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NAO UPDATE | Provided as a Member Benefit January 4, 2016

From the CEO's Office

Happy New Year! I hope you all had an enjoyable and relaxing holiday. My family had an ambitious list of adventures and fun things to do over break and we got to nearly all of them. Now it's back to work!​

I want to start the new year by sharing some of our ambitious plans for 2016. We'll continue preparing for our 2016 NAO conference in Washington, D.C. in June, as well as continue our 'Countdown to the Capitol' webinar series. Look for the next webinar on Friday January 15th from 12:30-1:30pm EST. We'll also go deeper into Year 2 of the CDC HPV project, which is opening many doors of opportunity for NAO and AHECs in participating states, as well as kick the NLM Teen Health Literacy project into high gear. Also, we'll continue to support the growth and expansion of the 'Special Interest Groups'; which are starting to take off. Externally, and most importantly, we will work as closely as possible with the HRSA Bureau of Health Workforce to make sure we're aligned as to the future design and construction of the AHEC Program.

In terms of internal processes, the NAO Communications Committee is re-configuring itself and will play a vitally important role in nearly all facets of NAO organizational operations, and indeed, all NAO committees are working diligently to support NAO's key strategic aspirations, which are:

  1. Ensuring that NAO's governance and structures maximize organizational effectiveness and support NAO's strategic vision

  2. Developing new revenue streams that capitalize on our AHEC network and financially benefit both NAO and its members

  3. Developing a comprehensive communications and marketing plan that keeps stakeholders informed and supports business development activities

  4. Creating a culture of advocacy that: 1) engages all NAO members; 2) ensures annual inclusion of the AHEC Program in the federal budget; and 3) grows federal AHEC funding over time

  5. Growing the capacity of NAO's human capital to achieve our strategic vision

I look forward to working closely with the NAO board, our committees and you all in the coming year and I’d encourage you to share your comments, critiques, and ideas for moving NAO and the AHEC Program forward. Thank you for your enduring commitment to NAO and to the success and growth of the AHEC Program. I am grateful for your strong and passionate commitment to our important work.

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, January 12nd from 12:30--1:00pm EST. On the December 22nd call we discussed the FY2016 Federal budget, the federal appropriations process, and the on-going importance of local advocacy. Dial in at: 1-605-475-3220: Passcode: 245171#

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

NAO Special Interest Groups

NAO Special Interest Groups: Jump in and lead a group; there's no time like the present!

​I'm going to keep pushing on the SIGs in 2016 as I know there is considerable interest in them as evidenced by how many of you have signed up for one or more SIG. A I've said, each of the groups need someone to take the lead and get the discussion going. I know that there is a thirst for dialogue with colleagues and I also know that one of you--for each of the SIGs--is itching to take that first step and make the connection. You DO NOT need to be an expert in your area or areas of interest; the only requirement is that you organize the group using the free conference call number we've provided for you. Go forth and engage with your colleagues!

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

SIG Spreadsheets

National Training Center

Invite health professionals and students to next webinar

Dr. Robin Curtis of the CDC will be presenting “You Are the Key to Cancer Prevention” on Thursday, Jan. 14, from 3 to 4 p.m. ET. This webinar is free and provides 1 credit hour to physicians, pharmacists and nurses. Use this email template (complete with registration links) to promote. Here’s a detailed information sheet with all of the credit information and disclosure statements. Any AHEC (not just those involved in the HPV project) are welcome to invite health professionals as well as health professions students to this webinar and can be tallied under your CE report for HRSA.

HPV vaccine still underutilized

When people hear about vaccine denial, 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, too. Doctors sometimes promote the use of some vaccines with less enthusiasm than others. Sometimes, they don't talk about them at all. Watch this Healthcare Triage video that explains the importance of a strong provider recommendation.

