NAO UPDATE | Provided as a Member Benefit September 12, 2016

From the CEO's Office

Greetings from Atlanta! I am with the NAO HPV CDC team next week as we attend and present at the CDC-sponsored National Immunization Conference. It's wonderful being here! I'm looking forward to seeing our NAO and partner organization colleagues during pre-conference meetings and the conference sessions. For more information about the NIC, please take a look at

HRSA AHEC Re-Design & FY2017 FOA

The registration link for the September 20th webinar — the next one in our series of webinars — has gone out and we're looking forward to a good discussion related to best practices and model programs as they relate to health workforce distribution. I expect that we will be able to provide answers to the questions posed to Dr. Padilla and his team at the Bureau of Health Workforce.

For those of you who have not seen the registration link​ it's here:

Again, for reference, if you haven't yet seen these, or wish to review them again, you can download the June 30, 2016 HRSA presentation slides here. You can also download the NAO redesign proposal of May 6, 2016 to HRSA here and a summary of our call on June 22, 2016 with HRSA to discuss their response here.

I continue to hear that AHEC Programs are beginning their strategic planning for the upcoming AHEC FOA. I am pleased that this is the case and I hope the linked documents and the upcoming webinars will be useful in your planning. ​For Center and Program directors: please share the documents widely with your teams, as I think it will be most valuable to ensure that all AHEC staff are apprised of the key priorities and the future direction of the AHEC program.

Good Reads!

National Training Center

Representing NAO at national conferences

The leadership team is in Atlanta this week for the National Immunization Conference where we will present on our project as part of a partnership session "Partners for HPV Vaccine Uptake." The three-day conference includes more than 60 sessions! It's exciting to bring the HPV Project to such a prestigious national audience with more than 1,500 expected to attend. Wait! Wasn't the HPV team just in Atlanta? Yes! Gretchen and Trisha participated in the American Cancer Society's 2nd annual Roundtable meeting and also the Best Practices conference. They came back with lots of information, ideas and products you'll be able to utilize in the coming year. One of the best parts of the HPV Roundtable meeting was having multiple individuals as well as organizations wanting to involve AHEC in their activities!

Project specialists moving onto Year 3

The NAO HPV project has evolved and this coming year will include a greater emphasis on individual state activities, building partnerships and integrations with other grantees, cancer prevention partners and immunization agencies within each state to more effectively increase HPV immunization rates. To achieve this, a change needed to be made to the Regional Coordinator structure. Moving into the project's third year, four Project Specialists will build upon the valuable contribution of the Regional Coordinators in the first two years.

The Project Specialists will focus on four areas: partnerships, marketing and public relations, continuing education, and integration of this project into current AHEC/HRSA activities. The four new Project Specialists are:

  • Partnerships: Kelly Owens, MPH, CHES, Southern Kentucky AHEC
  • AHEC/HRSA integration: Carlen Williams, MPA, Southeast Alaska AHEC
  • Marketing/Public Relations: Corryn Celmer, BS, Yankton Rural AHEC (South Dakota)
  • Continuing Education: Joy Taylor, BS, AHEC West (Maryland)

We want to thank our outgoing Regional Coordinators for their contributions: Victor Rodriguez-Cruz, Michelle Richard, Terra Birsen, Paula Overfelt, Julie Bazan and Marissa Starks-Bahn! They worked closely with states and the project leadership team to make the first two years successful. Their work to bring states together into a new model of delivering a national training program was challenging and the impact has positively impacted the NAO network. The ability to expand this national scale project and continue to be successful is due in part because of their contribution.

Year 3 kickoff

Can you believe we're nearing completion of Year 2 of the HPV project? We are gearing up for Year 3 and want you to be a part of this important national project. Learn more about what we have planned at our kick-off webinar. Thursday, Sept. 22, 3 p.m. ET Register Now. For background and project successes, check out our HPV Project Webpage.

Easy to Read Materials: Are They Really?

A recent webinar from the National Library of Medicine featured the research of Miraida Morales, a fellow and Ph.D. candidate at Rutgers University in Library and Information Science. In it, she explores the generalizability of easy to read materials and assessment tools. Ms. Morales cautions health literacy practioners on the over-use of "readability" scores in health education. Find out more in the informative presentation which can be found here:

Health Literacy Month – Finding the Right Words for Better Health

It's coming. October is Health Literacy Month. Visit the Health Literacy Awareness Month website for help planning your organizational health literacy promotion needs:

NAO-American College of Rheumatology Lupus Initiative Update

The American College of Rheumatology's (ACR) Lupus Initiative (TLI) continues to successfully educate non-rheumatology healthcare professionals about lupus and health disparities. The ACR recently held a multi-session, small-group, cohort-style virtual education series for healthcare providers in Southwest Georgia and the Pacific Northwest, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health (OMH).

