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University of Minnesota Medical School officials and clinic administrators throughout Minnesota say the state will find it difficult to retain young doctors without continued government support. ~Minnesota Public Radio

Listen to this MPR news item

St. Cloud Times article

After presenting at the 2011 PIN (Partners in Nursing) Annual Meeting, Laurissa Stigen, Central MN AHEC Executive Director, and Wendy Merrick, Program Director, West Central Initiative, were recently chosen to be featured in the PIN Point Newsletter (Vol. 4, Issue 1) for an interview highlighting their perspectives regarding the way we choose to share our stories within communities, including the terminology that we use in framing health care so that facilities and specific health issues are identifiable, positive and relevant in the communities we serve.

For the full story click on the PDF here:
PIN Point_ Vol. 4 No. 1.pdf

Health Care Career Cruise

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The Central MN AHEC coordinated a bus trip for 9th-12th grade students to aid in their exploration of health careers by visiting the Health Careers Center at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus on February 20, 2012. Fifty-five students from communities across the Central MN AHEC region participated in the event - the bus was full!


This trip was made possible through a MDH Health Care Careers Promotion Grant awarded to Lakes Country Service Cooperative.


A Northeast MN AHEC Reflection, by Laura Palombi

I was born and raised in Ely, a small town in northern Minnesota famous for its blend of the arts and the outdoors (population 3,724). I have always been interested in a career in health care, and volunteered at the hospital and nursing home in Ely before I worked as an EMT in the Ely hospital during college. I knew that I wanted a health care career in which I could make a positive change in the lives of others, but I wasn't sure what this career might be.

After completing a B.A. in Theology, a B.S. in Biology and a M.A. in Theology (focusing in Catholic Social Teaching) I taught for several years in private and Catholic schools. After staying at home to take care of my two children for several years, I decided to pursue a career in pharmacy. Pharmacy was the perfect career for me, as it allowed me an intellectual challenge with patient contact and flexible working hours. Most importantly, I knew that pharmacists had a huge opportunity to improve the "health care experience" of many patients and that there was a variety of careers in pharmacy that I could choose from. I really appreciated that there was a College of Pharmacy in Duluth, as I had no interest in moving back to the cities. My goal was to ultimately live in a rural area and to give my children the same small-town experience that I had enjoyed as a child.

I have a personal interest in working with rural communities, because I am from such a community and am supportive of the challenges they face. I am especially interested in working with those who are struggling on the margins. During my time at the College of Pharmacy, I have most enjoyed working at the HOPE (Health of People Everywhere) Clinic at the CHUM Center in downtown Duluth. This clinic, run by pharmacy and medical students, serves the homeless in Duluth every week. I have also enjoyed planning and participating in health fairs with MPSA (the Minnesota Pharmacy Student Alliance) and implementing new educational programming in disadvantaged communities in the Duluth area. I think that other students, especially those who are not from a rural area, would benefit from experiencing health care in a rural setting so they can learn firsthand about the benefits of living and working in a rural community.

I learned about NE AHEC in working on finding funding sources for rural health fairs and rural outreach activities, in addition to the work they do with H.O.T. camps. In my NE Minnesota AHEC rotation, I was fortunate enough to participate in a variety of educational and outreach events. I did three puppet shows for preschool and school-aged children (ages ranging from 9 months old to 8 years old) at AEOA childcare centers and educational events in Hibbing, Virginia and Hermantown. These shows focused on exposing young children to careers in healthcare, guiding them through what happens if they were going to the hospital and talking to them about healthy behaviors and how drugs aren't candy. I worked on a project in conjunction with Carlton County Public Health and the pharmacy residents and students on rotation at Essentia health. We designed a set of tools that nurses and other health professionals can use in doing medication reviews at home visits. This set of tools included a patient handout and a provider handout for COPD, asthma, hypertension, type II diabetes and heart failure. These tools were presented at an inter-professional, inter-site seminar during my rotation, with plans to repeat the presentation as part of a training session in the future for Carlton County Public Health & Human Services.

During this rotation, I was also given the opportunity to continue other projects that bridge the gap between pharmacists and public health. I interviewed nursing directors and directors of rural public health departments to learn more about how pharmacists can become more involved in public health. I worked to design a new Public Health APPE (advanced practice pharmacy experience) and am also learning more about how the University of Minnesota could have their own PharmD/MPH program. These projects have as their goal an improved participation of pharmacists in public health and an increased dialogue between pharmacy and public health.

I hope to continue the projects I have started by completing a one-year ambulatory care residency, either in Mora or Duluth, and to continue working towards the Certificate of Core Concepts at the School of Public Health (on my way to the MPH). Ideally, my job will combine MTM at rural health departments with a light teaching load at the College of Pharmacy (hopefully in rural public health). I am also interested in a career that includes consulting and community pharmacy. My hope is that my practice will let me continue working with those on the margins who would benefit most from my clinical expertise and to work closely with public health professionals. I hope that my work will help pharmacists across the state, especially those living in rural areas, to become more involved in public health initiatives in their communities and their state.

AHEC Funding Update for FY13

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On Monday, February 13th, President Obama submitted his FY13 budget proposal to the U.S. Congress. The President's budget request did not include funding for the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) program.

We have until March 20th for House members to request AHEC funding, and we have until March 29th for Senators to recommend AHEC funding in their FY13 budget requests. If Members of Congress do not request funding for AHEC, there will be no federal funding available for AHEC programs nationwide.

Please be sure to reach out to your legislators, as well as your students, board members, community members and the many others who may be willing to call on behalf of the AHEC Program. Thank you for your continuous advocacy efforts in helping the MN AHEC Network to be eligible for funding in order to continue their excellent work in improving health by leading the nation in the recruitment, training and retention of a diverse health workforce for underserved communities.

The Pat Tillman Foundation has chosen the University of Minnesota as a University Partner in support of the Tillman Military Scholars program, which provides educational scholarships for veteran and active servicemembers and their spouses.

With its selection, the University of Minnesota is recognized by the Pat Tillman Foundation as being among the nation's leaders in support services for student veterans, active servicemembers and their spouses on campus.


Applications are now being accepted for Tillman Scholars, until Friday, March 16, 2012

Who is eligible to apply to become a Tillman Military Scholar?
> Veteran and active duty military servicemembers Of both pre- and post-9/11 service, from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, including service in the National Guard and Reserve.
> Spouses of active or veteran servicemembers, including surviving spouses
> Servicemember or spouse seeking assistance to pursue an undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate degree as a full-time student at a public or private, 4-year U.S.-based accredited institution

Members of each class of Tillman Military Scholars represent a rich and diverse set of backgrounds, experiences and ambitions, and were selected based on strong leadership potential and a drive to make a positive impact on others through service.

The MN AHEC Network is available to assist veterans interested in seeking health careers education and health professions students who have been servicemenbers to find support and resources, like the Tillman Scholars, to continue their path to a health care career.

Summer Public Health Institute Details Released


The University of Minnesota 11th annual Public Health Institute offers courses for everyone practicing in or studying public health or fields related to public health.

The Public Health Institute includes a collection of fast-paced and interactive courses in nine public health areas with an emphasis on theory-to-practice, with opportunities for field trips, case studies, hands-on labs, and simulations.

The courses are available May 21-June 8, 2012.

Registration is open for professionals seeking Continuing Education Units. Registration for Graduate credit opens , enrolled University of Minnesota Students can register beginning April 10th and to the public on April 17.

Course topics include:
Culturally Responsive Public Health Practice
Environmental Health Sciences
Food Protection
Global Health
Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Public Health Leadership and Management
Public Health Preparedness, Response and Recovery; Research Methods
Women and Child Health and Nutrition.

CTSI Releases Two Research Funding Opportunities

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) is pleased to announce two pilot funding opportunities designed to support the broad spectrum of translational science research at the University of Minnesota and in our communities.

Community Collaborative Grants Program

The Community Collaborative Grants Program supports research that solves problems in translating clinical and health-related scientific knowledge into meaningful changes in practice, with the goals of improved health outcomes and/or reduced costs. This funding is intended to stimulate outstanding new pilot research that 1) involves strong community-university collaborations and 2) addresses important issues identified by community and 3) holds the promise of developing into long-term research and evaluation projects that will attract larger grants from NIH or other federal, state, or private funding agencies.

Grants are awarded in three areas: health disparities, systems for health improvement, and rural health.

Translational Research Grants Program
The Translational Research Grants Program supports and facilitates the highest quality translational research, with a goal of making definitive progress toward positively impacting human health in Minnesota and the nation. Applications must be focused on T1 human research, or human-relevant translational or clinical research with the potential to impact human health and/or disease. T1 research tests findings derived from basic research for clinical effects and/or applicability, and yields knowledge about human disease origin and progression and the potential for prevention and/or treatment.

