NAO UPDATE | Provided as a Member Benefit May 22, 2017

From the President's Office

Over the past two months, I have kept you abreast of the search process for the NAO's next Chief Executive Officer (CEO) through notifications in our Monday Update. Following a national search and successful initial contract negotiations, I am pleased to announce that on last Friday we finalized our contract with our next CEO of the National AHEC Organization. On behalf of the Board of Directors of the National AHEC Organization, we present to you Mr. Jack W. Register, M.S.W, CEO of the National AHEC Organization. Jack will officially begin as our CEO on July 1. Please enjoy the note below from Jack and join me in welcoming him to our NAO community.

NAO 2018 Conference Planning: The NAO Conference Planning Committee continues to negotiate with hotel sites in the Washington DC area that are interested in hosting the 2018 NAO Conference. Several administrative, logistical and budgetary issues still need to be addressed with potential sites prior to a final decision being made. Once these issues are worked out to the Planning Committee's satisfaction, we will announce the chosen site.

Public Policy Action Alert: Please note the Action Alert from our NAO Public Policy Committee and Lodriguez Murray, Health and Medicine Counsel of Washington



Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) is the champion for funding the AHEC program in the United States Senate. He has authored a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee chairman and ranking member asking for $40 million for the AHEC program along with various other programs that benefit his state of Hawaii.

Members of the National AHEC Organization are needed to contact their two U.S. Senators and ask that they sign on to Senator Schatz letter.

Tips for Contacting Senate Offices
Go to to know the names and contact numbers of your 2 senators.

Sample Call

  1. Identify yourself as a constituent and ask to speak with the legislator's Healthcare or Appropriations staffer.
    i.e. My name is [your name] and I am a constituent from [your hometown, state].
  2. Tell the aide that you are calling on behalf of the National AHEC Organization (NAO). Briefly talk about your affiliation with and the impact of AHEC in your community/state.
  3. Ask that the Senator sign on to the letter circulated by Sen. Schatz (Hawaii) asking for $40 million for the AHEC program in FY 2018.
  4. Give the aide your contact information and ask to be informed whether or not the Senator has signed on.
  5. Do not be afraid to call/email more than once. These offices need to be flooded with your requests. Typical e-mails follow this format: First Name_Last Name@Senator's Last Name.Senate.Gov.
  6. Please disseminate this action alert to everyone else that is impacted by the AHEC program, including:
    1. Center Directors,
    2. Family and friends,
    3. Students, &
    4. Community leaders

Sample Email
Dear [Staffer's Name],

My name is _____, and I am writing on behalf of the National AHEC Organization. I am a constituent of [city, State].

  • Introduce yourself and talk about your connection to the AHEC program
  • Describe your AHEC's programmatic initiatives and how they work to create a health workforce IN YOUR STATE that has far reaching positive impacts for YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Ask the Senator to sign on to Senator Schatz's letter for FY 2018 funding and includes $40 million for the AHEC program. Tell them how much of that funding impacts your state!



Hello AHEC community

I am excited to be joining you and am writing today to introduce myself. I am a social worker by training and have held positions in direct clinical practice across the human services and healthcare spectrum. I have been everything from a medical social worker to private practice behavioral health practitioner. I have also spent a great deal of my career as a nonprofit & association leader and policy advocate. Most recently I was the Executive Director for the state National Alliance on Mental Illness. I am accustomed to the work of nonprofit membership associations and believe we will grow together and strengthen the AHEC mission of building stronger communities by ensuring the strength of the healthcare workforce.

I grew up in a military family and moved a great deal. I have called North Carolina home for the last 20 years or so but have lived all over the US. I am accustomed to working with members in rural & urban settings. I look forward to getting to know you all as we build a stronger organization.

Jack W. Register

National Training Center

Terry Zollinger, HPV Project Evaluation Consultant; Gretchen Forsell, HPV Project Director; and Trisha Schulz, HPV Project Manager, at the National Rural Health Association Conference.

HPV Project staff spreading the word about AHEC!

The NAO HPV Project leadership team hasn't been in the office much the last two weeks. First, the team traveled to San Diego to present "Area Health Education Centers' Niche in Continuing Education" at the National Rural Health Association Conference. The session was well received and new connections were made. It was great reconnecting with the many AHEC'ers in attendance as well as networking with new people!

Gretchen and Trisha from the HPV Project also traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, this past week to participate in the American Cancer Society's HPV Vaccination Roundtable Midwest Listening Session. HPV coalitions from Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin shared their successes, challenges and ways we can better support their collective efforts. We came away re-energized with lots of good resources and contacts.

Texas AHECs highlighted in CDC newsletter

The Texas AHEC East – Piney Woods Region AHEC and the Mid Rio Grande Border AHECs, along with NAO, were highlighted in the CDC's PreTeen Vax News last week! The newsletter highlighted the partners working in Texas – the state with the largest population of adolescents eligible to be vaccinated. We're very proud of the efforts by our Texas AHECs. Way to go!

Programs Update — Health Literacy as a Tool for Change

Goals for the NAO Health Literacy Initiative are to reduce health disparities at a personal, family, and community level through AHEC training in the Project SHARE curriculum (Student Health Advocates Redefining Empowerment.) Here are some quotes from year one participants indicating the AHEC impact:

"The interviews with the family members helped me speak to my uncle about why he has the messed up leg. And then I learned that it is a bone degenerate thing in my family so I need to be careful. Now I ask questions all the time."

"It's not enough to just trust whichever websites are popular and pop up first because sometimes they are just ads that the companies paid for. But now we have to make sure that we go through the right portals to get to the other websites that are real programs and real data."

"I used to think Health disparities was just a white people word that the doctors use to blame us for always having diabetes and cancer because we are Indian. But now, I understand what the words mean and why they are using it. Now we can use it in the right way so that we can increase or decrease the issues."

Upcoming Events

Other News


The Conference Planning Committee and Board of Directors of the National AHEC Organization (NAO) are soliciting proposals for management of the NAO 2018 Biennial Conference, AHEC on the Hill: Diversity, Distribution & Practice Transformation. The four-day conference will be held June or July 2018, in Washington, D.C. and focus on the professional development of approximately 600 AHEC program and center directors, staff, board members, students, preceptors, and other interested parties.

The selected agency must demonstrate the ability to handle a myriad of inquiries from potential and/or registered participants on a one-on-one basis assign an appropriate number of personnel for conference coordination and on-site management throughout the four-day event. This includes dealing with last-minute registration requests, travel questions, and accommodation problems in a prompt yet thoughtful manner, while simultaneously following specific guidelines established by the Conference Planning Committee and the NAO management firm.

NAO strongly encourages submissions by NAO members in good standing (current on membership dues). Proposals must be received by 11:59 pm EST, Monday June 2, 2017. Send the proposal and budget to: Anna Wenders at The full Request for Proposals can be found here.

Center Directors and Program Directors

Please join us for the following Center Director Constituency Group Meeting – open to all center directors:

Center Director Constituency Group Annual Meeting
Wednesday, June 14
12 noon CST
Passcode: 33402919

News from HRSA is that the AHEC grant submissions will be reviewed on May 30th and June 1st and that the UPR guidance is coming soon! Going forward, the PDCG and CDCG will collaborate on webinars for all directors — stay tuned for a survey on possible topics.

Stay tuned for more information on quarterly calls for Program Office staff for open discussion and strategic planning.

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. It may make sense to create more SIGs regarding AHEC redesign with a focus on practice transformation. If there is interest, we can supply a dial-in number and log-in for those interested in sharing information and resources.​

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: Samantha Danner

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