AHEC Scholars Program
About the AHEC Scholars Program
Are you interested in rural and underserved care? If so, consider applying for the SC AHEC Scholars program for an opportunity to collaborate with fellow health profession students from various disciplines and institutions across the state.
The South Carolina AHEC Scholars program is a part of a national initiative to prepare tomorrow’s health professionals to become leaders in interprofessional, transformative practice who serve those who need it the most.
The program consists of didactic and experiential training opportunities with a focus on primary care and service to rural and underserved populations. AHEC Scholars will receive preference for innovative, team-based clinical fieldwork placements, in addition to networking opportunities with state leaders and primary care professionals from across the state.
All training will be focused around the following core topics:
- Interprofessional Education
- Behavioral Health Integration
- Social Determinants of Health
- Cultural Competency
- Practice Transformation
Primary Care and Serving the Underserved
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on the Future of Primary Care defines primary care as "the provision of integrated, accessible health care services by clinicians who are accountable for addressing a large majority of personal health care needs, developing a sustained partnership with patients, and practicing in the context of family and community."
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) projects that demand will outstrip the supply of available primary care professionals by 2020 (HRSA online). In South Carolina, all but one county is a full or partial health professions shortage area. With so many South Carolinians in need of access to health care, the need for health professionals to practice full-scope primary care in rural areas is great. Additionally, recent studies show that family physician salaries are rising and that rural family physicians have a broader scope of practice than their urban counterparts. Opportunities abound in all areas of primary care, including family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics.
The AHEC Scholars program provides students with innovative, interprofessional training and mentoring focused on building the skills and competencies needed to help transform primary care and improve patient care. South Carolina AHEC Scholars will receive a certificate recognizing them as leaders in primary care upon completion, setting them apart during job search and/or subsequent residency match.
To successfully complete the AHEC Scholars Program, students will:
- Participate in the AHEC Scholars program for 2 years.
- Complete 40 hours of experiential and 40 hours of didactic activities during each of the two years of the program. Opportunities include:
- Primary care focused interprofessional simulation activities
- Partnering with SC primary care leaders on quality improvement initiatives
- Fieldwork placements/rotations in team-based practice settings
- Access to online courses focused on the core topics
- Complete a follow-up evaluation 1 year after exiting the program.
Health profession students from various disciplines and institutions are encouraged to apply and participate in AHEC Scholars. Preference will be given to individuals with/that meet one or more of the following:
- South Carolina resident
- Rural background
- Commitment to a rural lifestyle
- Commitment to primary care
- Underrepresented minority
- Disadvantaged background
Students are eligible to apply to the South Carolina AHEC Scholars Program if accepted/enrolled in a graduate-level health professions education program in South Carolina and are able to participate in and complete 2 years of the AHEC Scholars program preferably coinciding with graduation.
Becoming an AHEC Scholar offers many opportunities and benefits, including:
- Network and receive mentoring opportunities with established leaders in primary care and rural health
- Network with other AHEC Scholars in SC and across the nation
- Stipends available to assist with professional development and travel expenses to rural clinical sites
- Increased competitiveness for SC AHEC rural incentive grants
- Certificate recognizing you as an AHEC Scholar and leader in primary care
- Receive preference for innovative team-based clinical fieldwork placements/rotations
Applications are accepted in the Fall, Spring, and Summer of each year. Now accepting applications for our next cohort - deadline is Friday, May 14, 2021.
The South Carolina AHEC Scholars program is made possible in partnership with:
SC AHEC has received federal funds from HRSA (Grant #U77HP03019) to assist in the development and implementation of the AHEC Scholars program.