AHEC Scholars

Program Goals | Program Eligibility | Requirements | Benefits | Blackboard Login

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The Tennessee AHEC Scholars Program is part of a national initiative to prepare tomorrow’s professionals to become leaders in interprofessional, transformative practice settings, and to serve in areas and populations of with the greatest needs.  The TN AHEC Scholars Program aims to improve the diversity, distribution, and skills of health professionals across Tennessee by preparing students who are interested in careers in a variety of health professions for effective work in the current transforming health care delivery system.

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The Scholars Program is a longitudinal, interprofessional program with a defined set of clinical, didactic, and community-based training activities. The AHEC Scholars Program will provide students with 40 hours of team-based, clinical training and 40 hours of didactic education each year, for two years. AHEC Scholars will receive training and develop skills in:

  • Patient-centered health care and practice transformation
  • Interprofessional education
  • Cultural Competence
  • Recognizing the Impact of the Social Determinants of Health
  • Behavioral health integration
  • Current and emerging health issues

As part of a statewide strategy, the TN AHEC Scholars Program is designed to develop, prepare, and sustain a culturally competent health care workforce that is prepared to deliver high quality care in a transforming health delivery system with emphasis on training rural and urban underrepresented minority and educationally disadvantaged students (RUUMEDS) for practice in rural and medically underserved areas (RUMUAs). The TN AHEC Scholars Program recruits, trains, and supports a diverse group of students from across the state, creating a multidisciplinary team of health professionals committed to both community service and the transformation of health care in Tennessee. The program will recruit individuals who are committed to improving health and healthcare delivery system in Tennessee, devoted to community service, interested in improving their own skills and working with other healthcare professionals in providing care in a team-based environment. Emphasis is placed on individuals from underrepresented minority populations and/or those from disadvantaged/rural backgrounds, as well as first-generation college students.

Each class of TN AHEC Scholars will represent a variety of health professions and institutions from the three regions of Tennessee). Selected applicants participate in a two-year educational program which will include didactic and small group discussions and clinical placements. AHEC Scholars will consist of a mix of health professions students from various health disciplines (e.g., medicine, dentistry, public health, nursing, social work, and psychology, physician assistant, and pharmacy). Selected students may receive a $500 participation award subsidy per year, subject to academic or institutional approval. Each AHEC Scholar will receive a TN AHEC Scholar Certificate, which sets them apart from other students in this increasingly competitive environment. They will have the chance to meet leaders in health care and make connections with other participants, thereby creating an invaluable network for their future careers.

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Program Goals

TN AHEC strives to:

  • Prepare at least 15 students in each of the three regional AHECs for clinical transformation in primary care;
  • Prepare students for practice in medically underserved and rural communities;
  • Provide interdisciplinary clinical training experience for health professions;
  • Establish 30 clinical preceptor sites in rural and underserved areas across the state; and
  • Retain 80% of AHEC Scholars placed in rural and/or medically underserved areas at the end of two years.

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Program Eligibility

TN AHEC Scholars must:

  • Be enrolled in the last two years of a graduate-level health professions education training program in a TN AHEC region by August 31;
  • Be enrolled in an accredited, health professions education or training program in Tennessee (including medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant, nutrition, public health, and behavioral health science/mental health). Medical student are eligible to enroll in years 1-3.
  • Be in good academic standings in the graduate-level health professions education or training program;
  • Be willing to commit to the program for a total of two years;
  • Enroll with one of the three regional Area Health Education Centers (West, Central, or East);
  • Be a Tennessee resident; and
  • Be eligible to work in the United States.

Applicants may be asked to participate in an in-person or phone interview.

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Requirements

Each TN AHEC Scholar must:

  • Complete 40 hours of didactic training each year of the two-year Scholars Program; and
  • Complete 40 hours of clinical or experiential training in a rural or medically underserved area each year of the two-year program.

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Benefits

Each AHEC Scholar will:

  • Receive a $500 Participation Award upon completion of Year 1 requirements and an additional $500 Participation Award upon completion of Year 2 requirements. (The Participation Award is subject to academic or institutional approval).
  • Have an increased understanding of attitudes, such as mistrust, subconscious bias, and stereotypes, which practitioners and patients may bring to the clinical encounter.
  • Have heightened knowledge and awareness of the existence and magnitude of health disparities, including the multi-factorial causes of health disparities and the many solutions required to diminish or eliminate them.
  • Acquire skills to effectively communicate and negotiate across cultures, languages, and literacy levels, including the use of key tolls to improve communication and work with diverse patients in rural and/or underserved areas.
  • Have an opportunity to participate in training programs designed by Cherokee Health Systems, Matthew Walker Community Health Center, and other service providers.
  • Receive certification as a TN AHEC Scholar after successful completion of the program, which sets the students apart in an increasingly competitive work environment.
  • Obtain information and assistance with Loan Repayment Programs through partnership with the Tennessee Center for Health Workforce Development and the Tennessee Office of Rural Health.
  • Have an opportunity to become part of a network of current and future leaders in health care.

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