About AHEC Scholars

Community-Focused Training for Tomorrow’s Health Workforce

The U.S. healthcare system is rapidly changing. Today’s health professions students will be tomorrow’s healthcare leaders – Are you prepared for the task?

Utah AHEC is committed to supporting tomorrow’s health workforce and we want to help you prepare for your future in healthcare. That’s why we are teaming up with the National AHEC Organization and higher education institutions across the state of Utah to offer the AHEC Scholars Program.

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The AHEC Scholars Program is a 2‑year program for health professions students interested in addressing underserved urban and rural health needs in a transformed health system. As an AHEC Scholar, you will:

Join a Cohort of Fellow Health Professions Students from across the state
Get AHEC Credit for Required Degree or Certificate Coursework
Gain Access to the Utah Primary Care Summit
Connect with Professional Mentors
Better Understand Underserved Urban and Rural Health Issues
Receive National Recognition for Program Completion

At the end of the 2‑year experience, you will receive a certificate upon graduation from your degree or certificate program AND a letter of recommendation from the Utah AHEC Program Director. Students who complete the AHEC Scholars Program are prepared to:

Partner with other health professionals to address pressing health issues
Provide high quality services and care in transformed health systems
Meet the health needs in Utah’s underserved urban and rural populations
Medical students in classroom inspecting a false arm.



Interprofessional Education (also known as interdisciplinary training) supports a coordinated, patient-centered model of health care that involves an understanding of the contributions of multiple health care professionals.


Behavioral Health Integration promotes the development of integrated primary and behavioral health services to better address the needs of individuals with mental health and substance abuse conditions.


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.


Cultural Competency seeks 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.


Current and Emerging Health Issues supports an understanding of and appropriate response to the current and emerging health issues that affect specific geographic or demographic populations. These might include Zika virus, opioid abuse, low HPV vaccination rates, obesity, and air pollution.


Practice Transformation aims to fully support quality improvement and patient-centered care through goal-setting, leadership, practice facilitation, workflow changes, measuring outcomes, and adapting organizational tools and processes to support new team-based models of care delivery.


Aims to improve community health integration and support for health care professionals in their practice.


Didactic education will take place through virtual learning sessions; telehealth in the healthcare setting will be covered.


The Utah AHEC Scholars Program is a multidisciplinary certificate program for certain health professions students that offers opportunities for hands-on training, experience in underserved rural and urban communities, and networking with other students and professionals.

This program requires a 2‑year commitment and consists of classroom or online instruction and hands-on clinical training in addition to the regular coursework required by the degree program.

AHEC Scholars is a program of the National AHEC Organization that is implemented by local, statewide, and regional AHECs. Core topic areas covered in the curriculum include:

  • Interprofessional education
  • Behavioral health integration
  • Social determinants of health
  • Cultural competency
  • Practice transformation
  • Current and emerging health issues
  • Connecting Communities and Health Professionals
  • Virtual Learning and Telehealth

Applicable majors for AHEC Scholars include but are not limited to medicine, physician assistant, public health, dentistry, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychology, nursing, dental hygiene, pharmacy, social work, emergency medical technicians. Students will be immersed into the critical areas of Social Determinants of Health, Practice Transformation, and Emerging Health Issues, and more.

It’s simple!

  1. Go to utahahec.org
  2. Expand the AHEC Scholars section
  3. Go to “Apply Now”
  4. Fill out the application
  5. Watch your inbox!

Absolutely! In fact, many of your clinical rotations with your medical course work will qualify toward your 80-hour clinical requirement. Many activities, especially those serving the underserved or rural communities, will count toward your elective hours. Of course, you can choose to complete the course curriculum on our Canvas at your own pace.

While the basic requirements for AHEC Scholars can be met through existing curriculum, there are opportunities to connect and collaborate with other programs for educational and experience.  New program options are currently in development with the goal of expanding to several more.

Advisors hold regularly scheduled Information/Orientation sessions both for groups and individual students.  Also, an AHEC Scholars advisor can send you a copy of the most current AHCE Scholars Handbook which includes much information including a Program of Study.

AHEC Scholars does not count toward your academic grade.  Students receive a certificate of completion when program requirements have been met.

At a minimum, scholars are required to complete an orientation session and program of study with their advisor.  Follow-up meetings are on an as-needed basis to assist the scholar with program completion and connecting with other program activities.

An AHEC Scholar will have, but not limited to, access to health care professionals, build professional relationships with faculty members at your college/university and at NEOMED, research opportunities, and a certificate of completion to include with your resume.

There is no financial cost for the AHEC Scholars Program; only your time and expertise!

Yes!  Meet students from a variety of fields, and we will help you find a team that can utilize your talents.

Nope! Health innovation relies on interdisciplinary collaboration, so students from all health profession disciplines are welcome. Skills from your peers can help your work stand out from the crowd.

No, AHEC Scholars encourages careers in primary care, rural and underserved populations but has no requirements beyond graduation.  While we hope that most scholars will pursue a career path in primary care, rural medicine or underserved populations, we also appreciate the opportunity for all scholars to learn more about these populations and the opportunities to serve.