Area Health Education Center

New Mexico Area Health Education Center

The New Mexico Area Health Education Center (AHEC) includes the Program Office at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque NM and three Centers: The Montañas del Norte AHEC (MdN AHEC) is located on the campus of Luna Community College and serves 15 counties in Northern NM. The Southern Area Health Education Center (SoAHEC) and FORWARD NM AHEC (FNM AHEC) are both administered through the Southwest Center for Health Innovations. SoAHEC serves 13 counties in Southern NM and FNM AHEC serves four counties in Southwest NM.

Area Health Education Centers connect students to health careers, connect health professionals to communities, and connect communities to better health!

NM AHEC Scholars Program:

The AHEC Scholars Program is a federally-funded, nationwide initiative to create a cadre of health professionals across disciplines committed to working in rural and underserved communities. AHEC Scholars will be leaders in their fields, having gained the knowledge, skills and training to improve primary care practice outcomes through inter-professional and collaborative training. Select the Scholars Program tab, below for more information.

New Mexico AHEC is a Charter Member of the National AHEC Organization (NAO), now comprised of 56 AHEC programs and more than 235 centers operating in almost every state and the District of Columbia. Click here to read about NAO’s programs and outcomes.

32 of the 33 counties have at least one type of Health Professions Shortage Area (HPSA) classification. Specifically, primary care has 39 HPSAs (including 18 entire counties) dental care has 35 HPSAs (21 entire counties), and 29 counties are designated as mental health shortage areas.

Professional shortages also exist for emergency medical personnel, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, behavioral health professionals, nurse practitioners, nurses, and many allied health professionals such as physical and occupational therapists.

Rural, geographically remote Hispanic and Native communities in New Mexico are in areas with the most significant shortage of health professionals in the nation. Studies have shown that students who participate in programs that encourage rural and undeserved community involvement are more likely to eventually work in these communities.

 
  • Increase the ethnic diversity of healthcare professionals in New Mexico
  • Encourage professional practice in under served communities
  • Encourage students to explore careers in healthcare and provide them with health career information
  • Provide support for health professions students to gain clinical and life experiences in rural New Mexico
  • Provide continuing education to health professions residents and practitioners in order to improve the quality of healthcare services to New Mexicans

Objectives

Goals

1.  Develop the Health Professionals Pipeline for Underserved Communities

NM AHEC engages youth in a variety of health career awareness and mentoring activities offered in the public schools and through special events.

2.  Encourage Health Professional Students to Work in Underserved Communities

NM AHEC provides financial support for students from multiple health professional training programs so that they can complete clinical rotations in rural and underserved communities throughout the state. This requires close collaboration with colleges, universities, and a wide variety of clinical training sites.

3.  Support Health Professional Retention and Improve Competency to Provide Culturally Sensitive and Regionally Appropriate Healthcare

NM AHEC offers continuing education to health providers on a variety of culturally sensitive and regionally relevant topics. Collaboration with the NM Department of Health, as well as other private organizations and foundations, facilitates implementation of this training.

Strategies

 
  • Increase access to health care in rural and underserved communities by increasing training and employment in the health care fields. 
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  • Capture and maintain interest about health profession careers, especially among students from minority, rural, and disadvantaged backgrounds.
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  • Support rural clinical rotations for health professional training programs throughout the state by maintaining existing and establishing new collaborations with colleges, universities, and a wide variety of clinical training sites.
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  • Offer continuing education for health professionals on a variety of state and local relevant topics.
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  • Collaborate with New Mexico Health professionals to develop practices that promote culturally sensitive and regionally appropriate health care.
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  • Improve access to quality health care through partnerships with educational institutions, community stakeholders, private organizations, and state and local governments.

The New Mexico Area Health Education Center (AHEC) includes the Program Office at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque NM and three Centers: The Montañas del Norte AHEC (MdN AHEC) is located on the campus of Luna Community College and serves 15 counties in Northern NM. The Southern Area Health Education Center (SoAHEC) and FORWARD NM AHEC (FNM AHEC) are both administered through the Southwest Center for Health Innovations. SoAHEC serves 13 counties in Southern NM and FNM AHEC serves four counties in southwest NM.




New Mexico AHEC
Program Office
 
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
MSC09 5040
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
(505) 272-9761
Director: Helene Silverblatt, MD
Program Specialist: Maria Ward    
Montañas del Norte AHEC (MdN AHEC)          
 
Luna Community College
366 Luna Drive;
Las Vegas, NM 87701
(505) 454-2583
Director: Elaine Luna, LISW
Southern AHEC (SoAHEC)
 

205 W Boutz
Building 8 suite 2
Las Cruces, NM 88005
SW Center for Health Innovations
(575) 649-8714 Cell
Director: Gena Trujillo, MCJ
Forward NM AHEC (FNM AHEC)
 
link to forward nm
 
Workforce Development Programs
SW Center for Health Innovations
301 W. College Avenue, Ste 11
Silver City, NM 88061
(575) 597-0030
Director: Baudelia Salgado (Bala)
What is a "HPSA"?

