NAO UPDATE | Provided as a Member Benefit May 9, 2016

From the CEO's Office

I am writing to provide you with an update of the NAO "AHEC re-design" writing process.

The writing team has wrapped up the document and the final version of proposed AHEC activities for the FY2017 FOA (Funding Opportunity Announcement) was sent to Dr. Luis Padilla on Friday May 6, 2016.

Again, the purpose of the outline/white paper was to propose key AHEC elements that the leadership wants to ensure are included in the re-design that take into account and values the variability of AHECs nationally with respect to geographic location (urban, rural, frontier), program and center size, annual budget, and local/regional needs while also proposing a uniform set of outputs and outcomes be established for AHECs to, overall, work toward alignment of the AHEC network with HHS/HRSA strategic priorities, respond to the December 2015 GAO Report, and support and enhance the safety net delivery system (SNDS) where available (e.g. FQHCs, CHCs, RHCs, and NHSC, HPSA, MUA/MUP clinical practices, etc.).

The core NAO team of writers includes leaders from the NAO board and leaders from the Program Director and Center Director Constituency Groups, and takes into account feedback from a diverse group of AHECers. Additionally, ​NAO ​Board members and members of the PDCG and CDCG leadership teams had an opportunity to review the final document before submission. ​I am certain that the "re-design" of the AHEC Program will be a hot topic at the NAO 2016 Conference. ​Be sure to register as soon as you can so that you can be part of the "Future of AHEC" discussion.

​Many thanks again to the outstanding core writing team!​ They each worked extremely hard on behalf of all AHECs!​

  • ​Jacqueline Wynn, NC AHEC, NAO board president
  • Linda Cragin, MA AHEC
  • Mary Craig, NAO board member & president-elect​
  • Gretchen Forsell, Northern Nebraska AHEC, NAO National Training Center HPV Project
  • David Garr, SC AHEC and NAO board member
  • ​Paula Overfelt, Northwest MO AHEC, CDCG Chair
  • Elyse Perweiler, NJ AHEC
  • Sandra Pope, WV AHEC, NAO board member, PDCG Chair​
  • Donald Tyner, SC AHEC
  • Deborah Stier Carson, SC AHEC​

On another note, I'll be out of the office Wednesday May 11th through Wednesday May 18th. I'll be in Anchorage, Alaska to participate in the Northwest Regional Primary Care Association's annual conference. I'll be on a panel with our Alaska AHEC director and colleague Gloria Burnett, among others, discussing ​NAO and our national AHEC network, particularly as it relates to AHEC-CHC collaborations. ​I'll also be taking a little time to explore Anchorage and the surrounding area with Catherine and the kids. ​I'll be back in the office on Thursday May 19th.

NAO 2016 Washington, D.C. Conference: Register NOW!

Only seven weeks until the NAO 2016 Washington, D.C Conference kicks off! That's less than two months--which is not a lot of time and will certainly fly by. Register now before it slips off your "to-do" list. ​The "Early Bird" registration ends on May 13th, which is only five (5!) working days from today. Register now while you're thinking about it!

I'm looking forward to seeing you in just a few weeks; the conference will be here before you know it, so REGISTER NOW!

CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA)

I'm pleased to report that NAO has joined the CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) as a partner. The COCA prepares clinicians to respond to emerging health threats and public health emergencies by communicating relevant, timely information related to disease outbreaks, disasters, terrorism events, and other health alerts.​ Given our AHECs' wide reach into underserved communities throughout the U.S., it made perfect sense to collaborate with COCA and be available to disseminate information and share resources when appropriate (there is no specific AHEC obligation). COCA leadership were so pleased ​to learn of our program and our reach that NAO is the "COCA Partner Spotlight" for May 2016. You can learn more here as well as see the link to our website:

Good Reads!