The MN AHEC Network is proud to partner with the CTSI Office of Interprofessional Workforce Development.

Call for Abstracts: 2012 Health Equity Conference

Poster abstracts are currently being for the 2012 Health Equity Conference poster session to be held April 23rd.

The agenda 2012 Health Equity Conference will focused on eliminating health disparities. Posters may be on any topic related to health equity and health disparities.

The deadline to submit poster abstracts is Monday February 15, 2012 at 5pm.

Awards will be given in each of the following submission categories: Students, fellows, faculty, staff and community members.

The event will be co-hosted by the Center for Health Equity, Program in Health Disparities Research and the Minnesota Center for Cancer Collaborations.

2012 Summer Advanced Research Program

The CTSI 2012 Summer Advanced Research Program provides research training through a structured core curriculum, mentored research projects, weekly research seminars, and a final mini-symposium to present research to other scholars and mentors. With input and oversight by the faculty mentor, the scholars will design a mutually acceptable research-training plan, according to his or her career interests and the ongoing research programs of the faculty mentor.

Download the Request for Applications
Download the Application Cover Sheet
View a list of potential mentors

•Open to current University of Minnesota health sciences professional students (from the six health sciences colleges and schools) with an interest in clinical and translational research
•Offers an 8 - 12 week mentored summer research opportunity
•Provides a weekly stipend during the course of the program
•Opportunity for outstanding projects to receive travel funding to present research at a scientific conference
•Includes interdisciplinary learning and networking opportunities through weekly research seminars
•Applications from underrepresented populations are strongly encouraged
•All health sciences students are eligible, regardless of citizenship or immigration status
•Up to ten students will be selected
•Applications due January 16, 2012; start date in summer 2012

Medical students interested in health equity research should visit the Center for Health Equity website for more summer research opportunities

MN AHEC Director Barbara Brandt is the Director of the Office of Interprofessional Workforce Development in the CTSI.

AHEC Funding Update for FY12

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AHEC funding for FY12 has been finalized at $30,142,000. This does reflect a $3 million decrease over FY11; however it is far, far better than zero, as initially proposed by the House.

Please be sure to reach out and thank your legislators, as well as your students, board members, community members and the many others who called on behalf of the AHEC Program. Thanks to your continuous advocacy efforts the AHEC Network is well positioned to continue its excellent work in improving health by leading the nation in the recruitment, training and retention of a diverse health workforce for underserved communities.

MAFP.jpgMinnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) has released a call for abstracts for their 2012 Research Forum. Abstracts are due January 27, 2012. The Research Forum will take place on March 31, 2012.

Abstracts should contain original research and be relevant to family medicine. All categories of research will be considered, including practice-based, community-oriented and participatory projects, and descriptive studies. Quality Improvement projects, clinical case presentations, and literature reviews are acceptable if they generate original conclusions.

Research can be presented as a poster rather than as a live presentation. Poster submissions do require an abstract.

Abstracts can be submitted by medical students, residents, practicing physicians, academic physicians, and researchers.

Please visit the MAFP website for details on submitting an abstract.

Northwest MN AHEC board member Ray Christensen, MD is the treasurer of the MAFP House of Delegates.

BrainU is a grant-funded professional development program that teaches educators neuroscience principles and effective methodology for teaching neuroscience in the middle to high school classroom.

BrainU's web site contains professional development resources and lesson plan materials for grades 5 through 12 science teachers.

Science teachers from Minnesota and Wisconsin have utilized BrainU training and resources since the program's inception in 2000. Content ranges from 2-week-long teacher training sessions to 1-hour student assemblies, hands-on activities, student/teacher guides, handouts, and other materials.

BrainU is developed by the University of Minnesota Department of Neuroscience and Department of Curriculum and Instruction and is a resource in the STEM Education Center in the College of Education and Human Development.

Strength in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects is an important part of preparing students for continuing education in health professions.

The project is funded by SEPA (Science Education Partnership Award), supported by the National Center for Research Resources, a part of the National Institutes of Health, with additional funding from SEDAPA and ARRA.

Preparation for the Future of Rural Dentistry

University of Minnesota School of Dentistry students shared their experiences to pre-dental students in an event promoting the future of dental careers.


Pictured, L-R, Back row: Lori Larson, Central MN AHEC Regional Specialist; Kelly Stein, Dental Hygiene Student; Adam Swingdorf, Dental Student; and Dr. Paul Schulz, U of MN Department of Primary Dental Care Outreach Director. Front row: Meghan Reedy, U of MN Community Health Dental Outreach Program Specialist; Rachel Uppgaard, Dental Student; Megan Meyer, Dental Therapy Student; Laurissa Stigen, Central MN AHEC Executive Director, and Joan Tronson, Northwest MN AHEC Executive Director.

Pre-dental students from Concordia College, Minnesota State University--Moorhead (MSU), University of Minnesota, Morris, and North Dakota State University (NDSU) heard first-hand ideas to help them become prepared for Dental School as well as a career in Dentistry.

On Thursday, October 29, Central Minnesota Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Northwest MN AHEC and the University of Minnesota School Of Dentistry sponsored "The Future of Rural Dentistry" on the Concordia College campus in Moorhead, Minnesota.

Two dental students, a dental therapy student, and a dental hygiene student, along with School Of Dentistry Department of Primary Dental Care Outreach Director Dr. Paul Schulz and Community Health Dental Outreach Program Specialist Meghan Reedy, presented to the pre-dental students. The students talked about their career paths, the preparation and education involved, and what the current outlook is for dentistry, especially in rural Minnesota.

Over 45 people were in attendance including the pre-dental students, dentists from rural communities, and instructors from NDSU and MSU.

Laurissa Stigen, executive director for Central Minnesota AHEC was pleased with the event. "The focus of this event was to create an informal atmosphere so University of Minnesota students could easily network with pre-dental students, dentists and other dental professionals." Stigen said there were a lot of valuable conversations taking place.

"One of the dentists attending was from Fergus Falls. He complimented the School of Dentistry's excellent team and said that he is optimistic about the future of dentistry," said Stigen.

Earlier in the day, the University of Minnesota students also presented to two Human Anatomy classes at Moorhead High School. Events such as these connect students to careers, professionals to communities, and communities to better health.

One pre-dental student summed up the evening events by writing, "The most valuable part of today's event was hearing the current dental students talk about what the school is like, life during dental school, and hearing dentists talk about their practices. This was a wonderful way to spend my evening!"

The MN AHEC Network hosted a booth at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) 2011 National Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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The conference is held annually and there were over 1,800 attendees from across the nation. MN AHEC staff from across the state enjoyed attending presentations and talking with a wide range of high school, college, and graduate students and educators about AHEC resources in health careers exploration - not only in Minnesota, but across the country.

MN AHEC Network staff were also pleased to meet Iva GreyWolf, Executive Director of the Southeast Alaska AHEC. Her AHEC was also exhibiting at the conference. The 2012 AISES National Conference will take place in Anchorage, Alaska.

American Indian health careers promotion is one of seven focus areas identified by the MN AHEC Network as a priority for programming and effort.

logo-hshc.pngThe National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Students to Service Loan Repayment Program pilot application cycle is now open.

The Students to Service Loan Repayment Program provides loan repayment assistance to medical students (MD and DO) in their last year of school, in return for a commitment to provide primary health care services in eligible Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) of greatest need.

This and other NHSC programs are seeking applicants who have an interest in serving in rural and urban communities with limited access to health care and in providing care through their initial service commitment and beyond. MN AHEC Network staff across Minnesota serve as NHSC Ambassadors and are available to assist interested students in their application process.

MN AHEC Regions Take Part in Give to the Max Day


November 16 is Give to the Max Day and you have the opportunity to donate funds to help support community programming in several MN AHEC Network regions. Check out all of the activities made possible by MN AHEC regions and be sure to show your support of primary care health careers promotion across Minnesota.

Central MN AHEC

Northeast MN AHEC

Northwest MN AHEC

Minnesota's nonprofit organizations ask Minnesotans to give to their favorite charities at during the third annual "Give to the Max Day" on Nov. 16, with hopes of raising as much money as possible for nonprofit organizations in 24 hours (starting at midnight on Nov. 16 through midnight on Nov. 17).

northwesterncenter.jpgThe Northwestern Mental Health Center, in Crookston, MN, is featured in an article on the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) website.

