The WWAMI Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program, in the University of Washington School of Medicine’s Office of Rural Programs, works to improve the diversity, distribution, and quality of the healthcare workforce in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. The WWAMI AHEC program relies on partnerships with affiliated AHEC program offices in Montana and Alaska, as well as clinics and communities in the states of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (the “WWAMI” states) to promote health career pathways, create healthcare educational opportunities for students from junior high school, all the way through professional and post-graduate training, and support health care providers working with underserved populations.

As of 2018, the WWAMI AHEC includes five regional AHEC Centers: AHEC of Western Washington (AHECWW), Eastern Washington AHEC (EWAHEC), Northern Idaho AHEC (NIAHEC), Southwestern Idaho AHEC (SWIAHEC), Southeastern Idaho AHEC (SEIAHEC). The WWAMI AHEC Program office works closely with these AHEC Center partners who are the “boots on the ground” in their regions, helping develop programs and outreach that will bolster the healthcare workforce in rural and small city areas. A HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) funded program, WWAMI AHEC strives to encourage, educate, promote, and retain healthcare professionals and students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The WWAMI AHEC continues its more than two decades of work as an integral part of the larger WWAMI program, a 30+ years old medical education program serving the five state region. Consistent with the overall aims of the Federal AHEC Program, the WWAMI AHEC supports activities that provide health workforce development and education away from large cities through partnerships with independently-operated AHEC centers. By sharing resources with the WWAMI medical program, the WWAMI AHEC is well-positioned to help improve the quality and distribution of all health professionals into the mostly-rural region.

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