The Colorado Area Health Education Center Program is part of the National Area Health Education Center Organization (NAO).
What is the NAO?
The National Area Health Education Center Organization (NAO) supports and advances the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) network in improving the health of individuals and communities by transforming health care through education.
The AHEC program was developed by Congress in 1971 to recruit, train and retain a health professions workforce committed to underserved populations. The AHEC program helps bring the resources of academic medicine to address local community health needs. The strength of the AHEC network is its ability to creatively adapt national initiatives to address local and regional healthcare issues.
The AHEC mission is to enhance access to quality health care, particularly primary and preventive care, by improving the supply and distribution of healthcare professionals through community/academic educational partnerships.
Today, 54 AHEC programs with more than 200 centers operate in almost every state and the District of Columbia. Approximately 120 medical schools and 600 nursing and allied health schools work collaboratively with AHECs to improve health for underserved and under-represented populations.
What happens at the conference?
Each year the NAO holds a conference for all the AHECs to come together and learn, share successes and struggles, and network with others who work on similar programs.