's the link to the spreadsheet; and remember, you can edit and add areas of interest:

SIG Spreadsheet

Northwestern CT AHEC is requesting proposals from AHECs interested in participating in the Youth Mental Health First Aid Corps.

Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) is an evidenced based training program that helps individuals and communities better understand mental health and respond appropriately to adolescents who may be experiencing a mental health issue.  President Obama and other national, state and local leaders are calling for the widespread implementation of YMHFA as a strategy to improve access to mental health care services for young people suffering from mental illness.

NWCTAHEC seeks AHECs to serve as host sites for full-time AmeriCorps members during the 2016-17 program year.  AmeriCorps members are trained as YMHFA Instructors and implement YMHFA trainings for a wide cross section of community members who work with young people.

This is a terrific opportunity for AHECs who want to begin or bolster their ability to implement YMHFA widely in the communities they serve.

Follow this link for the Request for Proposal to learn more about this opportunity. View the PDF


CHARLESTON, SC—To help providers better care for the large population of hypertensive patients, the South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium has released 24 online video modules for healthcare providers on how to manage clinical hypertension and related disorders. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, nearly two out of every five adults in the state have hypertension and individuals with high blood pressure have three to four times the risk of developing heart disease. South Carolina is ranked 37th in the nation for cardiovascular deaths according to America's Health Rankings and has been termed the "buckle" on the "stroke belt" that wraps across the southeastern U.S.

Presented by national and regional experts, these modules are available online through the South Carolina Health Occupations Outreach Learning System (SCHOOLS) and are designed to improve healthcare providers' knowledge on specific areas related to hypertension. The on-demand modules can be completed online and offer free CME credit and low-cost to no-cost nursing credit.

"High blood pressure is a major factor and risk for strokes, heart disease, and end-stage renal disease, all conditions with excess risks in South Carolina. The prevention, treatment and control of hypertension can have high impact on these conditions and risks. These modules present the state-of-the-art evidence for the management of elevated blood pressure and are presented by an internationally recognized faculty," according to Daniel T. Lackland, Dr.P.H., director of the Division of Translational Neurosciences and Population Studies at the Medical University of South Carolina and president of the World Hypertension League.

"The South Carolina AHEC is excited to help make these modules available to providers who are faced with growing populations of hypertensive patients and who are interested in taking part in improving patient care without having to travel from their communities," adds Ragan DuBose-Morris, Ph.D., director of the Office for Telehealth Education at the South Carolina AHEC.

Providers who complete eight or more modules are eligible to be recognized with a Provider Certificate of Hypertension Excellence from the South Carolina AHEC. Practices where at least 50 percent of providers complete eight or more modules will also receive a Practice Certificate of Hypertension Excellence.

To find out more about the modules and register, please visit the SCHOOLS website at For more information, please contact Ali McMenamin at 843-792-4981 or

The South Carolina AHEC is a state and federally funded organization that helps improve the health and healthcare of South Carolina citizens by addressing the healthcare workforce needs starting at the grade school level and extending through to practicing healthcare professionals throughout the state. The South Carolina AHEC System includes the program office based at the Medical University of South Carolina, four regional AHEC centers and the eight family medicine residency training programs in the state. It works closely with the state’s institutions of higher education, healthcare systems and other partners to educate, recruit and retain healthcare providers. The South Carolina AHEC helps build and support the healthcare workforce that South Carolina needs.

National Training Center

Year 2 application extended

It’s not too late to apply to be a part of the HPV Project for Year 2! The application deadline has been extended to Dec. 4. Email for application materials.  If you are still  finishing up Year 1, you are encouraged to get your application completed for Year 2.

Save the Date!

NAO is VERY excited to have Dr. Robin Curtis of the CDC presenting our next national webinar targeted to health professionals on Jan. 14.  More information on her presentation  will be coming in the next week. As a former North Carolina AHEC student, Dr. Curtis has specifically asked us to also market the training to health professions students!  We will send participants in the projects promotional materials for both health professionals and students, so get your contact lists ready.

HPV in the News

When people hear about vaccine deniers — anti-vaxxers, to some — they most often think about parents who are refusing to vaccinate their children. But there’s another type of vaccine refusal, and it’s important that we not ignore that. Doctors sometimes promote the use of some vaccines with less enthusiasm than others. Sometimes, they don’t talk about them at all. Read more in this New York Times piece. 

