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Idaho Area Health Education Center joins Idaho State University School of Nursing to Expand Workforce Development in Rural and Underserved Areas

February 23, 2023

The Idaho State University School of Nursing received a five-year federal grant through the Health Resources and Services Administration to help develop a sustainable health care workforce in rural and underserved communities in Idaho.

The grant, totaling nearly $2.9 million, will be used to establish an Idaho Area Health Education Center Program Office (IDAPO) to provide three programs that engage community members, students and health practitioners.

The Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Scholar certificate is one of the available programs for students in health professions degree programs in Idaho. Students learn important skills like understanding how to integrate behavioral health services in family medicine clinics. 

Pipeline programming focuses on students grades nine through 12 to encourage them to remain in Idaho and become health care professionals. 

Continuing education for current health care providers provides much-needed services to ensure the state's providers are up-to-speed on the latest innovations and health care approaches.

”Building the health care workforce is critical to the state of Idaho. We’re growing rapidly and access to care is essential for the quality of life in our great state,”  said Rex Force, vice president for health sciences and senior vice provost at ISU. “The AHEC program supports an important pipeline of health care providers.”

The Idaho Area Health Education Center Program Office director is Diana Schow, assistant professor in the Department of Community and Public Health and School of Nursing at ISU. She is joined by Rylee O’Neill, associate director, and the previous director of the Southeast Idaho AHEC. Sue Tavernier, director of graduate studies in nursing, is the IDAPO evaluation director. 

The Idaho Area Health Education Center Program Office will serve as a hub for regional AHEC centers.

Liz Bryant continues to lead the North Idaho AHEC center, which is hosted by the University of Idaho in Moscow. Katrina Hoff remains the Director of Southwest Idaho AHEC at the non-profit Jannus, Inc. in Meridian. Chelsea Martin is the new director of Southeast Idaho AHEC, which resides at Southeastern Idaho Public Health.

“Having support from public health, universities and non-profit sectors greatly improves our ability to build statewide,” O’Neil said.


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