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Indiana Area Health Education Centers Network

A healthy Indiana requires health care professionals located in all areas of the state—from inner city neighborhoods to rural communities—available and prepared to educate citizens about health problems and issues and to provide quality service. Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) help to provide communities with this critical resource.

An AHEC is a network of regional centers that are coordinated through a central program office. Today, 54 AHEC programs with more than 200 centers operate in almost every state and the District of Columbia. Each regional center is locally grown to assess and meet the needs of citizens in that specific region.

Core Functions

The Indiana AHEC Network improves health by recruiting, educating and retaining healthcare professionals for underserved communities in Indiana. AHECs perform four basic functions:

Assist in the ambulatory training of health professionals. Health professionals who train in underserved communities are much more likely to serve those populations when their training is completed.

Provide continuing education, especially for providers to the underserved. Continuing education programs improve the quality of care and enhance professional satisfaction, both of which contribute to provider retention.

Recruiting minority, disadvantaged and rural students into health professions careers. These health professionals are substantially more likely to serve vulnerable populations then their majority counterparts.

Respond to emerging health issues by distributing information necessary for practitioners and facilities to address critical health issues and threats in a timely way.

In accomplishing these goals, the AHEC can improve the quality of health care, especially primary and preventative care.

Program Leadership

James A. Ballard, EdD

James A. Ballard, EdD

Associate Professor of Family Medicine
Jennifer D. Taylor, DHEd

Jennifer D. Taylor, DHEd

Assistant Professor of Family Medicine

Regional Centers

The Indiana AHEC program office is located within the Department of Family Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. Eight independent regional offices work to serve Hoosiers living in their designated counties.

The East Indiana Area Health Education Center (EI-AHEC) includes the 14 counties of Bartholomew, Dearborn, Decatur, Fayette, Franklin, Henry, Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio, Ripley, Rush, Union, Wayne and Switzerland.

Center Director: Jeff Hartz

The Metropolitan Indianapolis/Central Indiana Area Health Education Center (MICI-AHEC)includes the 9 counties of Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Morgan and Shelby.

Center Director: Kimberly McElroy-Jones, PhD

The North Central Indiana Area Health Education Center (NCI-AHEC) includes the 13 counties of Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Pulaski, Tippecanoe, Tipton and White.

Center Director: Jeremy Ashcraft

The Northeast Indiana Area Health Education Center (NEI-AHEC) includes the 17 counties of Adams, Allen, Blackford, DeKalb, Delaware, Elkhart, Grant, Huntington, Jay, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Randolph, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley.

Center Director: Cathy Whaley, MS, MCHES

The Northwest Indiana Area Education Center (NWI-AHEC) includes the eight counties of Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Marshall, Newton, Porter, St. Joseph and Starke.

Center Director: Sandra Behrens, RN, MBA

The South Central Indiana Area Health Education Center (SCI-AHEC) includes the 12 counties of Brown, Clark, Crawford, Floyd, Harrison, Jackson, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Scott and Washington.

Center Director: Michael Edwards

The Southwest Indiana Area Health Education Center (SWI-AHEC) includes the ten counties of Daviess, DuBois, Gibson, Knox, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, and Warrick.

Center Director: Jane Friona, MHSA

The West Central Indiana Area Health Education Center (WCI-AHEC) includes the nine counties of Clay, Fountain, Greene, Montgomery, Owen, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion, Vigo and Warren.

Center Director: Jacquelyn Mathis

AHEC Scholars

The AHEC Scholars program will prepare students entering the health professions workforce. AHEC Scholars is designed specifically for applicants who have a strong interest in providing care to those living in rural and medically underserved communities across Indiana in positions such as physicians, physician assistants, nurses, public health practitioners, respiratory therapists, physical therapists and other allied health occupations.

AHEC Scholars offers online learning units and community-based experiences designed to give health professions students a deeper understanding of rural and urban healthcare, caring for underserved populations and the importance of practice transformation in a clinical care setting. Fellows will focus on five core issues – behavioral health integration, cultural competency, interprofessional education, practice transformation and social determinants of health. For more information about the AHEC Scholars program contact ahec@iupui.edu.