In the piece, Northwestern Mental Health Center Executive Director Dan Wilson, LCSW, shares how the NHSC has benefited the organization. Here is an excerpt:

The Northwestern Mental Health Center (NMHC), in Crookston, MN, has been with the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) for over 17 years, and in that time we've benefited from 20 NHSC providers. We serve six rural counties in northwest Minnesota, and the widely distributed locations of our services reflect the sparsely populated geography of the area. We are very much an integrated, rural mental health program, integrating mental health with primary health care services and public education through co-location. The facility operates in 12 locations in the area and in client homes.


The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has launched an Alumni Network and a redesigned website this week. Visit the site to learn more about opportunities with the NHSC, link to Corps resources, and obtain the latest news and information from the NHSC.

The NHSC, through its providers and sites, plays an important role in helping to address the country's primary care shortage. The NHSC provides scholarships and loan repayment The NHSC is a Federal government program that is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The MN AHEC Network is also a HRSA program.

NHSC alumni include thousands of providers who have served in the Corps and made a significant contribution to the health of the nation's underserved communities. The primary purpose of the NHSC Alumni Network is to offer former members a means to stay connected with the Corps. For those alumni interested in playing a more active role, the NHSC welcomes the support to increase awareness about the NHSC, primary care and working in underserved communities.

There are several MN AHEC Network staff who are NHSC Ambassadors and they are glad to help address questions about the NHSC and qualifying for funding.

The Central Minnesota AHEC Board of Directors invited dental, dental therapy, and dental hygienist students and faculty from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry to their meeting, on November 10, 2011. Joan Tronson, Director of Northwest MN AHEC, was also a guest at the meeting.


The School of Dentistry students engaged the board in an active conversation about the future of dental careers and rural dentistry. The students were able to share their paths towards dental careers and their experience training on the mobile dental unit and in outreach clinics in Hibbing, Wilmar, and Minneapolis, MN.

The meeting was held at the Clay County Family Services Center in Moorhead, MN and after the meeting, board members took the opportunity to tour the Family HealthCare Center Dental Clinic also located at the Center.

The students were escorted by Paul Schulz, DDS, MPH, Director of the Mobile Dental Unit and Director of Outreach Programs in the Department of Primary Dental Care at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Schulz had a long standing relationship with the MN AHEC Network. He is a member of the Southern MN AHEC Board of Directors and serves as the MN AHEC Network Dental Outreach Director.

The MN AHEC Network has built a strong collaboration with the School of Dentistry to impact dental access across the state. Partnerships include coordinating experiences for students in MN AHEC regions and garnering financial support to promote the School's commitment to community outreach and dental careers promotion.

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The Minnesota Department of Health has begun the 2011 Minnesota e-Health Connectivity Grant Program for Health Information Exchange (HIE) application process.

The HIE Cooperative Agreement Program, known as Minnesota e-Health Connect, is funded by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) through the HITECH Act to build capacity in all states for exchanging health information across the health care system both within and across states. The cooperative agreement specifically requires states to use their authority, programs and resources to:

  • Ensure the development of state level directories and enable technical services for health information exchange
  • Convene stakeholders to ensure trust and support for a statewide approach to health information exchange
  • Ensure an effective model for health information exchange governance and accountability
  • Coordinate an integrated approach with Medicaid and public health
  • Develop and update privacy and security requirements for health information exchange
  • Remove barriers and create enablers for health information exchange
The HIE guidance and grant application can be found on the Minnesota e-Health Connect website.


Pictured are Central Minnesota AHEC Executive Director Laurissa Stigen, Senator Al Franken, and Glacial Ridge Health Systems CEO, Kirk Stensrud.

The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health has named U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) the 2011 Legislator of the Year.

On Sunday, October 9, Glacial Ridge Health System in Glenwood, MN hosted a reception honoring Senator Al Franken on his National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health Rural Healthcare Legislator award.

Mark Schoenbaum, Director of the Minnesota Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, presented the award to Senator Franken. The award is given annually to recognize an outstanding legislator for his or her work on, and support of, rural health initiatives. Those selected have introduced or supported legislation that addresses an identified rural health need or issue; made a special effort to effect change in rural health policy; and/or demonstrated leadership in the rural community.

Schoenbaum said Senator Franken received the award in recognition of his continued efforts to ensure that Minnesotans in rural communities receive the quality medical care they deserve. "Senator Franken is a member of three panels, the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions; the Indian Affairs Committee; and the Senate Rural Health Caucus, where he has tirelessly advocated for rural health improvements. He has written and co-sponsored several important rural health bills," said Schoenbaum. He continued to say Senator Franken joins past recipients of this award such as Senator Max Baucus, Senator Kent Conrad, Representative Gabrielle Giffords and Senator Ted Kennedy.

ihwc.jpgBarbara F. Brandt, PhD, Associate Vice President for Education and Director of the Minnesota Area Health Education Center Network (MN AHEC) will present a paper at the 13th International Health Workforce Collaborative (IHWC). The event will bring together policy makers, academics, researchers and practitioners from the United States, Canada, Australia and United Kingdom with responsibility for and interests in medical workforce issues. It will be held October 24-26, 2011 in Brisbane, Australia.

Dr. Brandt co-authored a paper titled Interprofessional Education and Training in the United States - Resurgence and Refocus with collaborator Madeline Schmitt, PhD, RN, FAAN Professor Emerita, University of Rochester School of Nursing. The paper contributes to an international discussion of the delivery of health care in teams and the move towards more interdisciplinary education and training. Dr. Brandt and her IHWC colleagues will explore developments in interdisciplinary education and training with a particular focus on training content, structure and delivery.

Lori Larson, Regional Specialist from Central Minnesota AHEC attended a presentation by Minnesota State Economist Tom Stinson on "Minnesota And The New Normal".


He presented the state of the economy in Minnesota to the Labor Force Development Group in the central Minnesota region, whose mission is to provide networking, strategic initiatives, and resource sharing designed to build the skills of the workforce and respond to the emerging needs of employers.

Stinson has been the state's economist since 1987, and also holds the position of professor in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. In his role as state economist, Stinson is responsible for preparing revenue forecasts for the Governor and Legislature.

Southwest Minnesota Regional Career Fairs

Over 1300 high school students from across the Southern MN AHEC region attended the Southwest Minnesota Career Expos at Southwest State University in Marshall, MN and Minnesota West College in Worthington, MN.

Careerexpo.jpg Southern MN AHEC provided simulation and training equipment for local health care professionals to use to offer hands-on demonstrations of their work to engage the students. Over 40 southern Minnesota school districts had students participating in these annual expos hosted by the Southwest/West Central Service Cooperative.

Photos from the Southwest Minnesota Career Expos and more information can be found on the Southwest/West Central Service Cooperative website.

The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) presented its 2011 awards to five well-­‐respected rural health leaders and a deserving State Office of Rural Health (SORH) on September 8 during the organization's 2011 Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado.

2011_rural_health_awards.bmpThe Minnesota AHEC Network is happy to congratulate our colleague Mark Schoenbaum on receiving the 2011 Distinguished Service Award. Schoenbaum is Director of the Minnesota Office of Rural Health and Primary Care at the Minnesota Department of Health.

NOSORH presents the award each year to a member who has made an outstanding contribution or contributions to NOSORH and is actively involved in a State Office of Rural Health.

Mark Schoenbaum (right) with Karen Madden, New York Office of Rural Health.

MN AHEC Director Presents on National AHEC Grantee Webinar

atracc.jpgThe AHEC Training and Consultation Center (A-TrACC) hosted two technical assistance webinars titled Interprofessional Education 101: Where do AHECs Fit?.

A-TrACC has invited Amy Blue, PhD, Assistant Provost for Education, Medical University of South Carolina, Barbara Brandt, PhD, Associate Vice President for Education and Director of the Minnesota AHEC Network (MN AHEC), University of Minnesota, and David Garr, MD, Associate Dean and Executive Director, South Carolina AHEC, Medical University of South Carolina, to present the topic.

All three have vast experience in interprofessional education (IPE) and in working with the US Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration Area Health Education Center model. They will discuss opportunities and challenges presented by IPE, share resources and examples, and explore modifying AHEC-sponsored continuing education to meet the needs of interprofessional teams as well as how to track progress in those efforts.

On September 20th, the MN Urban AHEC took part in the second annual Community Day at the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) in North Minneapolis. MN Urban AHEC and MN AHEC Program Office staff were on hand to educate attendees about the opportunities available through our programs.

Community Day coincided with the inauguration week of University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler. President Kaler attended the event and gave a brief talk, along with presentations by other leaders and stakeholdres in UROC's mission.


President Eric Kaler and Karen Kaler with staff from UROC and resident programs.

UROC links the University of Minnesota in vital public partnership with urban communities to advance learning, improve quality of life, and discover breakthrough solutions to critical problems. The MN Urban AHEC is housed in the UROC building to take advantage of these collaboration opportunities.