2016 Conference Information



Early Bird registration for the NAO 2016 Washington, DC Conference is in full swing! This is the perfect time to take a moment and register for the upcoming conference so you can take advantage of the early bird registration discount. You can register individually by going to and clicking on the link for the conference found on the home page. To register, click on the registration tab and follow the instructions. If you wish to register a group of people, you can print the .pdf registration form also found on the registration tab, complete one for each person, and fax them to the NAO registration team at 414-768-8001. Remember, we must receive your fax by the end of business on Friday, May 13th in order to take advantage of the early bird discount.

  • New Directors Orientation: If you are a new Center or Program Director, don't forget to sign up for this exciting and informative training for all new directors. You must register in advance to be able to attend.

  • Monday Evening Welcome Reception: Enjoy a nice evening of networking with your fellow AHECers, and check out the poster session as well. You must register in advance to attend.

  • A Salute to AHEC: NAO Capitol Awards Dinner: Come join all attendees at a spectacular and fun Dinner and Awards Banquet. Network with other AHEC staff, and come support our award winners. We have some exciting, and absolutely fun entertainment for you. You must register in advance to attend.


Don't forget to make your hotel reservations at the


Hotel reservation deadline is June 6, 2016

You can make your hotel reservations on-line by selecting the Hotel tab on the conference web site. Please take a moment to read all of the important information included on that page. A link to make your hotel reservation is noted in this area of the conference website. Please note that the last day to book your reservation with the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel and get the NAO conference rate is by 5pm, Friday, June 6th. After this date, the rooms will be released back to the hotel and any reservations made after that date will be based upon availability and current room rates.

Book early to ensure you get the group rate.

Please consider when making your plans for Washington, DC, to do your best to arrange to stay in the conference hotel. You will benefit as the conference events will all be at your doorstep, and you'll have lots of opportunities to network and meet up with new and old friends. And NAO will benefit; as you may know, NAO conference contracts are signed with hotels a couple of years in advance. These contracts include a specified number of "room nights" which we have to fill. If we fall short, we pay a significant amount of money in penalties. Given the current economy, our organization, like many others, is suffering short-falls. It is possible that NAO may not be able to afford to do annual conferences if we end up too far in the red, so please, do what you can to continue to support NAO by booking your room at the Renaissance Hotel.

See you in Washington, DC!

Mary Craig and Anna Wenders
Conference Co-chairs

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 date for the upcoming Countdown to the Capitol webinar:

Friday, May 13, 2016 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM Eastern Time — Register Now!

More information on each webinar will be shared in the near future. The content for each topic in the series was designed to meet the membership needs and is based on results from NAO advocacy survey. Each webinar has presented a different Advocacy topic and will build upon the previous webinar. This interactive 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.

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

Angela M. Boyer (Indiana AHEC Network)

Kristina Fjeld-Sparks (New Hampshire AHEC)

National Training Center

Showing network strength!
Did you know that AHECs involved in the HPV project have – to date - disseminated educational materials to reach 155,867 health professionals and health professions students? WOW! The reach of the network is incredible. Thanks for all of your hard work on this project!

Planning summer AHEC activities? Think vaccines!
Are you currently planning your summer Health Careers Promotion activities? Consider including a vaccination and cancer prevention piece! Check out how the Boston AHEC did just that with this HPV PSA. Very cool!

Meeting Student Learners Where They're At

The Project SHARE curriculum is modular and flexible so, while activity suggestions accompany each lesson in the provided curriculum, AHEC awardees have shown delightful creativity in developing new activities relevant to their own student groups. Montana AHEC recently highlighted their ability to bring lesson information to life using the cell phone app Super Tracker. Students used it to record what they ate. After several entries, the app runs a report on vitamin and mineral intake, suggesting which vitamins and minerals they may need to consume more or less of. Students then used this information to research vitamins and minerals of interest online via reputable websites (MedlinePlus etc.) to try and improve their diet. For extra credit students brought food items in that contained their vitamins and minerals to discuss and share with the class. Including current technology trends is a great way to meet student learners where they are at.