Especially instrumental in the development and execution of this provider education series and its accompanying community awareness campaign were the Southwest Georgia AHEC in Albany, GA and the Cascades East AHEC in Bend, OR. This series built on lupus fundamentals and included sessions on lab testing, medications, pregnancy and pediatric considerations, lupus flares, and health maintenance and preventive care. Twelve healthcare providers – advanced nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, and MDs – engaged with the ACR in this series that emphasized the health disparate nature of lupus, especially as it pertains to African American and American Indian/Alaska Native populations in both series' sites. 100% of participants were pleased ("a lot" or "somewhat") with the pace, delivery, and content of the sessions, and 100% self-reported increased levels ("a lot" or "somewhat") of awareness, knowledge, and competence regarding lupus' signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Each session was recorded and will become enduring activities for continuing medical education (CME) credit available through TLI's website later this year. Both AHECs will be involved in further ACR efforts under renewed OMG funding for 2016-2017.


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

Join health care professionals and academics to exchange knowledge on the "State of the Science: Advances, Current Diagnostics and Treatments of Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury in Military Health Care" at the 2016 Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Summit.

Presented live September 13 – 15 from the Defense Health Headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia, this three-day hybrid event will connect a limited-size physical audience with up to 1,500 other attendees from around the world via a concurrent virtual component in real-time.

All attendees will have access to 28 hours of evidence-based treatment programing, plus opportunities to join session discussions and Q&As with speakers; earn continuing education credits; visit exhibitors; gain resources; share experiences through peer-to-peer learning; seek new and lasting collaborations with potential partners; and much more!

Plenary sessions will be organized into two tracks - psychological health and traumatic brain injury.

Register today, and get additional information at

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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 Businesses and Employers
Thursday, September 15, 2016
2:00 – 3:30 pm, MT (4:00-5:30 ET)


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


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


Discovering your Wellbeing - Discover the five elements of wellbeing that shape your life and how your own wellbeing determines how you show up in your life. Learn about the changing face of "worksite wellness" and how to create a healthier environment at work so you can thrive. Speaker: Erin Cummins, Program Manager Kaiser Permanente's Healthy Workforce Program


Prevention is Good Business – When it comes to an employer's bottom line, health matters. A healthier workforce creates ROI – higher productivity, reduced absenteeism and lower health costs. Live Well Sioux Falls is a community health initiative working to implement policy, systems and environmental changes throughout the community, including within worksites. Learn how this local coalition works with employers and other community partners to demonstrate the return on investment for businesses to implement and support wellness. Speakers: Mary Michaels, Public Health Prevention Coordinator, and Stan Kogan, Health Promotion Specialist, with the Sioux Falls Public Health Department in Sioux Falls, South Dakota


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.

Other News

NAO CORE Needs Your Data!

Data is key to demonstrating the impact of AHEC programming and it is essential that NAO leadership continue to have current data to tell our story. We cannot tell you how beneficial it is for NAO to be able to report current numbers which means every year, the data needs to be updated.

The good news is that our streamlined NAO CORE data collection form and process make reporting easier than ever. There is only one form and essentially all of the questions can be answered using data included in your federal report. Please help us gather the total numbers for 2015-2016 by completing the NAO CORE Data Collection Form and returning it to us no later than Friday, September 23, 2016. All data should be submitted to Rachel Little, NAO CORE Annual Data Collection and Reporting Co-Chair, at on or before September 23, 2016.

Your continued participation in CORE's data collection effort will provide us with the means to not only produce updated annual legislative flyers, but help us determine trends and inform decision making. We look forward to receiving your data! Thank You!

Questions? Contact Detra Brown, NAO CORE Annual Data Collection and Reporting Co-Chair, at

Rural Immersion Institute of the North July 12 – August 2, 2017

Applications for RIIN 2017 are Now Open!

The Alaska Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) program requests your assistance in sharing an exciting interdisciplinary opportunity with your students. The Rural Immersion Institute of the North (RIIN) program is designed to expose pre-professional health majors to a rural and/or underserved healthcare experience. The program was developed over the course of three years and launched in June 2016.

Students will have a one-of-a-kind experience traveling to some of the most remote communities in the United States in order to walk in the shoes of healthcare providers in the Last Frontier. Many students sign up for international experiences where they take part in high risk clinical scenarios in an attempt to enhance their resumes and skillsets. The RIIN program provides these same students with access to a safe yet culturally diverse healthcare landscape without leaving the country.

The AHEC program aims to strengthen the healthcare workforce in rural and underserved communities. RIIN provides students with early exposure to rural practice, offering the perfect backdrop to entice future practitioners to the neediest communities in our country.

More information is available through the Health Careers Exploration website. There is also a PDF brochure for download. Eligible RIIN applicants include undergraduate juniors and seniors, gap year students and professionals returning to graduate school including, but not limited to, the following areas of study:

  • Medicine
  • Psychiatry
  • Dentistry
  • Pharmacy
  • Chiropractic
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Physician Assistant
  • Psychology
  • Social Work
  • Speech Language Pathology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Public Health
  • Healthcare Administration

Apply online at

Click here for a PDF Brochure

Tuesdays with Trachtenberg

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

Please join us on the next "Tuesdays with Trachtenberg" call, which will be Tuesday September 27th 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

Please keep the momentum going on the NAO SIGs — I know that they have been useful! Remember: anyone can add a SIG and work with AHEC colleagues from anywhere in the country.​ Please note that a Preceptor Tax Legislation and a Rapid Cycle Quality Improvement (RCQI) group has been added (waiting on a dial-in #s). Please be sure to take a look and join one of our SIGs.​

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