The Area Health Education Centers program was developed by Congress in 1971 to identify, motivate, recruit, train and retain a health care workforce committed to underserved populations through community-based interdisciplinary training programs.
AHEC helps to bring the resources of academic medicine to bear in addressing local community health needs. By their very structure, AHECs are able to respond in a flexible and creative manner in adapting national health initiatives to the particular needs of the nation’s most vulnerable communities.
Today, 50 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 underrepresented populations.
The MU AHEC Rural Track Pipeline Program was then designed to encompass four distinct but related curricula and clinical components. The sequential programs provide students with ongoing exposure to rural medicine. Programs include:
- Lester R. Bryant Scholars Pre-Admissions Program
- Rural Track Summer Community Program
- Rural Track Clerkship Program
- Rural Track Elective Program
Over the past 20 years, the Rural Track Pipeline Program has successfully produced rural physicians for the state. Approximately 55 percent of physicians practice in a rural location, and 80 percent of Bryant Scholars stay in Missouri.