AHEC Scholars Program

AHEC Scholars is a two-year program designed to improve a health professions student’s practice readiness skills. Students in the program have a strong interest in providing care to those living in rural and medically underserved communities across Indiana as physicians, physician assistants, nurses, public health practitioners, respiratory therapists, physical therapists and other allied health occupations. AHEC Scholars participate in a mix of online training and community-based learning in rural and underserved communities throughout the state. Students train side-by-side with health care professionals and community members. Obtaining skills and practices in the field allows AHEC Scholars to increase knowledge, develop expertise, clarify values and develop their capacity to contribute to communities in need.

For additional details about qualification requirements for the AHEC Scholars Program, email the AHEC Scholars Program. 

Apply to AHEC Scholars

Applications for the 2021–2023 cohort are due by July 31, 2021.

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Core Competencies

  • Behavioral Health Integration
    Care that results from a practice team of primary care and behavioral health clinicians, working together with patients and families. This care may address mental health and substance abuse conditions, health behaviors (including their contribution to chronic medical illnesses), life stressors and crises, stress‐related physical symptoms, and ineffective patterns of health care utilization.
  • Cultural Competency and Humility
    The effort to improve individual health and build healthy communities by training health care providers to recognize and address the unique culture, language and health literacy of diverse consumers and communities. An example of Cultural Competency in health care is the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Healthcare.
  • Interprofessional Practice
    A coordinated, patient‐centered model of health care that involves an understanding of the contributions of multiple health care professionals. Interprofessional Practice involves individuals from two or more disciplines with and from each other in effort to improve patient care.
  • Practice Transformation
    Practice transformation aims to fully support quality improvement and patient-centered care. It involves goalsetting, leadership, practice facilitation, workflow changes, measuring outcomes, and adapting organizational tools and processes to support new team-based models of care delivery.
  • Social Determinants of Health
    The conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning and quality‐of‐life outcomes and risks. Social Determinants of Health includes five key areas (determinants) – Economic Stability, Education, Social and Community Context, Health and Health Care, and Neighborhood and Built Environment – and their impact on health.
  • Emerging Topics
    Current or emerging issues in health care in Indiana.

Typical Schedule

Year One 
 Field experiences throughout the year
 Block 1 Block 2 Block 3 Block 4 Block 5


Year Two 
 Field experiences throughout the year
 Block 6 Block 7 Block 8 Block 9 Block 10

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants to this program must meet the following criteria.

  • Be in the final two years of an accredited health professions program (Two-year degree programs are eligible to apply.)
  • Have reliable transportation – this program includes multiple site visits across the selected AHEC region(s).
  • Be willing to submit to a criminal background check and drug screening.
  • Be available to participate for two years.
  • Be available to participate in 40 hours of online learning units and 40 hours of team-based community experiences per year (for two years).
  • Be willing to complete evaluations related to fellowship activities.
  • Be able to provide the necessary paperwork (such as W-9 and direct deposit form) to receive the stipend.
  • Be willing to respond to AHEC upon completion of the AHEC Scholars on an annual basis for updates on practice location and activities.

Students in an undergraduate prep program (e.g., Pre-Med/ Biology) are not eligible unless they are concurrently enrolled in a health professions undergraduate program, such as nursing, ASN/BSN. Pre-Nursing (ASN and BSN) are eligible to apply on the condition of successful matriculation into a selected program.

  • Stipend
    Each Scholar receives a stipend of $1,500 to help offset travel and related expenses. This is disbursed in several installments throughout the course of the program.
  • Eligible Programs

    Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. Programs not mentioned may still be eligible. Contact the AHEC program staff to discuss program options.

    Allied Health (Clinical Lab Technology, Paramedic Science, Med Tech, Health informatics)
    Behavioral Health (Psychology, Social Work, Mental Health Counselors, etc.)
    Community Health Worker
    Dentistry (Dental Assistant, Dental Hygiene, General Dentistry, etc.)
    Exercise Science
    Health Administration
    Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
    Medicine (Medical Assistant, Optometry, Pathologist Assistant, Physician Assistant, DO | MD)
    Nursing (CNA, LPN, LVN, Nurse Midwife, ASN, BSN, MSN, MS-NP, DNP, etc.)*
    Nutrition/Nutrition Science
    Occupational Therapy (OT and OTA)
    Physical Therapy (PT and PTA)
    Public Health
    Radiation Therapy
    Radiological Assistant
    Radiological Technologist
    Respiratory Therapy
    Speech-Language Pathologist/Speech Therapy
    Surgical Technologist

  • Locations

    Location for the program varies based on the Scholar's AHEC region selection. The AHEC Network is split into eight regional cohorts, encompassing all 92 Indiana counties. Each region typically accepts 15 students in each cohort. Applicants are asked to select up to three AHEC regions where they have housing/transportation available. Selection(s) should reflect the regions where the applicant lives, attends college, or has other important ties. All selections need to be regions where the applicant can reasonably participate in community experiences throughout the academic year as well as over the summer.

    Learn more about each AHEC Region.

  • Team-based Project
    AHEC Scholars complete a team-based project throughout the program. Scholars work with their team to identify a need within a community in their region, create a plan for putting this project into action, and then, if possible, implementation of the project. The project is concluded at the end of the program with a poster presentation.