Michigan AHEC Awarded 5-Year Grant from HRSA and Announces New Western Region Community Consortium

The Michigan Area Health Education Center (MI-AHEC), a program of Wayne State University that seeks to increase access to quality primary care providers in underserved communities, was recently awarded a 5-year grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The first-year award of this renewable 5-year cooperative grant agreement with HRSA is $721,250. The funds will be used to continue to strengthen its statewide network of 5 regional centers and provide an unprecedented number of health care career preparation initiatives, clinical experiences and continuing education programs for health care professionals in communities throughout the state.

Dr. Ramona Benkert

"Having been with the program since its inception in 2010, I am pleased that HRSA sees the value of our interprofessional leadership and program's past achievements," said Dr. Ramona Benkert, Co-Principal Investigator of Michigan AHEC, Professor and Associate Dean of Academic and Clinical Affairs in the Wayne State University College of Nursing. "These additional five years of funding help us to continue our statewide efforts to enhance the distribution and diversity of the health care workforce and to support practice transformation in underserved communities."

Dr. Jinping Xu

"This award is great news for the future of healthcare in Michigan," said Dr. Jinping Xu, Co-Principal Investigator of Michigan AHEC and Interim Chair and Professor of the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, in the WSU School of Medicine. "This grant will allow us to build upon our efforts to improve access to high quality health care in underserved areas and help us to positively impact the current and future health care workforce throughout Michigan."

In addition to new HRSA funding, MI-AHEC is pleased to announce that the Mid-Central Area Health Education Regional Center, housed at Central Michigan University, will be expanding into the Western side of the state and will serve as the host partner of the newly formed Western Region Community Consortium (WRCC). Once fully established, the WRCC will include community partners who are interested in working on common interests, applying for new funding sources, and delivering quality health education and training opportunities as a solution to addressing community health issues. The WRCC will serve 19 counties (10 rural and 9 urban) with a total of 2.4 million people living in Mason, Lake, Oceana, Newaygo, Muskegon, Ottawa, Kent, Allegan, Barry, Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Jackson, Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph, Branch, Hillsdale, and Lenawee. 

The Mid-Central AHEC will continue to serve its 19 counties that includes a population of more than 1.4 million (13 rural and 6 urban). Within MI-AHEC, forming a community consortium of existing partners is a strong tool for expanding programs, gaining collaborative funding, and serving health care students and professionals in both the Western and Mid-Central areas.

HRSA has awarded consecutive yearly grants to Michigan AHEC since 2010. Michigan AHEC is funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (Grant # U77HP26582) and Wayne State University. Through a network of five regional centers statewide, MI-AHEC prepares underrepresented minority and disadvantaged youth for health care careers; promotes clinical training opportunities for students in health professional shortage areas/medically underserved communities and provides continuing education programs for health professionals working in underserved communities. Michigan AHEC is also supported by the following host partners: Health Centers Detroit, Inc., Central Michigan University, Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center and MidMichigan Community Health Services.