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Health Careers Diversity and Recruitment

"All healthcare agencies in the Northwest AHEC 17-county region have a diverse and culturally competent workforce at all health profession levels. We strive to ensure that every K-12 student in the region is aware of and excited about the broad spectrum of health careers as viable and attainable career options"

Northwest AHEC is committed to diversity and cultural competency not only due to its diverse constituency but recognizes that ultimately the future health outcomes of its constituency will be dependent upon a diverse and culturally competent workforce. 

If you need additional information on the following programs that Northwest AHEC offers, please contact Melanee Mills, Health Careers and Workforce Diversity Coordinator, at 336.713-7714 or

Health Career Programs

The Northwest AHEC Scholars Program recruits, trains, and supports a diverse group of students, creating a multidisciplinary team of health professionals committed to both community service and the transformation of health care in North Carolina. In our initial year of our Northwest AHEC Scholars Program, we have chosen to seek 20 individuals from our partnering institutions at Wake Forest University and Winston Salem State University. With an emphasis on underrepresented minorities, rural, and first-generation college students, the Northwest AHEC Scholars Program aims to improve the diversity and distribution of all health professions and support health systems transformation across the state.  From these institutions, the selected health science students will commit to improving health and health care, have an interest in improving their own skills, be devoted to community service and have an interest in working with other professionals in team based care.

Selected applicants will participate in a two-year educational program and receive a $1,000 allowance ($500 per year) to offset expenses.  Upon completion of the program, NC AHEC Scholars receive AHEC Community Health Scholar certification, setting them apart from other students in an increasingly competitive environment.  Selected Scholars will meet students and faculty from other schools and across the region and state.   They will also have the chance to meet a variety of the leaders in health care, and make connections with other participants.

Program Eligibility: 

  • Must be currently enrolled in a health or pre-healthcare professions education training program at Wake Forest University or Winston-Salem State University
  • Must be a North Carolina resident
  • Must have access to reliable Wi-Fi
  • Must have access to reliable transportation
  • Must be eligible to work in the United States


  • Every admitted applicant must be committed to the Northwest AHEC Scholars Program for a total of 2 years
  • Every admitted applicant must complete 40 hours of didactic training each year of the progra
  • Every admitted applicant must complete 40 hours of experiential training each year of the program.

Project SEARCH Academy (Begins with a Rising 8th cohort and continues through12th grade): Student Education, Awareness, and Recruitment for Careers in Health
Project SEARCH is a six day enrichment program for rising 8th grade students designed to recruit, educate, prepare and enhance the academic science qualifications of middle school students as they transition to high school. The program includes a 1 week in-residence component on the campus of Wake Forest University .The students spend mornings taking part in college-level lab experiences in chemistry and biology. These students investigate biological and chemical questions using the same active inquiry methods that WFU students use. In the afternoons, the student’s tour research and medical facilities, take field trips, and talk with career counselors who help them plan a route to college and beyond. The program increases student and parent engagement in career planning, particularly in the high-demand biotechnology and health care fields. Students participate in a twenty hour shadowing experience with a health professional in their home community. Cost of attending the camp is $400.

Camp Med
Camp Med is a one-week summer day camp designed to recruit, educate and prepare high school students for careers in health. The program specifically aims to identify at least fifteen (15) diverse high school students in grades 9-12 who have an interest and the academic potential for a career in the health sciences. Each county hosts a camp and selects their students.  Camp Med Coordinators engage the health professionals of their community to provide students with exposure to a variety of health professions, hands on activities, speakers and tours.  The logistics of each camp are the result of collaboration between the local school system, community college and medical facility in that county. The camp is free and the dates vary by county. 

Future Leaders in Health Care Annual Conference
The Future Leaders in Health Care Conference targets high school students that have a strong interest in healthcare as a future career. This weekend educational conference includes workshops and discussions on specific topics like leadership development, public health issues, cultural diversity in healthcare, adolescent health, volunteerism, and more. Students also have the opportunity to network with several colleges and universities and healthcare professionals.

This conference is part of the NC AHEC mission to improve the supply and distribution of the healthcare workforce by providing support at every link of the educational pipeline. Focus is placed on minority and disadvantaged students because statistics show that in all health professions, minority populations continue to be under-represented relative to the overall population in the state. The United States Department of Health and Human Services states that "increasing the number of minority health professionals is viewed as a partial solution to improving access to care. Several studies have shown that under-represented minority health profession graduates are more likely to enter primary care specialties and to voluntarily practice in or near designated primary care workforce shortage areas."

The Future Leaders in Healthcare Conference is held in May and cost $100.It rotates through the regions of North Carolina AHEC.

