The State of Colorado is divided into six regions (Centennial, Central, San Luis Valley, Southeastern Colorado, Southwestern Colorado, and Western Colorado ) with an Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Office in each region and a Program Office located at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The six regional AHECs partner with the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, and Pharmacy, as well as the Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant programs to meet the goals of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Model grant. The annual budget of the Colorado AHEC Program Office is approximately $1.9 million with about half of the funding distributed to the regional offices. The funding sources include the HRSA Model grant and the University of Colorado Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs.
The Colorado AHEC Program Office works with the regional offices to build state-wide network capacity and strengthen academic-community linkages in four core mission areas. The four core mission areas of the AHEC are Health Careers and Workforce Diversity, Health Professions Student Education, Health Professions Continuing Education and Public Health and Community Education. Specifically, the goals and aims of the program are to
- Increase the potential for minority/disadvantaged students in elementary and secondary schools from rural and medically underserved areas to pursue career pathways in the health professions;
- Increase the potential for health professions students enrolled in degree programs in medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, and allied health to practice in rural and urban medically underserved areas in Colorado AHEC Program regions upon graduation;
- Increase access to evidence-based health information and accredited, high-quality continuing education programs for health professionals serving in rural and urban medically underserved areas; and,
- Increase access to health education for community residents in rural and urban medically underserved areas in Colorado AHEC regions.
Map of Colorado AHEC Regions: