AHEC History

Area Health Education Center

Improving access to quality primary health care in medically underserved areas  

In the 1970's, concern over the shortage of primary-care physicians in rural areas led the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education to recommend developing a system of Area Health Education Centers. The goal of the AHEC program is to improve access to quality primary health care in medically underserved areas, through educational activities designed to recruit, train and retain community-based health care personnel where they are most needed. AHEC serves as a link to communities, particularly in rural, remote and underserved areas. It works with community organizations and academic institutions to fulfill its mission of increasing access to educational programs for health care professionals.

Headquartered at the Medical University of Ohio in Toledo, the Ohio Statewide AHEC program is a vital initiative that works to bring resources of its seven participating medical schools to communities throughout the state. Improving health care in rural and urban undeserved areas is the ultimate goal. A strength of the Ohio AHEC program is the flexibility that permits each medical school to continually assess, reassess and establish programs to address the unique health care issues in their regions.