Brenner FIT Culinary Camp
The Brenner FIT Culinary Camp is a free 10 week nutrition and physical activity education curriculum that combines both low-budget, healthy cooking demonstrations and fun, practical examples of how to get families active. The mission of the program is to improve the nutritional knowledge and habits of children 7-14 years of age via interactive culinary programming in a YMCA Summer Day Camp. This program will be offered to all families in the target program, with emphasis on recruiting families from underserved areas.  
Classroom and Career Fair Visits
We offer opportunities for school age students to engage, educate and explore careers in health through classroom visits, speakers, tours and career fairs.  Please contact Melanee Mills for more information

Related Community Programs

SciTech is a community enrichment program in science, math, and technology for middle school students in Winston Salem and Forsyth County sponsored by Wake Forest Innovations.

SciTech will introduce participants to the world of Physics through the laws and mechanics of movement. Velocity, speed, force, energy, momentum, friction, gravity, and work are just some of the awesome topics to be discussed throughout this exciting year of STEM in Motion. Our Fall and Spring Mini-Camps are FREE, but Pre-registration is required!

Event: Summer Camp
Eligibility: WSFCS students currently in grade 4–7
Time of Event: 9 am – 5 pm
Registration is required.  Cost: $10
Transportation is available for select neighborhoods in the 27101, 27103, 27105 & 27107 zip codes. Please email for more information.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center “Volunteen” Program
The Volunteen Program is designed for students, ages 14-18. The program runs June 21-August 5, 2016. Volunteens must commit to volunteering two full days a week that are assigned and set throughout the summer from 8:45 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Volunteens are required to complete 100 hours of service each summer, in order to complete the program successfully and in order to be eligible to return throughout the school year and/or the following summer.  Please call 336-713-3519 or send an email if you have any questions.  

Awareness Activities and Programs

Northwest AHEC provides technical assistance and partnerships for the following activities/programs:

Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), District 7 Annual Fall Leadership Conference
he mission of HOSA is to enhance the delivery of compassionate, quality health care by providing opportunities for knowledge, skill and leadership development of all health science education students, therefore, helping the student meet the needs of the health care community. Participants include both educators and students who have an opportunity to learn from health care professionals at WFBMC through a variety of specific departmental presentations and tours. The Fall Conference focuses on topics such as leadership, college admissions, medical careers and the HOSA national service project.

Sisters in Science Annual Symposium
he Wake Forest School of Medicine’s chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) collaborates with Northwest AHEC to implement the Sisters in Science Annual Symposium. This program provides a rare opportunity for high school girls to interact one-on-one and in small groups with women in medicine and science. Registration is open to 100 high school girls from Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.
Student National Medical Association (SNMA) Annual Pre-Medical Student Conference

Northwest AHEC and the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) of the Wake Forest School of Medicine partner and implemented the Annual SNMA Premedical Student Conference. The purpose of this conference is to enlighten high school and college students on the requirements, application process and expectations of medical school. The goal   is to lay the foundation to increase the number of minority medical school applicants matriculating into the five North Carolina medical schools – Wake Forest, UNC-Chapel Hill, East Carolina, Campbell and Duke – to more accurately reflect the rich diversity of the communities in which they will ultimately serve.

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Annual Science Fair
Northwest AHEC has continued to be a supportive partner of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools’ Annual Science Fair. It is the goal of Northwest AHEC to recognize the innovation and research our future leaders in science.  We partner with SciWorks to host the elementary division, supplying support for the overall program and prizes for the winners and their teachers. The secondary division of the Science Fair is hosted at Northwest AHEC with an Awards Luncheon provided for all participants and their families. Winners and their teachers are recognized with cash prizes, and move on to state level competition.  More than 99 students, parents, high school science teachers/administrators and local scientists participated in this annual WS/FCS Science Fair.

Share the Health Fair
More than 200 community participants utilized the services of the Share the Health Fair, a free annual health fair organized by Wake Forest School of Medicine medical students to serve the community by making basic health screenings and educational resources available to those who might not otherwise receive them. This health fair provided an opportunity for Wake Forest School of Medicine medical and PA students, WSSU nursing and allied health students, and health science students  from  community programs to develop and implement a real world indigent care, interdisciplinary screening clinic, supervised by WFBMC community physicians with a wide diversity of community participants that they may not have had healthcare  otherwise. This Share the Health Fair has proven to be an exceptional interdisciplinary health profession student experience.

Other Resources

A great resource specifically designed for our state is the College Foundation of North Carolina website. This site  will help you to discover your career interest, plan your high school courses, follow your college planning timeline, virtually tour NC colleges and universities, find ways to pay for college, and prepare for the SAT and ACT.  The site gives you specific information on various careers and health occupations including job descriptions, average salaries, educational requirements, job outlook and videos. College Foundation of North Carolina 

Occupational Outlook Handbook Online

O*NET Online – Occupational Informational Network

Health Careers YouTube Channel - videos of health professionals describing their duties and training. 

Quick Reference

Northwest AHEC

Phone 336-713-7700
FAX 336-713-7701


To view and register for scheduled activities and online courses please visit
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Last Updated: 02-23-2018
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.

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