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AHEC Scholars

AHEC Scholars is a nationally recognized certificate program for health professions students interested in supplementing their education by gaining additional knowledge and experience in rural and/or underserved settings. AHEC Scholars emphasizes a team-based approach for healthcare.


AHEC Scholars is a two-year program with interdisciplinary curricula to implement a defined set of clinical, didactic, and community-based activities. The requirements should complement existing coursework. The program is nationally funded by the Health Resources and Administration Association (HRSA) and the Bureau of Healthcare Workforce, focusing on strengthening the healthcare workforce.

Requirements each year:

  • 40 hours/year community-based, experiential, or clinical training in rural and/or underserved area

  • 40 hours/year of didactic core topic areas. The didactic education is focused on the 6 core topic areas listed below and/or college elective credit.

AHEC Scholars is also offering a one-year option for certain health professions students that are in programs that are less than two years in length. The program would have the same core requirements, but would only require students to complete one year (40 hours of didactic, 40 hours of clinical experience).

Didactic CORE Topic Areas

  • Interprofessional Education

(also known as interdisciplinary training) supports a coordinated, patient-centered model of healthcare that involves an understanding of the contributions of multiple healthcare professionals.

  • Behavioral Health Integration

promotes the development of integrated primary and behavioral health services to better address the needs of individuals with mental health and substances use conditions.

  • Social Determinants of Health

includes the five key areas (determinants) of economic stability, education, social and community context, health and healthcare, and neighborhood and built environment and their impacts on health.

  • Cultural Competency

seeks to improve individual health and build health communities by training healthcare providers to recognize and address the unique culture, language, and health literacy of diverse consumers and communities.

  • Practice Transformation

aims to fully support quality improvement and patient-centered care through goal-setting, leadership, practice facilitation, workflow changes, measuring outcomes, and adapting organizational tools and processes to support new team-based models of care delivery. 

  • Current and emerging health issues

such as the COVID-19, Zika virus, and opioid abuse, should be proposed before implementation.


Additional didactic options are elective credits, case recall, webinars, conferences, podcasts, meetings, trainings, etc. applicable to the core topic areas.

How can the AHEC Scholars program help you?

  • Earn recognition as a student leader in the health community

  • Inspire and improve health status and outcomes through your improved command of leadership

  • Be better positioned to join or lead a diverse and culturally competent health workforce

  • Gain practical skills and experience in practice transformation collaboration in underserved settings in North Dakota

  • Gain practical didactic/civic engagement opportunities

  • Enhance your resume

  • Meet leaders in healthcare and interact with healthcare professionals creating an invaluable network for your future career

Eligibility Criteria

Students should have a current interest in rural or underserved healthcare; be currently enrolled in a health professions degree or certificate program; and be two years from program or degree completion. This includes but is not limited to students in medical, dental, pharmacy, nurse practitioner, nursing, physician assistant, social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and public/population health programs.

The AHEC Scholars program is for health profession students wishing to enhance their education by gaining additional leadership knowledge and experience in rural and/or underserved areas.

Stipends available to students who complete the Scholars programs. Students will be eligible to receive $500 per year of the Scholars program ($1000 total).

How to Apply

To apply for the AHEC Scholars program, complete the online application.

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