American College of Rheumatology Lupus Education Initiative

A continuing partnership with the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is bringing five AHEC centers a new lupus initiative this summer. Lupus is a serious and potentially life-altering disease for those who have it. Unfortunately, lupus is also severely misdiagnosed and underdiagnosed in Hispanic, Black, and Native American populations. To address this provider practice gap NAO and ACR will work with three Arizona AHECs and two Louisiana AHECs to implement learning and networking sessions in their areas; building awareness of the disease and relationships with practicing rheumatologists. Congratulations to these five awardee AHECs on this new, important, and exciting initiative:

Northern Arizona AHEC
Southeastern Arizona AHEC
Western Arizona AHEC
Southeast Louisiana AHEC
Southwest Louisiana AHEC


2016 Webinar Series: Promoting Healthy Eating and Active Living through Partnerships and the National Prevention Strategy

Presented by Region VIII Federal Partners

The Role of Early Learning Centers, Schools, Colleges and Universities
Thursday, May 19, 2016
2:00 – 3:30 pm, MT (4:00-5:30 ET)

2:00-2:05 Welcome and Adobe Connect Logistics
Speaker: Cherri Pruitt, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Region VIII Maternal and Child Health Consultant

2:05-2:20 What IS the National Prevention Strategy and its Healthy Eating and Active Living Priorities
Speaker: Laurie Konsella, U.S.Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Acting Regional Health Administrator, Region VIII

2:20-2:40 TOP Star: Utah's Obesity Prevention Program in Early Care and Education: Learn about this successful program in which TOP Star consultants partner with child care providers to assess their nutrition and physical activity practices, set goals and develop an action plan, and provide training and technical assistance to implement an effective childhood obesity program in child care facilities.
Speaker: Patrice Isabella, Nutrition Coordinator: Healthy Living Through Environment, Policy, and Improved Clinical Care, Utah Department of Health

2:40-3:00 Measuring Food Waste in School Settings to Influence Dietary Intake - Food waste measurement is a powerful tool for changing policies and practices to positively influence dietary intake in the school setting. From early child care to K-12 to colleges and universities, this presentation will provide information on simple and effective measurement strategies to increase healthy food consumption at school.
Speaker: Dr. Carmen Byker Shanks, Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator of Human Nutrition at the Food and Health Lab at Montana State University

3:00-3:20 Food is More Than Something to Eat – An Innovative Tribal College Program: In this presentation, you will learn how the United Tribes Technical College uses USDA Extension Program funds to bring culturally relevant educational resources, training, and consultation on nutrition, life skills, and food systems to their campus and greater community.
Speaker: Dr. Wanda Agnew, Faculty/Extension Nutrition Educator, United Tribes Technical College

3:20-3:30 Questions & Answers and Additional Resources

Please contact: RegionVIIIFedPartners@HHS.GOV with any questions, to be added to our direct webinar series distribution list, or to request a written transcript of this event.

Continuing education credits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for this activity are pending.

2016 May Military Health System Speaker Series — Continuing Education Opportunity

Join us for the third event of the 2016 Military Health System (MHS) Speaker Series, "Mental Health," scheduled 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (EDT) 18 May 2016. The topics covered during this event support an integrated system of health care for those who serve in the defense of our country, and newly established Defense Health Agency objectives.

Presentations include:

"Applications of Music Therapy: Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health with Military Populations"
Rebecca Vaudreuil, EdM, MT-BC, Neurologic Music Rehabilitation & NICU Specialist, National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland

  • Interpret the use of targeted music therapy interventions in a mental health setting.
  • Identify music therapy interventions and the applicable context for utilization in an interdisciplinary or co-treatment setting.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of neurologic music therapy (NMT) through real-time experiential examples in the realms of speech and language, sensorimotor and cognition.

"Obesity, Eating Behaviors, and Stigma among Service Members and Dependents"
Natasha Schvey, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Uniformed Services University Health Science (USUHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland

  • Recognize antecedents to weight bias in clinical settings.
  • Demonstrate knowledge about the impact of weight bias on engagement in primary health care.
  • Identify and apply strategies to reduce weight bias in primary health care settings.

