About South Carolina AHEC
Building and supporting the healthcare workforce South Carolina needs
South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium (AHEC) connects students and professionals with the tools, training and resources necessary to develop an effective healthcare workforce, with a focus on primary care for rural and underserved areas. Our education, recruitment and retention programs serve as a bridge between academics and communities, connecting students to health careers, health professionals to communities and communities to better care. Since 1972, South Carolina AHEC has strived to improve the training, diversity and distribution of health professionals to build and support the healthcare workforce South Carolina needs to connect all communities to better health.
We work closely with the state's institutions of higher education, healthcare providers, community partners and others to build and support the healthcare workforce South Carolina needs for every community to have access to diverse, high-quality, patient-focused care. This is possible through a broad a range of programming that supports all points along the health professions pipeline: from high school and college students interested in health careers, students in health professions training programs, family medicine residents, and practicing professionals.
South Carolina AHEC builds and supports the healthcare workforce South Carolina needs for every community to have access to diverse, high-quality, patient-focused care.
What is an AHEC?
Congress developed the AHEC (Area Health Education Centers) program in 1971 to recruit, train and retain a health professions workforce committed to underserved populations. Today, AHECs are established and supported nationally through ongoing funding and program administration from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to "increase diversity among health professionals, broaden the distribution of the health workforce, enhance healthcare quality, and improve health care delivery to rural and underserved populations."
South Carolina AHEC was established in 1972 as one of the first 11 AHECs created in the country. Today, we are a robust system serving the entire state of South Carolina through federal funding from HRSA, recurring state funds and private grant funding from philanthropic organizations. The South Carolina AHEC Program Office is a state agency that is administratively housed at MUSC in Charleston. South Carolina AHEC contracts with the four regional AHEC centers located throughout the state to meet the local needs of rural and underserved areas in every county of South Carolina.
Provides support to diverse high school and early college students on their paths to becoming healthcare professionals, building a future healthcare workforce that will reflect the diverse range of communities it serves in South Carolina.
Provides opportunities for students to work and learn in rural and underserved communities in South Carolina by gaining real-world experience in patient care settings. These experiences increase the likelihood students will choose to practice in communities in need of healthcare services.
Supports high-quality family medicine residency training in the state. We work collaboratively with the family medicine residency programs to recruit and retain family physicians.
Provides financial incentive programs for clinicians who practice in rural and underserved communities to address the maldistribution of healthcare providers in South Carolina. We have administered the state’s recruitment and retention programs through initiatives that have been ongoing and evolving for more than 40 years.
Identifies the educational needs of healthcare professionals and provides education programs designed to enhance clinical skills, address ongoing and emerging health trends, and help professionals maintain their licensure and certifications. Programs are delivered through traditional methods and innovative technologies.
Studies issues that affect the balance of supply and demand for different types of healthcare professionals across South Carolina. Its primary mission is to develop accurate, reliable information about the healthcare workforce in South Carolina and to make that information widely available to support planning and policy decisions.