The Eastern North Dakota Area Health Education Center (AHEC) was awarded an Otto Bremer Foundation grant for 2012-2013. The award of $97,968 will be used to develop a strategic plan and model for an inter-professional clinical experience program in a rural community in eastern North Dakota. The program model will bring college students, from a variety of health related disciplines, together for a two-week experience addressing a locally identified health care need.

AHECs are statewide networks of community-based organizations linked to academic health centers to address health workforce needs. They aim to improve access to health care services in medically underserved areas. The National AHEC Program is a proven model for improving the health workforce pipeline; supported, in part, by a federal grant through the Bureau of Health Professions, Health, Resources, and Services Administration.

In North Dakota, there is an AHEC program office located at the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota (UND) School of Medicine and Health Sciences, as well as two regional centers which are rural-based locations. Eastern North Dakota AHEC, located in Sanford Health at Mayville, serves 28 counties and is directed by Dr. Bill Krivarchka. Western North Dakota AHEC, located in Hettinger, serves 25 counties and is directed by Denise Andress, RN. Mayville State University, serves as the fiscal host for both the Mayville and Hettinger offices.

“I am very pleased and grateful that the Bremer Foundation has chosen to strengthen North Dakota communities by supporting the efforts of the Eastern North Dakota AHEC,” said Lynette Dickson, program director at North Dakota AHEC and associate director for the Center for Rural Health. “Developing health care workforce is vital for maintaining access to health care services for our rural North Dakota residents.”

Created in 1944, the Otto Bremer Foundation assists people in achieving full economic, civic, and social participation in and for the betterment of their communities. This mission is based on the intent of founder Otto Bremer. His vision and longstanding commitment to communities during and after the Great Depression are carried forward today through the Foundation’s work in the places that are homes and neighbors to Bremer banks. The Foundation strives to help build healthy, vibrant communities - communities where basic needs are met, mutual regard is prized, and opportunities for economic, civic, and social participation are within everyone’s reach.