HPSA stands for Health Professional Shortage Area. A HPSA is defined as a county that does not have sufficient medical staff to properly server a geographic area, typically based on census tract level. There are many categories that HPSA designations apply to, such as emergency medical personnel, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, behavioral health professionals, nurse practitioners, nurses, and many allied health professionals like physical and occupational therapists.

What is New Mexico AHEC doing about HPSA's in New Mexico?
The need for health personnel is acute throughout NM, reaching crisis proportions in some counties for specific disciplines. As one of our priorities, we recruit individuals from underserved communities and underrepresented minorities into health professional careers. Once recruited, AHEC provides continuing education opportunities to individuals as they fulfill their study requirements. Balancing urban health professional education with training in medically underserved areas increases the likelihood that graduates will practice in those areas.

How Do I Find Health Professional Shortage Areas In New Mexico?
We encourage you to become aware if your county has a health professional shortage by visiting the HRSA website, where you can search by state, county and the medical disciplines of primary medical care, dental and mental health.

What can I do if my county has a health professional shortage?
Talk to your state legislators and representatives. Tell them your county has a shortage of health professionals and ask they do all can to support programs like New Mexico AHEC.

NEW MEXICO AREA HEALTH EDUCATION CENTER SCHOLARS PROGRAM

The AHEC Scholars Program is designed specifically for health professions students who have a strong interest in providing care to those living in rural and medically underserved communities across New Mexico.

About the AHEC Scholars Program

The AHEC Scholars Program is a federally-funded, nationwide initiative to create a cadre of health professionals across disciplines committed to working in rural and underserved communities. AHEC Scholars will be leaders in their fields, having gained the knowledge, skills and training to improve primary care practice outcomes through inter-professional and collaborative training.

 

The AHEC Scholars Program’s first cohort will begin in January 2019 and applications are currently being accepted through November 16th, 2018. The application packet includes:

  • A complete application (available here)
  • A personal statement that addresses in no more than 500 words total these three items:

1. Tell us why you would like to be a health professional in New Mexico.
2. Tell us about your background and how it has influenced your goals and preparation for a health professional career in New Mexico.
3. Are you interested in practicing your profession in NM? If yes, why?

  • A completed and signed Eligibility Verification Form Click here

Program Information

In New Mexico, the AHEC Scholars Program will enroll at least 45 students from across universities and colleges in a variety of health professions programs, such as community health worker, graduate counseling/psychology, medicine, nursing (graduate and undergraduate), occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, graduate population/public health, rehabilitation services, and social work.

The NM AHEC Scholars Program focuses on six core topic areas:

  • Interprofessional education - a coordinated, patient-centered model of health care that involves an understanding of the contributions of multiple health care professionals
  • Behavioral health integration - promotes the development of integrated primary and behavioral health services to better address the needs of individuals with mental health and substance use conditions
  • Social determinants of health - includes five key areas (determinants) - economic stability, education, social and community context, health and health care, and neighborhood and built environment - and their impact on health
  • Cultural competency - improving individual health and building healthy communities by training health care providers to recognize and address the unique culture, language, and health literacy of diverse consumers and communities
  • Practice transformation - aims to fully support quality improvement and patient-centered care through goal-setting, leadership, practice facilitation, workflow changes, measuring outcomes, and adapting organizational tools and processes to support new team-based models of care delivery
  • Current and emerging health issues - such as opioid addiction

Program Outcomes

At the conclusion of this program NM AHEC Scholars will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an increased understanding of integrative healthcare and the contributions of various healthcare professionals toward the promotion of health and well-being within our state.
  • Understand and promote the development of integrated primary and behavioral health services to better address the needs of individuals with mental health and substance use conditions
  • Analyze the social determinants of health throughout the state - includes five key areas (determinants) - economic stability, education, social and community context, health and health care, and neighborhood and built environment - and their impact on health
  • Model and promote cultural competency - improving individual health and building healthy communities by training health care providers to recognize and address the unique culture, language, and health literacy of diverse consumers and communities
  • Promote practice transformation - aims to fully support quality improvement and patient-centered care through goal-setting, leadership, practice facilitation, workflow changes, measuring outcomes, and adapting organizational tools and processes to support new team-based models of care delivery
  • Evaluate current and emerging health issues, such as opioid addiction

Expectations

AHEC Scholars will complete 40 hours per year of didactic training and 40 hours per year of community-based experiential (i.e., clinical) training for a total of 80 didactic and 80 clinical hours over the course of the two-year program.

A significant part of the didactic training will include intensive systems leadership workshops with the NM AHEC Scholar cohort. The leadership and skill development program will include a required training in Albuquerque with required quarterly follow-up video conferencing meetings.

