What AHEC's Do

Developed by Congress in 1971, Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) develop and enhance education and training networks within communities, academic institutions and community-based organizations. AHEC Programs are located in most all 50 states. The National AHEC Organization (NAO) comprises over 300 program offices and regional centers, serving over 85% of U.S. counties.

Program Goals

The AHEC Program is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Healthcare Workforce to support the following goals:

  1. Diversity: preparing a diverse, culturally competent primary care workforce representative of the communities we serve;
  2. Distribution: improving workforce distribution throughout the state, particularly among rural and underserved areas and populations; and
  3. Practice Transformation: developing and maintaining a health care workforce that is prepared to deliver high quality care in a transforming health care delivery system with an emphasis on rural and underserved areas and communities.

Provide community-based training and education to K-16 students who are exploring a career in health professions, for the purpose of developing and maintaining a diverse health care workforce that is prepared to deliver high quality care in underserved areas or for health disparity populations.

The Guide to Health Careers is a great resource for pre-college students, teachers, counselors, librarians and parents.

AHEC Pathway Programs Stat

Prepare students to provide culturally competent health services to underserved areas and health disparity populations in a transforming health care delivery system. Education and training activities support the six Core Topic areas.

  • AHEC Scholars
  • Community-based experiential training: conduct at least 10% of required medical student clinical education in community settings
  • Support and collaborate with OHSU's Rural Health Interest Group, the Rural Medicine Discovery Program and Campus for Rural Health
  • Provide sponsorships and scholarships to rural and underserved students
AHEC Scholars Training Sites

Deliver continuing education and information dissemination programs for health care professionals, with an emphasis on individuals providing care in underserved areas and for health disparity populations. Education and training activities support the six Core Topic areas.

ORAHEC #CE Participants

AHEC structure of community-based regional Centers fosters collaboration among communities and between academic health centers, addresses the health care workforce needs of the communities served and reflects the diversity of the communities involved.

Who We Are


Hosted by OHSU, Oregon AHEC is comprised of a program office and five regional centers.  These centers serve Oregon's 36 counties within 5 regions covering 96,000 square miles; Northeast Oregon (NEOAHEC), Central Oregon (CEAHEC), South West Oregon (AHECSW) , Central Willamette Valley and Coast (OPAHEC) and Portland's Tri-County Urban area (OHWI).  These centers work collaboratively to develop a well-prepared, high quality healthcare workforce for Oregon that begins with early childhood (K-16) education, through professional training and into support for practicing professionals.

Visit our Regional Centers & Programs page for details about each of the five centers.

News and Resources

Scholarship Announcement 2021 - Cascades East Area Health Education Center and the St. Charles Foundation are proud to announce the opening of the 2021 scholarship application cycle to students who are interested in pursuing a health care career and practicing in rural Oregon.

Applications are available through the CEAHEC website at https://www.cascadeseast.org/scholarships and are due March 18, 2021.

Webinar Series 2: Mindful Practice & Communication

Thursdays, 7:30am-8:30am, Apr 8 to Jun 17, 2021

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of Samaritan Health Services and the Oregon Pacific Health Education Center. Samaritan Health Services is accredited by the Washington State Medical Association to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Register Today!

Plane flying over forest with orange clouds

Santiam Complex Fire: Reflections

The rural communal areas and towns of the Santiam Canyon, including Jawbone Flats/Opal Creek, Breitenbush Hot Springs, Elkhorn, Idanha, Detroit, Gates, Mill City, Lyons and Mehama, along with the smaller farms and forested properties located outside the community boundaries were all impacted by the Santiam Complex fire. For many residents the fire came as a surprise with no warning. Our family woke to a thick black smoke enveloping our home, and the sights of a bright orange glow in the north east sky.

Read the Story

OHSU Residency Program Madras

New Residency Program planned for 2024

2019/20 National AHEC Organization Program Highlights