2016 Conference Information

Save the Dates!

The National AHEC Organization’s Countdown to the Capitol webinar series is designed to prepare the entire NAO membership to join together as one strong voice on Capitol Hill during the 2016 NAO Conference; AHEC on the Hill: A Capitol Idea. The 2016 NAO Conference will be held June 27th- 30th, 2016 at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel.

NAO is planning activities throughout the coming months to support the membership as you prepare to visit Washington, D.C. and tell your important story to your elected officials.

Please save the dates for the upcoming Countdown to the Capitol webinar series.

Friday, January 15, 2016         12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Eastern Time

Friday, March 11, 2016          12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Eastern Time

Friday, May 13, 2016              12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Eastern Time

More information on each webinar will be shared in the near future.  The content for each topic in the series is designed to meet the membership needs and is based on results from NAO advocacy survey.  Each webinar will present a different Advocacy topic and will build upon the previous webinar.  This interactive robust webinar series will share proven strategies, provide tools, allow for dialog and time for questions.

The Countdown to the Capitol is brought to you by your NAO leadership, the NAO Conference Planning Committee and its Advocacy Subcommittee,  Health and Medicine Counsel of Washington, NAO Public Policy Committee and through the coordination and efforts of many, many others within NAO.

Stay tuned for more details and registration information and welcome aboard as we Countdown to the Capitol!

For more information, please contact your NAO Public Policy Co-Chairs:

Angela M. Boyer (Indiana AHEC Network)

Kristina Fjeld-Sparks (New Hampshire AHEC)

AHEC On the Hill: A Capitol Idea
A Call for Presentations - Deadline to Submit - Extended to December 9th!

The planning for the June 26-30, 2016 NAO Washington, D.C. conference is ratcheting up to a fever pitch and ​a great deal of work is currently underway to ensure that the 2016 NAO conference will be ​as outstanding as expected. Please be sure to check out the NAO ​website which has all the conference information, including the Online Call for Presentations. Please see below for details and consider submitting a proposal abstract: ​

The conference theme for 2016 is AHEC on the Hill: A Capitol Idea!   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.

  3. To enable participants to develop new approaches that advance the AHEC mission.

Proposals are to be submitted online. 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: Conference Submission.

Note: The due date for final submission is Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 11:59 p.m. CT.

Other Information

Psychological Health Webinar

Detrimental Effects of Blue Light from Electronics on Sleep
Dec. 3, 2015; 1-2:30 p.m. (ET)

Light isn’t just for vision. In addition to enabling us to see, light is the major synchronizer of our bodies’ circadian rhythms to the local time on earth. Light can also induce an acute alerting effect on people. Lighting characteristics affecting vision are different than those affecting our biological rhythms and our acute alertness. Different types and levels of light can affect a person's ability to see clearly, identify people and objects, and drive safely.

Certain types of light applied at certain times of the day can increase sleep efficiency of older adults and reduce symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, felt by many people during winter months. If applied at the wrong time, light can lead to circadian rhythm disruption, which has been linked to increased risk for diseases and disorders. How and when lighting can be used to promote health and well-being of those suffering from circadian disorders will also be discussed.

At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the circadian rhythm by identifying at least three ways to measure it.

  • Identify lighting characteristics that affect shift worker’s circadian rhythm.

  • Analyze symptomology of sleep and circadian rhythm disruption in military settings.


Mariana G. Figueiro, Ph.D., FIES
Lighting Research Center
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, New York


Vladimir Nacev, Ph.D., ABPP
Senior Program Manager
Deployment Health Clinical Center
Silver Spring, Maryland

Continuing Education

Continuing education credit is available from Professional Education Services Group (PESG).  You must register by 3 p.m. (ET) Dec. 3, 2015, to qualify for the receipt of continuing education credit.

The 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 their families.


Sign up for the webinar at Please note, registration is required for each webinar regardless if the participant has an existing PESG account. Upon completion of registration, a confirmation email will be sent providing webinar event details.

Once registered, you may use Adobe Connect or Defense Collaboration Services to attend the webinar.

If you have questions or need assistance, please email the DCoE webinar team at

To unsubscribe, please click here.

Email Contact: Robert M. Trachtenberg, MS

National AHEC Organization
7044 S. 13th St.
Oak Creek, WI 53154