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Alaska’s Southwest AHEC Program

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  • Crisis Text Line
    Text HOME to 741741

The Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) are federally-funded, state-administered offices that work on improving healthcare services across their respective states. Every state and most territories have at least one AHEC. Alaska’s AHEC Program Office is located in Anchorage. There are also regional AHEC centers in Anchorage, Bethel, Fairbanks, Juneau and Nome. The Alaska AHEC addresses its mission by working in the following areas:

  • Engaging Alaskans into health careers to grow our own health workforce
  • Training health professions students by supporting experiential learning that occurs in rural communities or with underserved populations
  • Retaining Alaska’s health workforce by increasing access to and providing continuing education/continuing medical education (CE/CME) opportunities statewide

The Alaska AHEC program office (at UAA) contracts with six regional Centers to implement educational activities involving health professions and to expose students to primary care delivery in rural and/or underserved settings. AHEC’s Southwest Region Office is hosted by Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, Inc.

Our services within the SW AHEC Office now include:

Training and Certificate Programs

H.O.P.E.- Suicide Prevention for American Indian and Alaska Native Crime Victims: A one-day training for crime victim advocates on how to properly identify a victim who is at risk for suicide, intervene and refer them to appropriate care and appropriately follow-up with the victim.

Teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA):
A 3.5-hour training teaching high school students about common mental health challenges and what they can do to support their own mental health and help a friend who is struggling. It’s equipping young people with the knowledge and skills they need to foster their own wellness and to support each other.

Youth Mental Health First Aide (YMHFA):
Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. In-person, blended and virtual training options available.

Mental Health First Aide (MHFA):
Mental Health First Aid for Adults teaches people how to recognize signs of mental health or substance use challenges in adults ages 18 and older, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide a person toward appropriate care if necessary. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, psychosis, and addictions. In-person, blended and virtual training options available.

Question Persuade and Refer (QPR):
QPR is a one-hour course taught in a clear, concise format using the latest in educational technology and practices. In-person and virtual training options available. The course addresses key components covered in training:

  • How to Question, Persuade and Refer someone who may be suicidal
  • How to get help for yourself or learn more about preventing suicide
  • The common causes of suicidal behavior
  • The warning signs of suicide
  • How to get help for someone in crisis

American Heart Association (AHA) Basic Life Support (BLS) and Refresher Courses:
AHA’s BLS train participants to promptly recognize several life-threatening emergencies, give high-quality chest compressions, deliver appropriate ventilations and provide early use of an AED. Reflects science and education from the American Heart Association Guidelines Update for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC).

AHA Heartsaver First Aid Course:
This course is designed to provide information and skills necessary to recognize and treat sudden illnesses or injuries, to know when it is necessary to contact emergency services, and what to expect when they arrive.
*If you need both First Aid and CPR certifications, register for the combination course below.

Heartsaver CPR, First Aid AED Course:
AHA’s Heartsaver courses are for those with limited or no medical training who needs a course completion card in first aid and/or CPR and AED to meet job, regulatory or other requirements.

*What's the difference between a BLS and a Heartsaver course?
Basic Life Support (BLS) is more advanced and uses technical language to describe techniques in more detail. The main differences between Heartsaver CPR and BLS comes from a focus on one or two rescuer techniques. Heartsaver CPR focuses exclusively on the single rescuer techniques of CPR Compressions, Rescue Breathing, and Using the AED.

Emergency Trauma Technician (ETT) and Refresher Courses:
This 40-hour, hands-on course meets the requirements for State of Alaska ETT or First Responder certification and includes information on medical terminology, CPR, and the assessment and treatment of illnesses and injuries. Attendees gain an entry-level understanding of emergency pre-hospital medical care. This course is appropriate for firefighters, law enforcement personnel, guides, and those interested in entering emergency medical services careers such as paramedicine, nursing, flight medicine, and related careers.

Opioid Overdose Awareness & Prevention:
This one-hour training covers the classic signs of opioid overdose, risk factors, Narcan administration and protocols. All attendees will receive a free Narcan kit.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Trauma Sensitive Practices:
This one-hour training will provide an overview of ACEs and attendees explore learning how to identify and counteract Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and develop resilience.

High School Healthcare Career Pathways

Behavioral Health Career Camps: High school students explore career pathways in the field of behavioral health. Students may earn 1 college credit and learn about key topics in behavioral health including wellness techniques, abuse, neglect, addiction, grief, stress and mental health while discovering career paths within the field. Students will explore careers including social workers, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, behavioral health aides, and other positions within the field of behavioral health and human services. Students will receive college credit and QPR certification.

Allied Health Career Camps:
High school youth explore the various professions included in allied health (broadly defined as all healthcare professionals aside from doctors and nurses). Students will receive college credit and may receive CPR, First Aid, QPR, Blood Bourne Pathogen and Emergency Trauma Technician certifications.

Explore Health Careers is a free, multi-disciplinary, interactive health careers website that gives students (and educators) a reliable, comprehensive source of accurate, up-to-date information about the health professions, including health-related education/training programs, financial aid resources, and current issues in healthcare.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, describes over 47 different health-related careers.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) STEP-UP: The STEP-UP Program provides hands-on summer research experience for high school and undergraduate students interested in exploring research careers.

College Student Healthcare Training

AHEC Scholars:
AHEC Scholars is a program for students enrolled in health care programs who are interested in supplementing their education by gaining additional knowledge and experience in rural and/or underserved urban settings. It supports students in completing 40 hours of community-based, experiential, or clinical training in rural and/or underserved areas and 40 hours of didactic education.
This program is open to students enrolled in a post-secondary health care training program in Alaska. More info here: https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/academics/college-of-health/departments/acrhhw/ahecscholars.cshtml. Now accepting applications for the 2021 cohort!