In addition, Scholars will participate in a series of Interprofessional Primary Care AHEC TeleECHO (IPPC AHEC TeleECHO) clinics. This first of its kind TeleECHO clinic will introduce AHEC scholars to interprofessional problem based clinical didactics that will focus on the core topic areas as a part of common primary care case studies. These case studies will be drawn from the experience of AHEC Scholars and clinic faculty.

Community-based clinical experiences will be part of the students' regular health profession programs' curriculum, not additional hours. Qualifying clinical experiences will take place in an interprofessional primary care setting in a rural and or underserved area.

Some programs may offer academic credit for participation in the Scholars Program.

The Scholars Program is meant to be a two year program running from September 1st through August 31st each year. This first class of NM AHEC Scholars will be enrolled in an abbreviated program, starting in January 2019 and ending in August 2020. In subsequent cohorts, the program will last two years and will start in the fall.

In sum, AHEC Scholars will be expected to:

  • Participate in the entire program (January 24, 2019 – August 30, 2020).
  • Participate in person in the one-and-a-half-day launch of the program on January 24-25 2019 in Albuquerque, which includes a networking dinner and orientation to the Scholars Program and the IPPC AHEC TeleECHO clinic and an 8-hour leadership training and skill building event (travel expenses, lodging, and meals will be provided).
  • Complete 40 hours of didactic curriculum between January and August 2019 and 40 more between September 2019 and August 2020 (the orientation, leadership training, and 1.5 hour IPPC AHEC TeleECHO clinic sessions will count towards these hours. IPPC AHEC TeleECHO clinic sessions will be offered most Fridays year round and there is no limit to the number of sessions scholars can attend. Credit will also be given for other activities to be announced by the program, such as attendance at regional and national conferences).
  • Complete 40 hours of clinical experience between January and August 2019 and 40 more between September 2019 and August 2020 (the AHEC program will work with each scholar’s program of study to assure these opportunities are made available).
  • Present or co-present with another scholar at least one case during your time in the program at an IPPC AHEC TeleECHO clinic (details to be announced at the orientation).
  • Participate in the IPPC AHEC TeleECHO clinic sessions at your respective NM AHEC Center at least 50% of the time. (The centers are described in the AHEC Scholars Program informational brochure. Scholars will be introduced to their assigned center directors at the orientation.)
  • Provide feedback on various components of the program in the form of evaluations, focus groups, etc.
  • Scholars are encouraged (but not required) to present a poster or participate in a workshop at a professional or academic conference, symposium, etc. during their time in the program.
  • Compile a portfolio of work completed during the program by August 1st, 2020. Examples of portfolio items include case presentation forms, proof of leadership training completion, and completed evaluations of IPPC AHEC TeleECHO sessions and clinical experiences. (More detailed grading requirements will be provided during the program.)
  • Respond to AHEC upon completion of the AHEC Scholars Program on an annual basis for updates on practice location and activities. (This is a requirement from the Scholars Program funder, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and is meant to assist in assessing the impact of the Scholars Program on primary care provision in rural and underserved areas.) For schedule click here.

Documentation of Completion

Didactic curricular offerings will include the orientation (~3.5 hours), the leadership training during orientation (~8 hours), follow-up leadership training sessions (~1.5 hours each), the ECHO clinic sessions (1.5 hours each), conference attendance, and other opportunities yet to be determined including other ECHO clinics focusing on opioid use disorders and pain management. Attendance will be taken at the orientation, leadership trainings, and ECHO sessions. Evaluations of the ECHO sessions will also be used to document participation. Scholars will need to provide proof of attendance at conferences and other offerings.

Scholars Program-qualifying clinical experiences take place in an interprofessional primary care setting in a rural or underserved area. The scholars will need to document the location, hours, and the disciplines of the students and professionals with whom they worked at each clinical rotation with AHEC. (AHEC will provide a template for this documentation.)

Scholars will compile products of their work in the program in a portfolio. Examples include case presentations and evaluations from ECHO sessions, documentation of clinical experiences, posters or presentations given at conferences, etc. and submit by August 1 2020.

Scholars Benefits

Graduates of the AHEC Scholars Program will be leaders in their fields, having gained the knowledge, skills and training to improve primary care practice outcomes through interprofessional and collaborative training and experience. In addition, NM AHEC Scholars will receive:

  • Formal Certificate of Completion that can be added to a resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Intensive leadership training and skill development
  • Expert mentorship and training by recognized faculty
  • Participation in a state-wide interdisciplinary group of future health care leaders
  • Membership in the national AHEC Scholars initiative
  • Participation in the path-breaking Interprofessional Primary Care AHEC TeleECHO clinic
  • Acknowledgment as an AHEC Scholar in graduation program
  • Program specific benefits including academic credit

Partners Include:

  • UNM Health Sciences Center
  • UNM Interprofessional Education (IPE)
  • Project ECHO
  • Luna Community College
  • New Mexico State University
  • Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Western New Mexico University

Contact Information

If you have questions, please email the NM AHEC Scholars Program at NMAHECScholars@salud.unm.edu.