The Urban Service Track/AHEC Scholars Program is designed to produce a cadre of well qualified health care professionals through prevention and primary care in Connecticut's urban underserved communities. As Urban Health/AHEC Scholars, participants represent a select group of students enrolled in the UConn Schools of Pharmacy, Nursing, Medicine, Dental Medicine, Social Work, and Quinnipiac University's Physician Assistant Program.
A total of 60 Urban Health/AHEC Scholars, eight to twenty students per school, are selected each year from among qualified applicants who have a demonstrated commitment to service. They gain valuable exposure to the complex and challenging issues of health care in the inner city. A strong mentorship component supports learners as they navigate their own personal and professional development.
Students develop competencies in the following areas: culture and linguistics; population health; health policy; advocacy; health care financing and management; leadership; community resources; interprofessional health care teams; and quality improvement.
In addition to completing the basic science and clinical curricula of their respective schools, Urban Health/AHEC Scholars are exposed to a set of interprofessional experiences designed to heighten awareness of the intriguing challenges and unique opportunities in urban communities.
Clinical training occurs in federally qualified health centers and other primary care facilities in Connecticut's urban underserved communities. Elective clinical experiences focus on underserved settings such as homeless shelters, community health fairs, and migrant farm worker clinics.
Urban Health/AHEC Scholars participate in a variety of activities to enhance their clinical and patient counseling skills. These include the Clinical Skills Boot Camp, simulations and trainings incorporating screening tools.
The Urban Service Track/AHEC Scholars program is an exciting "add on" curriculum focused on the underserved and urban and rural communities. Unlike a club, the program is a formal two-year curriculum and is sponsored by 46 AHEC programs, nationally.
Operating for more than 15 years, the Urban Service Track/AHEC Scholars Program is part of national movement funded by the U.S. Bureau of Health Workforce focused on training health professions students to provide care to vulnerable underserved communities. Student participants are known as Urban Health/AHEC Scholars because of the robust training provided over the course of two years.