WHAT THE HECK IS AHEC?
We strive to establish educational, recruitment and outreach programs, as well as interprofessional collaborations and training in eight counties of Northwest Indiana. These counties include: Lake, Porter, LaPorte, St. Joseph, Starke, Marshall, Newton and Jasper.
Why are Health Careers the focus of AHEC? The “Baby Boomers” are rapidly approaching retirement age. When this generation is no longer part of our workforce, many job vacancies will be created causing a huge shortage in healthcare fields throughout the US. There is concern for the lack of trained professionals to fill the vacancies and that as this large population ages, their need for medical care increases. There simply will not be enough healthcare professionals to meet the growing needs of this aging population.
The lack of diversity is another issue to consider among healthcare providers. Most often people are more comfortable interacting with cultures and backgrounds, similar to their own. Language barriers are often a problem in communicating ailments and receiving treatment or proper care. Therefore, there is need to increase the number of students going into health careers and the diversity of students entering these fields. It is extremely important to the health and well-being of our society.
Students typically think of doctors, nurses and dentists when contemplating health careers. There are over 250 careers available, in healthcare which cover a wide variety of skill and ability levels.
Lastly, rural communities are faced with challenges to accessing health care, such as long distance travel to receive medical care, a shortage of healthcare workers in rural areas and the impact of socioeconomic factors.
We strive to develop a pipeline by providing education for students from 8-12 grades. Educating students about opportunities available in health careers and attempting to increase minority students’ interest, in these professions through enrichment activities.
We strive to engage students studying in the health profession, by providing experiences and exposure to the needs of the under-served and providing experiences working with these populations.
We strive to provide support for professionals currently practicing, in the health care field by assisting with resources, access to technology and continuing education opportunities for practitioners working in rural or under-served areas.
NWI AHEC is part of a network of regional “centers” that are coordinated through a central program office. Each regional center is locally grown and is designed to assess and meet the needs of citizens in that specific region. The central program office is located in the Department of Family Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicines.
There are eight independent regional offices that work to serve Hoosiers, living in their designated counties. In 2001, the NWI AHEC was the second regional center established by the State of Indiana. NWI AHEC is located in the Purdue University Northwest Campus in the Department of Nursing.
Increase…DIVERSITY, DISTRIBUTION and QUALITY of Health Care Providers
1. Connecting youth to health care careers by Providing EDUCATION (Grades 8 -12)
Educating students about opportunities available in health careers and attempting to increase minority students’ interest in these professions through enrichment activities.
- Classroom Presentations
- Health Fair Exhibits
- Teaching Models and Resources
- Fieldtrips and Shadowing Experiences
- Summer Camps and Enrichment Programs for Students
2. Engaging health profession students by providing learning EXPERIENCES (Higher education for students in Health Professions)
Exposing students to the needs of the underserved and providing experiences working with these populations.
- AHEC Scholars Fellowship
- Establishing clinical rotation sites in underserved areas
- Facilitating Cultural Awareness activities
- Providing opportunities for service learning through volunteering and being role models for youth
3. Providing SUPPORT for Practicing Professionals by offering professional programming
Assisting with resources, access to technology and continuing education opportunities for practitioners working in rural or underserved areas.
- Promoting links and resources to current information on Best Practices
- Promoting continuing education programs
- Sponsoring attendance at conferences
- Assisting preceptors of health profession students
Areas We Serve
In 2001 the Northwest Indiana AHEC was the second regional center established by the State of Indiana. It is hosted by Purdue University Northwest’s College of Nursing. This partnership enhances both program’s mission and goals. Additionally, Purdue University Northwest serves as NWI AHEC’s fiscal agent and houses its operations. NWI AHEC strives to establish programs and collaboration in the 8 counties of northwest Indiana which it currently serves. These counties include: Lake, Porter, LaPorte, St. Joseph, Starke, Marshall, Newton and Jasper. The mission of NWI’s AHEC is “to enhance access to quality health care, particularly primary and preventive care for medically underserved populations, by improving the distribution and diversity of health care professionals and improving health care quality through community/academic educational partnerships.