Pam Cosby, Executive Director of MN Urban AHEC talks with community members.

President Kaler Visits with MN AHEC and Partners

The Minnesota AHEC Network (MN AHEC) was selected to be showcased as a part of University of Minnesota President Kaler's tour of the Academic Health Center(AHC) on Monday, September 19.

Barbara Brandt, MN AHEC Director and Associate Vice President for Education for the Academic Health Center, hosted the visit. The event was held in the Health Careers Center, an AHC Office of Education program and MN AHEC partner designed to help undergraduate students prepare for advanced health profession education.


President Kaler, Karen Kaler, Barbara Brandt, MN AHEC Director, Marylin Speedie, Dean of the College of Pharmacy, and students from the Schools of Nursing, College of Pharmacy and Medical School discuss interprofessional teams.

Topics covered during the visit included teaching Health Professional Collaborative Practice to health professions students and practitioners. The the Right Side Up in Otter Tail County interprofessional practice and education team participated in the event via interative television to showcase their team-based work in geriatric fall prevention. Central MN AHEC is a part of the Right Side Up team.

President Kaler and Karen Kaler connect via interactive TV with Central MN AHEC staff and the Right Side Up interprofessional geriatric falls prevention team in Fergus Fall, MN.

Similar interprofessional education and practice teams supported by MN AHEC and the Office of Education were also highlighted to show how new models of health care provide best practices for collaborative care. Teams include faculty, community-based health professionals, and students from medicine, nursing, and pharmacy.

During his tour of the AHC, President Kaler also visited MN AHEC collaborators in the School of Public Health, the simulation center in the Interprofessional Education and Resource Center, and the School of Dentistry.


President Kaler works on his bedside manner as he checks vital signs during the simulation.

Successful Clinical Teaching In Nursing Homes Workshop

Successful Clinical Teaching In Nursing Homes, a one-day workshop for nursing faculty and their nursing home clinical partners, was held Friday, September 16, at the Elim Rehab and Care Center in Fargo, ND.


Laurissa Stigen, Central Minnesota AHEC Executive Director, Vicki Teske, MS, GNP, BC, Assistant Professor at Minnesota State University Moorhead, Jane Strommen, Project Coordinator for North Dakota Partners in Nursing Gerontology Consortium Project, and Christine Mueller, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor and Co-director of the MnHCGNE.

This interactive workshop provided effective and innovative strategies to teach geriatric nursing in a nursing home setting. The unique aspect to this workshop is that faculty worked collaboratively with colleagues from their nursing home clinical partners to co-create meaningful learning opportunities for students to learn about the role of the registered nurse in providing care for nursing home residents.

Faculty from the University of Minnesota School of Nursing and the Minnesota Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence (MnHCGNE) facilitated the workshop. Laurissa Stigen, Executive Director of Central Minnesota Area Health Education Center provided information on some upcoming long-term care education opportunities as well as how the partners are working together.

There was no cost for the workshop. The facility, continental breakfast, lunch, and refreshment breaks were all generously provided by Elim Rehab and Care Center.

The changing population of K-12 education in some rural Minnesota communities is represented in an article by Mila Koumpilova titled "Worthington schools' growth defies rural trends, but its struggle to help minority students succeed does not".


Students eat breakfast at Prairie Elementary School in Worthington, Minn., on Friday, September 10, 2011. It's the town's only elementary school, boasting more than 1,000 students for grades k-4. (Pioneer Press: Ben Garvin)

The Pioneer Press article covers how the Worthington, MN school system has had an increase in students, which is the opposite of most rural school districts. The community has also had major shifts in student demographics, with the 45% of students being Hispanic in origin and a growing population of African and Asian immigrants.

Worthington is a town of about 12,800 people. It has an economy based on farming and manufacturing, which makes it a drawn for people seeking employment. Worthington is in Nobles county and Southern MN AHEC serves the community with resources to promote the primary care health professional workforce.

Mobile service for Veterans Touring South Central Minnesota

DAV.jpgThe Disabled American Veterans Mobile Service Office will be making stops South Central Minnesota communities this week.

The fully functioning mobile office travels around the country to make it easier for vets to get help with available benefits and services. The schedule for the week:
9/19/2011: Mankato: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Nichols Office Center, 410 E. Jackson St.;

  • 9/20/2011: Blue Earth: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Faribault County Office Building, 412 N. Nicollet St.;

  • 9/21/2011: St. James: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Veterans of Foreign War Post, 4 S. Seventh St.;

  • 9/22/2011: New Ulm: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at New Ulm Chapter 14, 1522 S. Valley St.;

  • 9/23/2011: Gaylord: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Sibley County Service Center, 111 Eighth St.

Jon Retzer, a DAV National Service Office supervisor for Minnesota, told the Mankato Free Press that the office can help veterans with all kinds of issues, from filing claims for benefits and pension assistance to problems with VA medical centers. "People can ask questions about anything and everything."

Health Disparities Summer Internship Project Presentations

Masonic-Cancer-Center.pngHealth Disparities Summer Internship participants recently presented a poster describing his or her research project at a poster session attended by faculty and staff at the Masonic Cancer Center and Academic Health Center.

Six undergraduate students spent five weeks this summer conducting research with faculty mentors in the Masonic Cancer Center's Health Disparities Summer Internship program. Participants in the internship program include students from minority, immigrant, rural, and financially disadvantaged communities and are selected from universities and community colleges state-wide. Students in this year's group included Hmong, Vietnamese, an African-American, and an African immigrant.

The 2011 program was funded by the Sylvia H. Lam Endowed Cancer Research Fund. The program was co-sponsored by two partners of the MN AHEC Network: the University of Minnesota Medical School's Minnesota Future Doctors program, which prepares college-age Minnesotans from underrepresented communities for medical school admission, and the Medical School's Program in Health Disparities Research.

The Black Graduate and Professional Student Association (BGAPSA) is searching for graduate student panelists for the first Bi-annual BGAPSA Bridging the Gap Scholars Panel on November 8, 2011.

The theme is for this semester's "Health across the Diaspora" and the submission deadline for consideration as a panelist is September 31, 2011.

The Black Graduate and Professional Student's Association's (BGAPSA) Scholar's Panel provides an opportunity to present to other graduate students, faculty, and community members y ongoing research and analysis of topics relating to Health and the African Diaspora. BGAPSA encourages submission of research proposals related to this semester's theme; however, abstracts on other timely topics related to health and communities of color are also are welcome.

The topics listed below are suggested topics for submission of proposals. However, these suggestions should not be seen as exclusive, as the final focus of the panel sessions will depend on reoccurring theme of the selected proposals. With that in mind, please submit your proposal under the topic that is most relevant.
• Chronic illnesses and African/African American populations
• Mental health
• Portrayals of illness or health within the Arts and Humanities
• Historic health trends among communities of color
• Health disparities, social determinants of health and the law
• Health policy and communities of color
• Mental health
• Child health
• The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Research topics that focus on interdisciplinary approaches and research methods are also strongly encouraged.

All proposals will be considered through a blind process. Once received, all applicant names will be removed from all application materials. If interested, please submit an abstract and faculty recommendation to by 5: 00pm on September 30, 2011. Late submissions will not be considered. We will accept only one submission per graduate student.


The University of Minnesota Office for Business and Community Economic Development is now accepting applications for the 2011 Community Health Initiative (CHI) Student Consulting Projects. This program is designed to support students interested in working with community-based organizations that work to address public health issues impacting traditionally underserved communities.

The CHI program matches organizations with undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled in either the School of Public Health, Social Work or the School of Medicine, Carlson School of Management or Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs or other graduate programs within the University.

Complete eligibility requirements and online applications for community-based organizations can be found by visiting the CHI website. Applications are due Wednesday, September 14, 2011.

CHI Student Consulting Projects are experiential learning opportunities for students to work on specific projects that have been identified by local nonprofit organizations or businesses involved in addressing public health issues.

These projects attempt to deal with a business need of the organization and may focus in areas including but not limited to market research, marketing, feasibility studies, implementation planning, implementation, health administration, and outreach. Each consulting projects lasts 50-60 hours after which each participating student is paid a stipend of $700.

U-Lead Advisory Academy Accepting Applications


University of Minnesota Extension is currently accepting applications from community leaders across Minnesota for the 2012 U-Lead Advisory Academy.

The mission of the U-Lead Advisory Academy is to grow Extension stakeholders' leadership skills, knowledge and networks, and link Extension stakeholders to University of Minnesota resources.

The U-Lead Advisory Academy is a dynamic educational experience featuring an online component, four in-state sessions, and a five-day national study tour to Washington D.C..

