SLU Area Health Education Center

Connecting students to careers, professionals to communities and communities to better health.

Area Health Education Centers

Program Director: F. David Schneider, MD, MSPH
Deputy Director: Nicole Wiethop, MA 

Area Health Education Centers were developed in the early 1970s as a means to address the maldistribution of health professionals in urban and rural medically underserved areas throughout the nation. There are more than 40  AHEC programs active in the network. 

The SLU Area Health Education Center program office was established in 2001. Its primary goal is to enhance access to quality healthcare through community-academic educational partnerships focusing on the healthcare needs of the underserved St. Louis area.

The program office works in conjunction with the Missouri AHEC Network (MAHEC), which consists of seven regional centers and 3 program offices. The SLU AHEC program office works directly with the East Central Missouri Area Health Education Center (ECMO AHEC) providing services in the St. Louis Region and within SLU health professions programs.

The SLU AHEC program office is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Health Professions. It administers a multidisciplinary academic consortium at SLU that includes representatives from the cooperating schools.

SLU Area Health Education Center Objectives:

  • Develop recruitment programs throughout the region, with a focus on medically underserved urban areas, that enhance understanding of health careers and provide academic and skills programs for underrepresented populations entering health professions training programs.
  • Support academic and community-based multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary training for primary care health profession students, residents, and physicians that develop understanding and skills to eliminate health disparities and serve culturally diverse populations.
  • Provide educational support, information dissemination, and technical assistance to reduce professional isolation, increase retention, and enhance the practice environment of physicians practicing in underserved areas.

Educational Interventions

  • Preceptorships - We place medical, nursing, and allied health profession students in urban, underserved settings (e.g., community health centers, federally qualified health centers, and hospitals) for clinical experiences. These sites promote interesting places to establish professional careers.
  • Coursework - Students in health professions are provided coursework specific to addressing culturally-related needs and serving the underserved. This includes curriculum during a four-week family medicine clerkship required of all medical students.
  • Family Medicine Residency Training 
  • Continuing Education 

Information Dissemination

  • Technical assistance - To reduce professional isolation, increase retention, and enhance the practice environment in underserved areas.
  • Housing - We provide low cost housing to health profession students who are placed in urban clinics for rotations. Housing units include two bedrooms, kitchen, television, resource library, and a computer workstation with Internet access and interactive medical software.

Participating SLU Schools and Colleges



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