About the North Dakota Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

The North Dakota Area Health Education Center (AHEC) promotes the collaboration of schools and community organizations to engage in a comprehensive strategy to help eliminate the shortage of healthcare professionals in underserved areas and correct the uneven distribution of healthcare providers in the state. The North Dakota AHEC supports rural communities from rural locations, with offices in Hettinger and Mayville.

Established in September 2008, the North Dakota AHEC consists of:

North Dakota AHEC Activities

Shortages in healthcare workforce, particularly in rural areas, occur throughout North Dakota. AHEC works to connect students to careers, health professionals to communities, and communities to better health. We accomplish this through:

  • Introducing students of all ages – from Kindergarten to college - to a variety of health careers through school visits, career fairs, and hands-on activities.
  • Working to increase the number of rural students that choose health careers.
  • Providing clinical experience in rural settings for college students in health career tracks.
  • Identifying communities interested in hosting healthcare students for rural rotations.
  • Educating students on scholarship and loan repayment opportunities.
  • Supporting community education programs.
  • Facilitating learning opportunities for health professionals and community partners through established relationships and partner agencies.

North Dakota AHEC's Partners

The North Dakota AHEC works in close collaboration with its partners to identify areas of need, leverage financial and personnel resources, in an effort to expand existing programs, develop new programs, and reduce duplication amongst partners throughout the state.

Background Information

The AHEC program was developed by Congress in 1971 to recruit, train, and retain health professionals committed to underserved populations. The national program was designed with the objective of eliminating Health Professional Shortage Areas. The AHEC program was designed to encourage universities and educators to look beyond their institutions and partner with communities to promote cooperative solutions with local benefits.

Our Funding

The AHEC is supported by a federal Health Services Resources Administration Bureau of Health Professions grant which requires a 1:1 federal/non-federal match, as well as state-appropriated funds. In addition, grant support from Sanford Health Foundation has supported Rural Interdisciplinary and HOSA programs in the past.