AHEC Scholars Program

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What is the AHEC Scholars Program?

AHEC Scholars is a nationally recognized certificate program that can set you apart.

AHEC Scholars is a program for health professions students interested in supplementing their education by gaining additional knowledge and experience in rural and/or underserved urban settings. This is a longitudinal program with interdisciplinary curricula to implement a defined set of clinical, didactic, and community-based activities. All experiential or clinical training will be conducted in rural and/or underserved urban settings.

This program is designed to increase the number of skilled and culturally competent health professions students in rural and underserved areas. AHEC Scholars will practice interprofessional collaboration to join a well-prepared, diverse, and culturally competent primary care workforce demonstrating team-based care to improve patient outcomes.​

Scholar Benefits

  • The program emphasizes an interdisciplinary team-based approach to address health disparities in your communities
  • Enhance healthcare knowledge in clinical and community settings
  • Participate in enhanced training experiences related to health care delivery impacting underserved communities
  • Some of your current clinical coursework may qualify for AHEC Scholars credit
  • AHEC Scholars curriculum can be completed at no cost and complements your existing coursework
  • Train on topics of leadership, communication, and critical thinking
  • Improved employability skills
    • Resume review
    • Resume building opportunities
    • Job interview preparation
    • Introduction to area health organizations
  • Receive an official AHEC Scholars certificate and letter of completion

Who is eligible to participate? 

The program is open to students in disciplines that support primary health care services delivery in both clinical and non-clinical roles.  Applicable majors include but are not limited to: medicine; community and public health; nutrition and dietetics; pharmacy; nursing; dental; optometry; communication sciences and disorders; social work; and counseling.  

The program has a special interest in students from underserved, under-represented populations, and/or disadvantaged backgrounds. Additionally, students must be currently enrolled in a college-level health professions education training program in Oklahoma, two years from program or degree completion, and maintain a 2.5 GPA. 

What are the commitments?

  • Must attend an orientation
  • Sign up and maintain a Canvas account
  • Complete a follow-up evaluation one (1) year after exiting the program
  • Program duration is two years
  • Each year scholars must complete the following with a focus on the six Core Topic Areas:
    • 40 hours of community-based, experiential, or clinical training in rural and/or underserved area
    • 40 hours of didactic education

Six Core Topic Areas

  • Interprofessional Education
    • Also known as interdisciplinary training which supports 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 substances use conditions.
  • Social Determinants of Health
    • Includes five key areas (determinants) of economic stability, education, social and community context, health and health care, and neighborhood and built environment, and their impact on health.
  • Cultural Competency
    • Seeks to improve individual health and build health 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 are 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. AHEC programs are expected to develop and implement educational and training activities and build and strengthen strategic partnerships. Educational and training activities under practice transformation must target the specific skills and competencies needed to prepare students and practicing health professionals to effectively practice in a transforming health care system.
  • Current and Emerging Health Issues
    • Educational training should include topics such as COVID virus, opioid abuse, etc. These need to be proposed and pre-approved before implementation.


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This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under U77HP31121 Point of Service Maintenance and Enhancement, with an annual award amount of $383,407 and a 100% non-federal match. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

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