Legislature Provides Ongoing Funding to Utah AHEC’s Health Professions Education Programs

Salt Lake City, UT: With the finalization of the Utah state budget, the Utah Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program is pleased to announce that it has been granted $800,000 annual ongoing funding by the Utah Legislature. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Senator Evan J. Vickers (R-Dist. 28) and Stephen Lisonbee, Executive Director of Office of Regional Services for Southern Utah University, the funding will allow the program to continue its mission to increase supply of primary care health professionals in rural and underserved urban areas throughout the state through education for many years to come.

Utah AHEC is a consortium linking a statewide Program Office, based at the University of Utah, and three regional AHEC Centers that together serve the entire state. Regional Centers and Directors include Northern Utah AHEC, based at Weber State University (Fred Henderson), Crossroads Utah AHEC at Salt Lake Community College (Mindy Bateman), and Southern Utah AHEC at Southern Utah University with an office at Dixie State University (Rita Osborn. Commenting on the importance of the funding in support of AHEC’s work to enhance supply of healthcare providers for rural and underserved communities, Ivette A. Lopez, PhD, Deputy Director, said, “This is a recognition of the work of our Center Directors and staff, to help our young people become the much needed  health professionals of the future. This is also in recognition of the diligent work of Utah AHEC Program Director, Michael Magill, MD, who has been a champion of the AHEC and steadfast in the care of his favorite patient: the state of Utah.” Rita Osborn, Director of the Southern Utah AHEC concurred, adding, “We know that these funds will equate to additional health providers for Utah at all levels. Our focus is on the critical need for health workforce in Utah and Utah AHEC is well positioned to increase the workforce especially in underrepresented urban areas and in rural communities.”

The Utah AHEC wants to ensure that future health professionals are equipped to meet the needs of our state with interprofessional teamwork informed by the social factors driving health of communities. The Utah AHEC has been partnering with health professions programs of many institutions across the state since 1996 to encourage students to enter the healthcare field. Utah AHEC reaches thousands of K-12 students every year and offers programs for undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing health careers in rural and underserved Utah. AHEC has a strong track record of not only recruiting students from Utah, but retaining them here in underserved parts of the state. 

About Utah AHEC: The goal of the Utah Area Health Education Center (Utah AHEC) is to cultivate, train, recruit and retain Utah’s primary care workforce, which in turn increases the capacity of Utah’s health system and improves health in communities throughout the state. The program is hosted by universities and community colleges across the state.