About Area Health Education Center (AHEC)
The Connecticut AHEC Program was established in 1995 with an appropriation from the Connecticut General Assembly. These funds allowed the development of a program office at the UConn School of Medicine and the formation of the first AHEC in Norwich. Federal AHEC grant funding began in 1997. The four AHECs in Connecticut together provide statewide coverage. All four centers are now independent 501(c)(3) organizations.
The Connecticut Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Network works throughout Connecticut to improve access to basic health care by linking local community groups with the resources of UConn Health and other health profession training programs. For example, the AHEC Program brought UConn Health students and faculty together with several community-based organizations to establish migrant farm worker health care in Connecticut.
The AHEC Program is based at UConn Health and is implemented through four regional centers located in the Norwich, Hartford, Waterbury, and Bridgeport areas. Regional centers enable AHEC to carry out local programs with great efficiency, and provide statewide local coverage to provide high quality, efficient, effective and flexible services that meet local needs.
AHECs improve access to health care by:
- Recruiting minority students into the health professions. AHECs work with Connecticut’s public schools to provide health career programs for grades K-16.
- Partnering with community organizations to address local health issues. AHECs have helped local groups secure federal and private funding by ensuring an efficient and effective group process.
- Providing continuing education that improves the care received by vulnerable populations. Conference topics include HIV/AIDS, Cultural Competence and Continuous Quality Improvement.
- Developing and supporting community-training opportunities for health professions students. The AHEC program has been instrumental in helping UConn place more of its students in underserved communities.