About Utah AHEC

AHECs, or Area Health Education Centers, were established in 1972 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in response to the shortage of primary care physicians and inadequate distribution of health professionals in the country.

The purpose of the AHEC program is to enhance access to quality health care, particularly primary and preventive care, by improving the supply and distribution of healthcare professionals via strategic partnerships with academic programs, communities, and professional organizations.

To achieve this mission, AHECs are organized into program offices and regional centers. The program office coordinates and oversees AHEC’s statewide presence, whereas the regional centers implement programming tailored to their region-specific needs. Today, over 85% of United States counties are served by an AHEC program.


Phase 1

K-12 Outreach & Recruitment

Phase 2

Undergraduate/Pre-Professional Training

Phase 3

Medical/Health Professional Training

Phase 4

Residency/Practical Field Placement

Phase 5

Continuing Education/Professional Development


Utah AHEC facilitates education for current and future health professionals to prepare them for practice in medically underserved rural and urban areas in a health system transformed to lower costs, enhance quality, improve satisfaction of healthcare professionals, and improve population health outcomes.


Utah AHEC helps current and future health professionals acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to practice in a transformed health system for medically underserved rural and urban communities. It does so through strategic partnerships with academic programs, communities, and professional organizations to improve

  1. the geographic distribution of health professionals
  2. the demographic and professional diversity of health professionals, and
  3. transformation of health systems to enhance wellbeing, quality, and efficiency of care.


Utah AHEC fulfills this mission by engaging individuals at five phases of the health professions pipeline:

Phase 1: K-12 Outreach & Recruitment
Phase 2: Undergraduate/Pre-Professional Training
Phase 3: Medical/Health Professional Training
Phase 4: Residency/Practical Field Placement
Phase 5: Continuing Education/Professional Development