The Northwest Area Health Education Center
The North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program provides health professions education and training. It is a unique partnership between the university health science centers and local communities. The program's goal is to meet the primary health care needs of the state by improving the supply, distribution and quality of health care professionals.
The AHEC Program began in 1972 with federal funding and is administered by the UNC-CH School of Medicine. In 1974, with funding from the NC General Assembly, it became a statewide program. Today, nine regional AHECs comprise the AHEC system and are supported primarily by state and local funds.
The Northwest Area Health Education Center is an educational outreach and training program designed to enhance the health of the public in its 17-county region by improving the supply, distribution, and quality of health and human service personnel--especially in primary care—through diverse community/academic partnerships.
Geographical Service Area
Our service area encompasses 17 counties in Northwest North Carolina: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Iredell, Rowan, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin.
In order to allow easy access of our services to our large geographic area, there are two sub-regional bases at community hospitals. These regional facilities house library collections, staff and classroom space for CE and other activities. The sub-regional bases are located at Watauga Medical Center (part of the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System) in Boone and Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory.
Continuing Education Activities
View scheduled activities and online courses by discipline on the Northwest AHEC website (these links will open in a new browser window): Allied Health | Dentistry | Medicine | Mental Health | Nursing | Interdisciplinary | Pharmacy | Public Health.
Health Careers - a variety of health careers and diversity recruitment programming for K-12 and post-secondary students.
Health Science Student Support - community-based education student logistics such as housing, library services, and curricular goal support.
Graduate Medical Education and Patient Services - support for residency and community oriented programs.
Community Health Partnerships - provide technical assistance, consultation, and training to health coalitions in the region to support their efforts for local health improvement.
Library and Information Services - information resources, services, classes, and tutorials to further the Northwest AHEC mission.
Regional Extension Center
Northwest AHEC's Regional Extension Center (REC) offers on-site electronic health record (EHR) assistance for healthcare practices. The REC helps practices to achieve meaningful use guidelines of their EHR systems. Visit the Regional Extension Center to learn more.