NLM-CPSC-NAO Teen Health Information Literacy Project

Out with the old and in with the new! That’s what Colorado AHECs say when they design health education and promotion programming in their region. Centennial AHEC and Southwest CO AHEC have teamed up in an innovative partnership as joint awardees in the National Library of Medicine teen health information literacy project. The purpose of their partnership is to share both the administrative burden and the rewards of participation; working together to gain efficiencies for their two rural, in places isolated, regions separated by a major metropolitan corridor in the center of the state.

In these frontier regions of Colorado, even health department services are limited. The only way services come to these parts of the state are through innovative adaptations of programs generally built for economies of scale. With decades of experience in these parts, both executive directors have worked successfully overseeing programs in areas with inconsistent internet access, and with consideration for seasonal agricultural and weather changes. Recently, Colorado youth have been faced with ready access to many forms and varieties of consumable marijuana, along with a significant lack of information and misinformation about the health risks and benefits of the products. The newly funded teen health information literacy project will give these AHECs yet another avenue for addressing the marijuana explosion by helping teens in these regions to find, access, and analyze reliable health information.

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)


Traumatic Brain Injury Webinar

Do Head Injuries Cause Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?

Jan. 14, 2016; 1-2:30 p.m. (ET)

Contact sports have long been suspected of causing prolonged or permanent neurologic injury in some athletes; the 2005 findings of unusual brain pathology in a retired NFL football player magnified concern for this association. The brain pathology involved accumulation of the protein tau in masses called tangles or threads. To date, more than 150 cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) have been confirmed by autopsy, with the vast majority being athletes in contact sports. Records show these individuals suffered a range of cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and motor symptoms. In some cases, co-occurring neurological conditions were present that could also account for observed symptoms.

The distribution of accumulated tau masses, the criteria for diagnosis, and the clinical presentation of CTE remain controversial among researchers. At this time, there is no consensus regarding the clinical presentation of CTE that could enable diagnosis in living persons. There is no fluid or neuroimaging biomarker validated for diagnosis, although some imaging approaches show promise in their ability to differentiate different neurological conditions and normal aging. The literature on CTE is also limited by the strong influence of a few individual researchers, whose studies may be influenced by selection bias.

The webinar will address the current neuropathological diagnostic criterion for CTE and highlight recent findings that support or refute the association of CTE with multiple concussions.

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

  • Describe the brain pathology observed in CTE

  • Recognize the cognitive, behavioral, and neurological signs attributed to CTE

  • Understand the limitations of the current literature on CTE

  • Articulate what is proven or not proven regarding the association of multiple concussions and CTE

  • Discuss the potential risks of contact sports, such as football, and later development of CTE


Anne E. Bunner, Ph.D.
Program Analyst
Research Division Contract support to Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC)

Silver Spring, Maryland
Donald W. Marion, M.D.
Senior Clinical Consultant
Clinical Affairs Division
Contract support to DVBIC
Silver Spring, Maryland


Katherine M. Helmick, MS, CRNP, ANP-BC, CNRN
Deputy Director
Silver Spring, Maryland

Continuing Education

Continuing education credit is available from Professional Education Services Group (PESG).  You must register by 3 p.m. (ET) Jan. 14, 2016, 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


Care Coordination Improvement Series

Join us for a 30 minute, monthly series!

1st Wednesday of the Month

January 6th, 2016: 1:00 pm

The Community-Based Care Transition Project: Outcomes- What’s Next?

To join this webinar and call:

  1. Click or copy and paste this URL to your web browser:

  2. This should bring you to the QualityNet e-University webpage

  3. Locate the event you wish to join and click "Join" (located to the right of the event title)

  4. Enter your name and email address as prompted

  5. Enter the password: Coordination

  6. The automatic system set-up should start at this point. If a dialogue box appears, click run. Please note, the automatic system set-up does take a few minutes to complete.

  7. Dial in to the teleconference

    1. Teleconference Number: 800-747-5150

      Access Code: 9963169

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Email Contact: Robert M. Trachtenberg, MS

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