More information and the program application can be are available from the U-Lead Advisory Academy staff. The application deadline is 10/31/2011.

M State Fergus Falls Offers Free Health Care Preparation Course


December 1, 2011 is the deadline for MN Health Professional Loan Forgiveness Programs through the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care at the Minnesota Department of Health. orhpclogosmall.jpg

Minnesota's Loan Forgiveness Program recruits and retains health care professionals to needed areas and facilities within Minnesota.

The program is designed for health care professional serving in health care facilities and communities experiencing a shortage of access to primary health care services in rural and urban areas of Minnesota.


Contact Deb Jahnke for information on these programs at 651-201-3845.

Girls Exploring Medicine & Service Workshop

Girls Exploring Medicine & Service (G.E.M.S.) Workshop was held August 26 to 28, 2011 on the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) campus. The event was developed through a collaboration with the Warroad Girls Lead program and medical student Erica Bohan, MPH, who is originally from Bemidji, MN.


UMD Medical Student Erican Bohan, MPH teaches a G.E.M.S. student how to use a stethoscope.

Bohan is assigned to the community of Warroad, MN for her preceptorship experience in the new Rural Medical Scholars Program at the University of Minnesota Duluth Medical School. This course is comprehensive over the first two years of medical school and once completed Bohan will have spent a total of six weeks working with Warroad's only full-time family practice physician, Dr. Deborah Erickson.

On her outreach in Warroad, Bohan had the chance to work with a girl's leadership program called Warroad Girls Lead. This program is an extracurricular activity for high school girls in Warroad who are interested in leadership training and community advocacy.

Bohan said that working with this group opened her eyes to several needs in the community and particularly within this population. With a total population of 1,781 and its location in the northernmost part of the state, Warroad is not only rural but remote. Besides just the one full-time physician, the closest four-year university is over 140 miles away in Bemidji.

"It has come to my attention that these young women are under the impression that their career opportunities are limited to those in nursing, teaching, or secretarial work. For many of the students, the most convenient and accessible post-secondary education option is the technical college located in Thief River Falls," said Bohan.

Through collaboration with the leader of the Warroad Girls Lead program, Kim Hruba, Bohan invited girls in the Warroad Girls Lead program to attend a pilot program at the UMD Medical School campus called G.E.M.S., a hands-on workshop in health careers.Six girls traveled to Duluith with Hruba and Dr. Erickson. The girls were invited to stay at the homes of several of Erica's fellow female medical students during the two nights that they were in Duluth. Dr. Joy Dorscher, with the Center for American Indian and Minority Health at UMD, hosted a "get-to-know-you" dinner at her home on Friday evening.


G.E.M.S. participants try thier hand at reviewing x-rays.

During the workshop, the girls toured both the College of St. Scholastica and the University of Minnesota Duluth, as well as a tour and female physician shadow at Saint Mary's Duluth Clinic and the Hope Clinic.
They participated in various hands-on activity stations, including suturing pig's feet, delivering a baby in a simulation laboratory, viewing pathology specimens, and reading X-Rays. During lunch Lori Larson from Central Minnesota Area Health Education Center and a group of medical students talked about the many different pathways to health care careers and the support that is available.

"I think it is crucial to not only give the girls a chance to explore medicine and meet some inspirational female physicians, but to also ensure that they have access to resources and information about how to pursue a career in medicine should they be interested," said Bohan.

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Fergus Falls was the first stop on Governor Mark Dayton's tour of the state to discuss jobs, including new ideas for statewide workforce and business development.

Lori Larson, Regional Specialist for Central MN AHEC was able to attend one of several events the Governor made in Fergus Falls. She shared that "Dayton used the words education and training continuously as part of the solution to a healthy workforce."

He also gave some attention to funding and resources necessary to support training for health professions students to meet health care workforce shortages.

Governor Mark Dayton with Lori Larson, Regional Specialist, Central MN AHEC

MaryZahuronesPK2011.jpgMary Zahurones, an 18-year-old college student from Pierz, MN was crowned the 58th Princess Kay of the Milky Way in an evening ceremony at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on August 24, 2011.

Pierz, MN is in Morrison County in the Central MN AHEC region. Zahurones will be a freshman at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities this fall as a pre-med student studying biology and chemistry.

Throughout her year-long reign as Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Zahurones will make public appearances helping consumers make a connection with Minnesota dairy farm families who are dedicated to producing wholesome milk while caring for their animals and natural resources.


The Office for Equity and Diversity's Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity (SEED) Awards program honors and acknowledges diverse students who are doing outstanding work at the University of Minnesota, both in and out of the classroom.

SEED award recipients demonstrate a deep understanding of and commitment to issues of equity, diversity, and social justice through their academic work and/or service to the community.In addition, SEED awardees will demonstrate experience with or commitment to serving or working with underserved, underrepresented or marginalized populations.

There are two SEED award types; an undergraduate SEED award and a graduate or professional student SEED award. Applicants must be enrolled as students on one of the five University of Minnesota campuses.

The undergraduate SEED applications are due September 26, 2011 and the graduate & professional student SEED applications are due October 10, 2011.

Details on the grant criteria and how to apply can be found on their website.

The awards are presented annually at the University of Minnesota Equity and Diversity Breakfast, which will take place on Wednesday, November 16, 2011.

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) offered the third installment of conversations about rural health care with nine rural Minnesota health care providers. The piece is called WEIGH IN: Is rural health care going to get better or worse?


The conversation is a part of an ongoing focus in their Ground Level series focused on the future of Rural Health in Minnesota communities.

tzink 2.JPGThe UMNews has released a feature piece on University of Minnesota professor and physician Therese Zink. The piece is titled A love of country and it highlights Dr. Zink's passion for and contribution to primary care medicine in rural areas.

Dr. Zink is engaged with MN AHEC through her work in the Rural Physicians Associate Program (RPAP) and her advocacy for rural health care in all primary care fields.

In June, 2011, Dr. Zink received the 2011 Rural Health Hero Award at the Minnesota Rural Health Conference.

She has also shared her career experience and that of others by editing The Country Doctor Revisited, a collection of essays, poems, and short stories written by rural health care professionals.

Avera Marshall Health Careers for Kids SCRUBS Camp a Success


Thirty-nine middle school students from southern Minnesota attended the second annual Avera Marshal Health Careers for Kids SCRUBS Camp on August 9, 2011 at Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center in Marshall, MN.

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In addition to other topics, the middle school aged attendees learn about ultrasound technology and careers in radiology and Imaging.


Avera Marshall staff introduced the students to numerous areas of the hospital, including the emergency room. Simulation training equipment was used to offer students a hands-on experience in multiple health professions.

Southern MN AHEC was grateful to help support the arrangement of this camp. The MN AHEC Network is available to help with similar opportunities across Minnesota.


The Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) at the University of Minnesota has announced the funding of a set of grants aimed at supporting and promoting healthy and safe eating in rural and urban communities.

The projects include:

  • Developing on-farm safe food handling practices for immigrant farmers in the Twin Cities who grow and sell fresh produce and traditional crops at local farmers markets.

  • Assessing and creating a plan for a Native American-owned grocery store and deli in Lake Andes, South Dakota, on the Yankton reservation.
  • Creating an integrated Anishaabe curriculum at the intersections of culture, history, economics and health with native food practices, including gardening, farming and forestry.
  • Addressing the obesity epidemic in communities of color by creating a sustainable intervention model that can be used by the North Minneapolis Kwanzaa Church community.
  • A series of activities for fathers to help them be more involved in growing, preparing and shopping for healthy food with their children -- through visiting farmers markets and community gardens, planning menus and using safe food preparation techniques.

The MN AHEC Network is engaged in some of the communities and has existing partnerships with some of the project leaders, including Southside Community Health Services, NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, University of Minnesota Morris, University of Minnesota Extension, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and the University of Minnesota Medical School.

The physicians in the Preparation for Residency Program will be beginning their residency. The program is designed for international medical graduates seeking U.S. clinical experience required to qualify to practice in Minnesota. The MN AHEC Network is providing financial and community-engagement support for these physicians.

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Doctors Liban Farah, Liban Hired, Will Nicholson, and Jibril Elabe; photo by Libby Frost

Three doctors from Somalia, Liban Hired, Jibril Elabe, and Liban Farah, are the first beneficiaries of the U's Preparation for Residency Program. Having completed the seven-month training program , Hired is currently a resident at North Memorial, and Elabe and Farah are residents at Smiley's Clinic. After completing their residency, they are committed to work for one year in an underserved community in Minnesota.


From the Youth Work Institute Update:

STEM on the Web! August 5, 2011

The Youth Work Institute has added a new specialty topic to our website: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) will help you find programming resources and activities that draw young people in through interactive, experiential learning. The process of inquiry begins with gathering information and data, applying the human senses; it's a natural fit for incorporating science into your program's curriculum.