Rising AHEC Scholars: The Rising AHEC Scholars program is a 1 or 2-year program designed to support students who are interested in healthcare careers throughout their academic journey. Unlike the AHEC Scholars program, the Rising AHEC Scholars are students who are not admitted into a specific health major, but rather who are awaiting admission into their program or who are pursuing a non-traditional program in hopes of pursuing postgraduate school. For more information, view the Rising AHEC Scholars student manual. We are currently accepting applications for the 2021 cohort!

Continuing Education

The Alaska AHEC supports workforce retention of health care professionals particularly those working in rural and underserved areas by improving access to continuing education and professional development (CE/PD). The AHEC supports UAA faculty and other training partners by conducting periodic needs assessments, applying for CE/CME credits, and coordinating training management and dissemination as needed. Courses developed by UAA faculty, in collaboration with health industry, or with government partners designed to meet the needs for continuing education for healthcare in Alaska can be found on the Alaska can be found on the Alaska AHEC Continuing Education (UAA COH-CE) page.

Financial Assistance

National Programs:

National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program – This program pays tuition, fees, other educational costs, and provides a living stipend in return for a commitment to work at least 2 years at an NHSC-approved site in a medically underserved community.

Nurse Corps Scholarship Program – This scholarship program enables students accepted or enrolled in a diploma, associate, baccalaureate or graduate nursing programs, including RN to BSN, RN to MSN-NP, Direct Entry MSN-NP program to receive funding for tuition, fees and other educational costs in exchange for working at an eligible NURSE Corps site upon graduation.

National Health Service Corps Students to Service Loan Repayment Program – This program provides up to $120,000 to medical students (MD and DO) in their final year of school in return for a commitment to provide primary health care full time for at least 3 years or half time for at least 6 years at an approved NHSC site in a Health Professional Shortage Area of greatest need.

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education – Through this program, students can receive financial support by paying 150% of resident tuition instead of the full non-resident tuition.

Full Circle Scholarship: The American Indian College Fund supports American Indian and Alaska Native college students seeking technical, undergraduate and graduate degrees at tribal colleges and other nonprofit, accredited schools.

IHS Health Professions Scholarship Program: Recipients of the scholarship are required to fulfill a service commitment at an Indian health facility one year of service for each year of support, for a maximum of 4 years full-time and 8 years part-time.

IHS Pre-Graduate Scholarship Program: The Pre-Graduate Scholarship Program provides financial support for American Indian and Alaska Native (federally or state-recognized) students to enroll in courses leading to a bachelor's degree in specific pre-professional areas, such as pre-medicine and pre-dentistry. There is no service requirement attached to the scholarship.

IHS Preparatory Scholarship: Indian Health Professions Preparatory Scholarship provides financial aid for qualified American Indian and Alaska Native students who are enrolled in undergraduate or prerequisite courses in preparation for entry to health profession schools.

IHS Scholarship Program: The Indian Health Service (IHS) offers a wide variety of scholarships, internships and other training opportunities for students from Alaska Native or American Indian backgrounds.

Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Program: The IHS Loan Repayment Program (LRP) can help dedicated health professionals chart a course for a long-lasting and successful health care career. The LRP funds IHS clinicians to repay their eligible health profession education loans — up to $40,000 — in exchange for an initial two-year service commitment to practice in health facilities serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

Udall Scholarship: The Udall Foundation offers scholarships to Native American and Alaska Native undergraduate students pursuing careers related to tribal public policy, native healthcare, and the environment.

Northwest Osteopathic Scholarship: Scholarships are awarded to students who best demonstrate their commitment to practicing osteopathic medicine in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Nursing Scholarships: 25 scholarships for Nursing students

Public Health Scholarships: General advice and information for PH students about creating an application and finding outside sources of funding. Includes a selection of links to major scholarships in the public health field.

State Programs:

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Scholarships: ANTHC awards $5,000 scholarships to selected students who are interested in healthcare. Open to Alaska Native/Native American applicants who meet certain requirements.

Barry Goldwater Scholarship: Depending upon the availability of funds, it is the intent of the Goldwater Foundation to support junior-level scholarships for a maximum of two academic years (4 semesters) and senior-level scholarships for a maximum of one academic year (2 semesters).

David E. Knox Memorial Nursing Fellowship: Supports students pursuing RN degrees. Requires commitment to service in rural Alaskan communities.

Mat-Su Health Foundation: Two types of scholarships (Vocational and Academic) with different criteria. Offers support to students pursuing health-related careers and nonprofit management careers.

MyCACHE (Combined Application for College & Higher Education): Residents of the Bering Strait region can apply for multiple scholarships in one place. Money can be used for college or technical or vocational school.

Rural Health Information Hub Scholarships: Summaries of funding programs are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. Please contact the funder directly for the most complete and current information.

Stacie Morse Education Scholarship: Intended for a female nurse in a rural area interested in pursuing a career as a flight nurse. This scholarship applies towards nurses with at least three years of experience in an ED or ICU setting or those 18+ who are interested in pursuing a career in flight nursing.

Student Caregiver Scholarships: Students who are responsible for caring for a loved one while in school can apply for these scholarships to help ease the burden.

University of Alaska Social Work Scholarships: UA and UAA offer a number of different scholarships for students in Social Work.

SHARP-1: The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) announces a new SHARP-1 loan repayment opportunity for selected healthcare practitioners in State Fiscal Year 2019. This is one of SHARP’s periodically issued standard applicant-solicitations.