"Chronic Neuropsychiatric Effects of Mefloquine Toxicity"
Remington Nevin, MD, MPH, DrPH Candidate, Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland

  • Identify characteristic neurologic and psychiatric features of the mefloquine toxidrome.
  • Describe plausible pathophysiologic mechanisms of the toxidrome's chronic sequelae.
  • Relate progressive changes in military mefloquine policy to updates in the mefloquine drug label.
  • Recognize the relevance of mefloquine intoxication and its chronic sequelae in the care of military service members and veterans.

"Sleep Disturbance: Assessment and Evidence-Based Clinical Interventions in the Active Duty and Veteran Populations"
Anthony Panettiere, M.D., USN Retired, Neurology and Sleep Medicine, National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland
Jonathan Olin, M.D., Psychiatrist and Sleep Medicine Specialist, Director, Evans Army Community Hospital Sleep Lab, Department of Medicine, Ft. Carson, Colorado

  • Integrate the key principles of conducting a sleep assessment.
  • Explain evidence-based practices that improve patient complaints of disturbed sleep and nightmares.
  • Discriminate when a medication or non-medication sleep intervention would be most beneficial to the patient.
  • Engage the patient in practicing and documenting sleep hygiene techniques.
  • Determine when a patient would be a good candidate for a sleep study/sleep consult.

Target Audience
This activity has been designed to meet the educational needs of physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, physical therapists, medical coders, health care executives, social workers, pharmacists, case managers, psychologists, speech language professionals, counselors and other healthcare professionals who support/care for U.S. active-duty service members, reservists, National Guardsmen, military veterans and/or their families.

Continuing Education
You must register by 6 p.m. (EDT) May 18, to earn up to six continuing education credits. This continuing education activity is provided through collaboration between the Defense Health Agency and the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, and issued by Professional Education Services Group.

The awarding of continuing education credit is limited in scope to health care providers who actively provide care to U.S. active-duty service members, reservists, National Guardsmen, military veterans and their families.

Sign up for the webinar at:

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

If you have questions or need assistance, please email:

Mark your calendars for the 2016 DCoE Summit Sept. 13-15

Health care professionals and academics involved in all aspects of psychological health and traumatic brain injury care, education and research for the military population will take part in the 2016 Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Summit – State of the Science: Advances, Current Diagnostics and Treatments of Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury in Military Health Care.

Live Broadcast from Defense Health Headquarters
Live programing from the Defense Health Headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia, will give virtual participants around the globe access in real-time to more than 26 hours of state-of-the-science programing each day, plus opportunities to join panel discussions and Q&As, and network with professionals. As a virtual participant, you are also eligible to earn continuing education credits! Continuing education credits will vary by profession.

Registration opens July 11, 2016

Visit for more information. Bookmark and follow updates!

Follow us on Twitter 
2016 #DCoESummit

Other News

Tuesdays with Trachtenberg: It's back from its mini-vacation!

The next "Tuesdays with Trachtenberg" call will be tomorrow May 10th from 12:30-1:00pm EST. Please dial in at 1-605-475-3220 Passcode: 245171# to get caught up on all things NAO and AHEC!​​

Special Interest Groups: Making Progress Every Day — Be sure to meet in-person in D.C.!

The SIGs continue to roll along! Please take a look at the spreadsheet and consider joining a SIG that aligns with your interest areas and your AHECs' strategic priorities.​

Remember once again: ​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! I'd love to hear how some of the meetings have gone and what the plans going forward are.

For those groups that are making good progress, please consider meeting at the NAO 2016 conference in DC. It will be a good way to connect in-person to keep the work alive!​

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

Job Opportunities

Please remember to check out the Employment section of the NAO website for current job listings.

Current Openings are for:

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Email Contact: Robert M. Trachtenberg, MS

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