Registrations is currently open for the Inquiry-based Science with Kids-It's a chemical attraction! training on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011 at the Wadena County Fairgrounds in Wadena, MN.

Strong STEM skills are an important part of the education of a health professional.

NE MN AHEC Highlighted in Center on Aging Newsletter

Centeron aging.gifashby.jpgThe University of Minnesota Center on Aging has featured the collaboration between Northeast MN AHEC and the Minnesota Geriatric Education Center (MAGEC) in their Summer 2011 Old News newsletter.

The article, "Times Are a Changing - and AHEC is Preparing: Geriatric Education Initiatives in Northeast Minnesota", references the Palliative Care Initiative (PallCI) and the mnHEALTHnet rural health network.


The Minnesota Department of Health Office of Rural Health & Primary Care will post the Rural Hospital Planning and Transition Grant application on August 5th, 2011. Completed applications are due September 19, 2011.

Hospitals have used transition grants to prepare strategic plans, implement new uses for hospital space and develop community services.

The Office of Rural Health & Primary Care administers grants to help small rural hospitals preserve access or respond to changing conditions.

Contact Doug Benson, 651-201-3842, for more information.


Wendy Foley with Avera Marshall's Organizational Learning Team Members: Kimberlie Abraham, Vicki Abel, and Brittny Olson.

Southern MN AHEC Program Coordinator Wendy Foley visited with the Organizational Learning Team from Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center in Marshall, MN.

The Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center has been active in hosting University of Minnesota Academic Health Center students in clinical experiences and rotations. The Organizational Learning Team works with Southern MN AHEC and partners in the Academic Health Center to establish appropriate experiences for students.

To date, students from the Medical School, the Clinical Laboratory Sciences program, and the College of Pharmacy have been engaged at the facility.

U of M Extension Recognizes 2011 Farm Families of the Year


Seventy-five families from around the state, one from each participating county, have been named a "2011 Farm Family of the Year" by the University of Minnesota.

Families from all six MN AHEC regions have been recognized. The full list of honorees was announced this week.

For more than 20 years, the Farm Family Recognition Program has honored farm families from throughout Minnesota for their contributions to the agriculture industry and their local communities. All of the honored farm families have made significant contributions to Minnesota agriculture and their communities.

The formal 2011 Farm Family Recognition program will take place on Thursday, August 4th beginning at 1:30 p.m. at Farmfest in Redwood Falls, MN.

"Right Side Up in Otter Tail County" Award Highlighted

The Daily Journal in Fergus Falls featured an article on the Right Side Up in Otter Tail County interprofessional team on July 10, 2011. The article features the team's 2011 Rural Health Team Award, presented by the Minnesota Rural Health Association during 2011 Minnesota Rural Health Conference in Duluth, MN.


MN-Pharm-logo.jpgA 2011 graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Nathan Chandler, PharmD, has been featured in a piece by the Academic Health Center titled, A promise kept to Minnesota's rural residents.

Chandler has chosen to practice in Grand Marais, MN, in Cook County. He completed some of his clinical rotations in Grand Rapids, MN with support from MN AHEC.

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From left are Eric Christianson, PharmD; Marie Braaten, NP; Todd Johnson, PharmD; and Laurissa Stigen, Executive Director of Central MN AHEC.

"Right Side up in Otter Tail County" received the 2011Minnesota Rural Health Team Award June 28 in Duluth. The award was presented during the 2011Minnesota Rural Health Conference, an annual event hosted by the Minnesota Rural Health Association and the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care at the Minnesota Department of Health.

"Right Side up in Otter Tail County" is an interprofessional practice and education program designed to reduce fall risk among senior citizens and improve their quality
of life. This program is a collaborative effort of Lake Region Healthcare, Otter Tail County Public Health and Central MN AHEC.

"Right Side Up" grew out of a nursing student's project that looked at the number of falls occurring in Otter Tail County. With financial support from the MN AHEC Network and a USDA Rural Health and Safety grant, It has continued with medical, pharmacy, physical therapy students on clinical rotations at Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls.

In addition to well over 30 students, Right Side Up includes nurse practitioner Marie Braaten, pharmacists Eric Christianson, Mark Dewey and Todd Johnson, physical therapist Eric Leopold, and nurses Lynn Lundquist and Diane Thorson, and Laurissa Stigen, executive director of the Central MN AHEC. The entire Right Side Up team works together to assess the risk of elderly community members falling and makes recommendations to decrease fall risk.

When a family member or health care provider refers an individual with a history of falls or the potential to fall, Right Side Up arranges a home visit. The home visit includes an environmental assessment, an inventory of all prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, a medical history and a balance test. With assistance from a public health or home health nurse, the students conduct the assessments and then present recommendations to reduce the risk of falls to the entire team. Final recommendations are sent to the individuals and their primary care providers for action.

A key component to reducing falls is coordinating care using a team approach. Not only do students gain confidence in their abilities, but through this early experience with an interprofessional approach to patient care, students are better prepared to continue improving quality of life for seniors well into the future.

The PIN-G Happenings newsletter is periodically published by Central Minnesota Area Health Education Center (AHEC) for the funding and program partners of Partners Investing in Nursing's Future--Geriatrics, Central Minnesota. PIN-G is made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
SIN-G small.jpgThe long-term goal of this project is to increase the number of registered nurses that are competent in providing nursing care to elderly persons in a variety of institutional and community-based settings in the Central Minnesota AHEC region.

Funding Partners include The Otto Bremer Foundation, Care Ventures, Central Minnesota AHEC, CentraCare Health Foundation, Dakota Medical Foundation, The Initiative Foundation, Lake Region Healthcare, Minnesota Area Geriatric Education Center (MAGEC), Minnesota AHEC, Otter Tail County Public Health, Tri-County Hospital Foundation, Frank W. Veden Charitable Trust, West Central Initiative, Wilkin County Public Health, and an anonymous private donor.

HealthCareersCenter.jpgThe Health Careers Center at the University of Minnesota is now offering an online workshop for people interested in understanding more about transitioning into the health care field.

Career Changers is designed specifically for adults interested in changing career fields to a health profession. This online workshop covers everything from the decision-making process to detailing the steps to take to obtain the proper training and education.

The workshop is entirely online and completed at the users pace. The cost to access the workshop is $50 and personalized feedback from a Health Careers Center counselor is available for an additional fee.

More information and a tutorial introduction to Career Changers is available on the Health Careers Center Website.

Job Shadowing in Marshall, Minnesota

The Minnesota AHEC Network supports health careers exploration activities for students across Minnesota throughout their educational path. Job shadows at local health care facilities is one option offered for students in high school and college with an interest in a health career.

Watch this Avera Medical Minute: Observing Medicine First-Hand in Marshall to see what a job shadow experience can be like.

Visit our website more information on a wide range of health careers and contact Minnesota AHEC in your area for more information.

The first week of May, Central Minnesota AHEC Regional Specialist Lori Larson attended the National Rural Health Association's Annual Conference in Austin, Texas.


"As one of the new kids on the block (starting in my position the end of September 2010), this was my first NRHA conference," Lori shared. "I found that the conference allowed me to see others with an interest in rural health care in action, and it gave me a tremendous opportunity to network with extremely knowledgeable professionals.

I viewed some of the best practices for workforce development as well as delivery of education and am able to bring this back not only to Central Minnesota's AHEC, but the entire Minnesota AHEC Network. I found tremendous value in attending the conference, and I look forward to it again next year."


Therese Zink, MD, MPH at the National Rural Health Association's Annual Conference.

Larson was also able to connect with Therese Zink, MD, MPH, Associate Director of the Rural Physician Associate Program at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Zink was at the conference as an advocate and educator in rural health and she also was sharing stories from The Country Doctor Revisited, which she edited.

RN to BSN Scholarship Announced by NW MN AHEC

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The Board of Directors of the Northwest MN Area Health Education Center has authorized the award of two scholarships to support RN candidates seeking their BSN degree.

The funds were donated to the AHEC by Dr. Garth Kruger, EvaluationGroup, LLC. Each scholarship recipient will receive $580.00 payable to the student's account at his/her college/university.

Application Deadline: May 1, 2011.

Scholarship recipients will be notified by May 31, 2010.

For application instructions contact Joan Tronson, Executive Director, NW MN AHEC

MN Urban AHEC staff took part in the Twins Cities Economic Summit on Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 at the Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (UROC). The event was a forum for community leaders to discuss strategies to create jobs and build up the economic security for African American and people of color in the Twin Cities.

