Brief Program Summary: A healthy Indiana needs healthy communities. And it needs health
care professionals located in all areas of the state from the inner cities to the rural neighborhoods
prepared to help educate citizens about health problems and issues and to provide quality service.
Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) play an important role in providing communities with
health care professionals prepared to meet their needs. Today, 54 AHEC programs with more
than 200 centers operate in almost every state and the District of Columbia. An AHEC is 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.
AHECs perform four basic functions:
• Assist in the ambulatory training of health professionals. Health professionals who train in
underserved communities are much more likely to serve those populations when their training is
• Provide continuing education, especially for providers to the underserved. Continuing
education programs improve the quality of care and enhance professional satisfaction, both of
which contribute to provider retention.
• Recruit minority students into the health professions careers. Minority health professionals
are substantially more likely to serve vulnerable populations then their majority counterparts.
• Respond to emerging health issues by distributing information necessary for practitioners
and facilities to address critical health issues and threats in a timely way.
In accomplishing these goals, the AHEC can improve the quality of health care, especially primary
and preventative care.
Success Metrics: IUPUI has a robust evaluation foundation to measure the impact of of the IN-
AHEC program. For example, National Student Clearing House data is used to monitor whether
AHEC Pipeline Students have matriculated into College/University and are potentially pursing a
health profession degree. Third Year medical students completing Family Medicine rotations are
placed in rural and/or medically underserved areas to peak interest in practicing in primary care
and serving in a rural area or MUC. Additionally, every two-years, IUPUI submits a match with
the professional licensure database to see where IN-AHEC graduates are practicing and if they
are serving in one oft the program’s target areas: primary care, medically underserved
communities, and/or rural area in the state of Indiana. To date, the IN-AHEC Network has located
6,563 former AHEC students now working as licensed health professionals in Indiana. Of those,
31% are working in a health professional shortage area.