History of AHECs: In 1971 Congress established the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program to build a healthcare workforce committed to serving medically disadvantaged populations. A national network was developed to improve the supply, distribution, diversity and quality of our workforce to increase access to health care in medically underserved areas.

Michigan AHEC Program: The Michigan AHEC program was established in 2010 by Wayne State University as a partnership between the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing. Its purpose is to create five regional AHEC centers to cover the entire state to carry out the mission and three pillars of the AHEC program. The funders are Health Resources and Administrative Services, (HRSA), The Kresge Foundation and Wayne State University.

The Northern Lower Health Education Center or AHEC region spans from Roscommon County to the Mackinaw Bridge.

This region includes the following 21 counties: Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon, and Wexford. The three pillars of the Michigan AHEC program include the following:

  1. Identify "pipeline" programs for high school and undergraduate students to be encouraged to pursue careers in health professions.
  2. Assist in identifying under-represented and disadvantaged student populations for health professions education and/or clinical practices or sites where students may be placed for internships, clerkships or preceptorships.
  3. Assist in identifying current or new educational programs (CMEs or CEUs) and partners for health care practitioners that may benefit the populations they serve in our medically underserved regions.

The Northern Lower AHEC staff members are committed to these three pillars and working with community and regional organizations, partners, service agencies, health departments, the health profession colleges in the region, municipalities, local high schools, Michigan Works! and other groups interested in supporting workforce and health professions development.