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Representative Bobby Joe Champion and MN Urban AHEC Director Pam Cosby converse at the economic summit.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, Representative Bobby Joe Champion, Representative Jeff Hayden, Representative Rena Moran and State Senator John Harrington were among the political leaders and community leaders in attendance and presenting at the event.


Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton listens to community leaders.

More coverage of the event can be found in the Star Tribune and MinnPost.

Abstracts are now being accepted for the Collaborating Across Borders III conference, scheduled for November 19-21 in Tucson, Arizona.

The conference theme is "Interprofessional Collaboration: From Concept to Preparation to Practice."

Abstracts will be considered for workshops, discussion groups, research papers, demonstrations, and posters. The deadline for responding to the Call for Abstracts is April 29, 2011. Submissions can be made online.

Barbara F. Brandt, Ph.D., Director of MN AHEC and Associate Vice President for Education, Academic Health Center, University of Minnesota, is a Co-Chair for Collaborating Across Borders III.

American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center (AIOIC) is a Minneapolis-based non-profit organization with a mission to empower American Indians to pursue career opportunities by providing individualized education, training, and employment services in a culturally rich environment.

They have recently released a resource guide to Health Care Careers.

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In the fall of 2010, AIOIC added health occupations to their vocational course offerings.

Minnesota AHEC is a Health Resources and Services Administration Bureau of Health Professions program funded through Title VII of the Public Health Service Act.


The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable.

You can see other HRSA funded programs working to improve access to health care services in Minnesota and other states at the HRSA in Your State website.

"You Can Be a Family Doctor" Posters and Talking Points

The Society of Teachers of Family Medicine and the National AHEC Organization have collaborated on a series of posters and talking points for practitioners to use to talk with young patients about careers in family medicine and primary care.


The "You Can Be a Family Doctor" Posters and Talking Points can be downloaded on the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine website.

Match Day 2011

Yesterday, March 17, 2011, more than 26,000 medical school seniors across the United States discovered where they will spend the next three to seven years for their residency training


On Match Day 2011, more than half of the class of 225 University of Minnesota Medical School students were matched with residency programs in Minnesota.

In addition, more than half of the students are expected to go into primary care residency programs (internal medicine, family practice, or pediatrics). Primary care is the area of focus for MN AHEC as there is a great need for these practitioners in rural and urban areas. This year, all of the family practice residency slots filled across the state.

Match Day is coordinated by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), a private, not-for-profit organization established in 1952 at the request of medical students to provide an orderly and fair mechanism to match the preferences of applicants to U.S. residency positions with the preferences of residency program directors for those applicants.

The Bridges Career Exploration Day at Central Lakes College in Brainerd on March 11 drew more than 2,300 high school students from across central Minnesota to sample more than 150 career options through interaction with professionals in health care, business, public service, and higher education.


University of Minnesota Medical School Rural Physicians Associate Program(RPAP) students Dan Freeman (Detroit Lakes) and Erin Norby (Brainerd) engaged with high school students at the event.

Career clusters highlighted during the event were business, management, and administration; arts, communications and information systems; agriculture, foods, and natural resources; human services; engineering, manufacturing, technology; health services; and liberal arts.

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Event attendees Education Commissioner Dr. Brenda Cassellius, Minnesota State Representative John Ward (District 12A) meet with RPAP students Dan Freeman(Detroit Lakes), Brainerd Erin Norby(Brainerd) and Katelyn Rogers(Aitkin).

Central MN AHEC was part of the planning committee for the health services career cluster. University of Minnesota health professions students and Central MN AHEC staff also participated in guiding the health services careers cluster activities. More than 183 non-profits, businesses, higher education institutions, and other organizations contributed to the success of the event.

The Lakes Country Service Cooperative and Central MN AHEC have have formed a collaboration to promote student awareness of, and interest in, the health career options for K-12 students in their region.

Read all about it on page 4 of the Winter 2011 Edition of the Lakes Country Service Cooperative Communicator.


Minnesota AHEC Quarterly Update

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Download the MN AHEC Overview PDF.

Faces of AHEC Event at the Minnesota State Capitol

On February 3rd, 2011, Minnesota AHEC hosted the second annual Faces of AHEC event at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Faces of AHEC was an opportunity to share information about the role of MN AHEC in community-based primary care workforce planning efforts to address health professions workforce issues across Minnesota with state legislators and stakeholders.


Representative Bud Nornes and Assistant Professor Todd A Johnson, PharmD pose with health professions students from across Minnesota. The students are studying medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy.

Six health professions students from Minnesota kicked off the program by sharing their home cities across the state and their goals for practice. The event was also attended by more than 75 health care, government and community leaders, MN AHEC regional board members, and health sciences faculty from the University of Minnesota. gathered to discuss the role of MN AHEC in community-based primary care workforce planning efforts.

Highlighted speakers included:

Barbara Brandt, PhD, Associate Vice President for Education and Director, Minnesota AHEC. University of Minnesota Academic Health Center

Representative Bud Nornes, District 10A: Fergus Falls

Patrick Lloyd, DDS, MS, Dean, School of Dentistry, University of Minnesota

Linda Watson, MLS, Director, Health Sciences Libraries, University of Minnesota

Kathleen Brooks, MD, MBA, MPA, Director, Rural Physician Associate Program, Medical
School, University of Minnesota

Cindee Quake- Rapp, PhD, OTR/L, Director, Center for Allied Health Programs, University of Minnesota


MN AHEC Director Dr. Barbara Brandt addresses Faces of AHEC Attendees


The 2011 Class of the Saturday Academy

Twenty-eight students representing 10 high schools participated in the Saturday Academy, a 22-week introduction to dentistry for middle and high school students offered by the School of Dentistry, which kicked off on January 22.

More than 100 students in the Minneapolis School District applied to attend this new program. The Saturday Academy is one initiative of the new Building Bridges to a Career in Dentistry Program, which was created to enhance access to dental care for underserved communities by increasing diversity in the dental workforce.

Minnesota Urban AHEC is proud to be a partner of the Saturday Academy and the Building Bridges to a Career in Dentistry Program.

Southern MN AHEC and Affiliated Community Medical Centers(ACMC) arranged a tour of a Jenni-O processing plant as an occupational health outreach activity for medical students in the region.


Health professionals Angie Jones, Bobbie Rost, RN,COHN, and Mary Strauss, MPN, WAP pose with students Heidi Lehrke, Molly Orcutt, Tasia Halady, Sarah Eisenschenk, Cassandra Bulau, and Colt Edin at Jennie-O.

Students from the Rural Physician Associate Program(RPAP) at the University of Minnesota and Osteopathic Medicine students participated in the tour.

Help Create Great Ideas to Strengthen the Primary Care Workforce in Minnesota

Participate in regional planning for strengthening Minnesota's primary care workforce by attending one of eight two-hour "Great Ideas for Minnesota's Primary Care" regional strategic input planning meetings in February. Complete registration information is available here. The meetings are sponsored by HealthForce Minnesota, the MN Department of Health Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, and the MN AHEC regional centers.

Who Should Participate

We need input and strategic thinking from professionals involved in a broad spectrum of primary care areas -- service delivery, education, and employment -- as defined in the most holistic, inclusive sense possible because this is what will truly shape effective change for the citizens of Minnesota. This means professionals involved in: high school career counseling, post-secondary education and training for healthcare, hospitals, clinics, community organizations, county social services, dental care, pharmacy, allied health, mental and behavioral health, aging services, and long term care.

View the schedule and register here.


The revised deadline to apply to the Minnesota Urban Physician Loan Forgiveness Program is January 31, 2011. Complete information is online or contact Amy Vallery at 651-201-3870 or

The Urban Physician Loan Forgiveness Program provides funds for repayment of qualified educational loans for primary care physicians. Participants must plan to practice for at least 30 hours per week, for at least 45 weeks per year, for a minimum of three years in an underserved urban community.

An underserved urban community in Minneapolis or St. Paul is in designated primary medical care health professional shortage areas (HPSAs), medically underserved areas (MUAs), or with medically underserved populations (MUPs). Use the HRSA website to be sure a clinic is in one of these designations.

MN Urban AHEC Presents at Hawthorne Huddle

MN Urban AHEC Director Pam Cosby was a featured presenter at the Hawthorne Huddle today. She presented on the development of the MN Urban AHEC and on plans for promoting health careers in the community.


Hawthorne Huddle meetings are held on the 1st Thursday of the month, 7:30-8:45 a.m. in the Multipurpose Room at Farview Park, 621 29th Ave. N. The meetings are hosted by the the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council.

Kids will get into health care with Scopes and Scrubs
Fergus Falls Daily Journal
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
By Ryan Howard

"Opening new horizons to Fergus Falls youth is what the new Scrubs and Scopes career club is all about. Starting in January, 15 local seventh and eighth graders interested in health care careers will be able to get a hands-on look at all sorts of jobs through the program, which is sponsored and developed by Lake Region Healthcare and the Central Minnesota Area Health Education Center (AHEC)."

Check out the full article.

Seventh and eighth grade students in the Fergus Falls area who are interested in Scopes and Scrubs should apply soon by calling Cheryl Buck at 736-8471 or clicking on Education and Events at Lake Region's website.


The future of Minnesota's health profession workforce depends on the ability to recruit the best and the brightest students into health careers.

MN AHEC supports a Health Degree Programs website that is full of information on how high school students can be prepared to apply for post secondary education to pursue a health profession degree.

020107healthcareers.JPGA high school student from Southwest Minnesota discusses health careers with Wendy Foley from Southern MN AHEC.

Resources on the site include:

* Exploring different health professions
* Creating a College Plan
* Researching Health Degree Programs at the University of Minnesota
* Frequently asked questions for students considering a health profession

All of the MN AHEC regional offices can also help with activities and information for further exploration into health careers.

Go. explore. learn. But come back.

Vukonich.JPGMark Vukonich, fourth year medical student at the University of Minnesota, participated in two internship experiences, Summer Internship of Medicine and Rural Physician Associate Program, bringing him both times to Fergus Falls.

Often you hear about youth wanting to leave the communities in which they grow up. Central Minnesota Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is encouraging health profession students to return to the area after completing their education.

A recent success story is Mark Vukonich, fourth year medical student at the University of Minnesota, who, through his connection with Central Minnesota AHEC and exposure to multiple settings, has strengthened his desire to return to central Minnesota and practice medicine in Fergus Falls.

Experience and understanding are key elements in choosing educational and career paths. During Vukonich's first year as a medical student at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Duluth, the school suggested he connect with Laurissa Stigen, Executive Director of Central Minnesota AHEC, to see what opportunities might be available for a Summer Internship of Medicine (SIM) experience.

"I am originally from the Underwood area," said Vukonich, "I have family and friends here so I thought I would see if there was something available in Fergus Falls."

The SIM program is an elective, two to eight week, rural immersion experience occurring during the summer vacation period between the first two years of medical school. It encourages student involvement in community, health systems, clinical medicine, and interprofessional experiences.

After connecting with Stigen, together they worked out a plan for what the SIM rotation would look like at Lake Region Healthcare and with a variety of community-based experiences in Fergus Falls.

"My 4-week rural experience was very good," said Vukonich. "I worked primarily in the clinic's Family Medicine Department with Dr. Vennerstom as well as with Dr. Van Valkenburg. And, I would go back and forth to the hospital's emergency department and other areas, spending time with varied specialists."

The SIM rotation allowed Vukonich to go beyond the classroom and lecture settings and to see first-hand how delivering medicine is done in the real world and in a rural community.

"First of all, the biggest thing for me is you are able to experience how the flow of medicine works on the ground level. Having this experience was kind of an introduction into a lot of the disease processes," he said.

Even though he does have a vested interest in the area, Vukonich never really thought about practicing in Fergus Falls until after he did his SIM rotation there. "I started to think this might be a good place to come back. It planted a seed a little bit."

Delivering medicine in rural Minnesota is a different experience than in an urban setting.

After the SIM experience, Vukonich returned to the University of Minnesota and completed his second year of medical school. While most medical students at school spend their third year on the Twin Cities campus, a select number who apply, and are chosen, participate in the Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP). The program allows the student to spend nine months in a community-based educational experience. Vukonich says the medical school encourages students to participate in the RPAP because they want to train students to go into rural practice where need is great and they see value in building connections by first-hand exposure.

"They really talk to us a lot about it," said Vukonich. "So when the time came to apply for the RPAP program and I realized this is what I want to do--community, rural-type medicine--I applied."

Vukonich chose Lake Region Healthcare as his preferred site and after talking with faculty about his desire to practice in a rural setting like Fergus Falls, he was awarded the chance.

Vukonich's previous connection to Central MN AHEC, and his SIM experience, was key in helping him become more involved during his RPAP rotation with a project to help prevent falls in the elderly in Otter Tail County.

"I worked on a falls prevention project called the Inter-Professional Falls Prevention Education Program which has been going at Lake Region Healthcare since 2004."

The project is an interdisciplinary program involving medical professionals from pharmacy, nursing, public health, home health and physical therapy as well as health professions students from a number of health care disciplines. The project was launched with the support of MN AHEC. It provided Vukonich another positive practice experience in Fergus Falls and the ability to connect to the community on another level.

"It was good to work with the different areas of health care and to get out into the community and visit people in their homes," said Vukonich.

Vukonich also said the RPAP experience allowed him to see the similarities and differences between urban and rural health care. "The medicine part is the same in large and small hospitals," he said. "As far as structurally, it is totally different, especially for the student. In larger hospitals you have the attending physician, consultants, senior resident, intern and then the medical students." He said medical students are more of an add-along in a larger, urban hospital.

"When I came to Fergus Falls it was a lot different than the experiences both in Duluth and in the Twin Cities because you are basically there right along with the physician and they treat you as an equal. It's great to test your strengths and weaknesses and find out your way of doing it rather than being the last one to see the patient after things have already been done."

There are other differences, too.

"A big plus for me in a smaller, rural hospital is you have the opportunity to do everything and practice the full spectrum of your medical field." He says continuity is a big thing in a rural community like Fergus Falls. "You get to follow the patient and have that continuity."

Vukonich said he thought if he had gone to other rural hospitals such as Melrose, Buffalo, or Crookston, he most likely would have received a similar experience like he did in Fergus Falls. However, the time at Lake Region Healthcare solidified his desire to be here. "I love the people I work with and it's a nice facility," he said.

"If there is a young person interested in health care, I would have to say that during my years of medical school and undergraduate experiences so far, I'm so glad I chose to get into health care. It's very rewarding. It's also a flexible profession, accommodating all personality types and interests. If I had to make a choice again, I would choose health care."

Contact: Lori Larson, Regional Specialist, Central Minnesota AHEC 218-736-1690

Central Minnesota Area Health Education Center is one of six regional offices in the Minnesota AHEC Network that promotes rural health educational opportunities and addresses health workforce challenges. In collaboration with the University of Minnesota, the Central Minnesota office serves a 15-county region connecting students to careers, professionals to communities, and communities to better health. For more information visit or call 218-736-1601.

Rural Physician Associate Program Featured


The Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP) is featured in the piece Big medicine for Minnesota's small towns on the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center home page.

The article, by Emily Jensen from Academic Health Center Public Relations, contains feedback from RPAP students, alumni, and faculty.

MN AHEC is proud to play a role in the experiences of RPAP students learning in our regions.

On November 12th, 8 University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP) students gathered at St Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd, MN for an interprofessional engagement and learning event.

RPAPPharD2010.jpgLaurissa Stigen, Director of Central MN AHEC, with University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy Students and RPAP students at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd, MN.

Presenters at the day-long event focused on medication therapy management, patient centered care, diabetes education, and cardiovascular care.The presenters were all health care professionals practicing in rural areas.

The students who attended were all participating in community-based clinical training in Central and Northeast Minnesota.

The event was hosted by Central Minnesota Area Health Education Center, Northeast Minnesota Area Health Education Center, Minnesota Area Geriatric Education Center and St Joseph's Medical Center.

The Health Career Enrichment Program (HCEP) promotes hands-on learning for grades 1-6.

Teachers receive a kit containing games, books, videos, activities, and scrubs, all of which expose students to healthy habits and health careers. Kits may be rented or purchased.

For more information, contact: Brittany Chopp, Northeast MN AHEC at 218-312-3010 or

The Center on Aging in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota has featured the partnership between MN Area Geriatric Education Center(MAGEC) and MN AHEC in their Fall 2010 issue of Old News.


Central MN AHEC and Northeast MN AHEC began working with MAGEC in July 2010. MAGEC and MN AHEC are both funded by Health Resources and Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The collaboration will be dedicated to providing quality geriatric education across Minnesota. It is an opportunity for the two programs to combine University of Minnesota resources, program knowledge, and partners in health care around the state.

Read more from Old News here.

Central Minnesota AHEC partners with West Central Initiative, the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, 10 regional schools of nursing, and other local partners to form the Partners Investing in Nursing's Future (PIN) initiative.

Minnesota Public Radio's Dan Gunderson recently highlighted the project in a story titled "As Minnesota population ages, nursing schools focus on geriatric care."

The PIN program will addresses the professional nursing workforce needs for the growing elderly population in Central Minnesota. The program is supported by $348,480 in grant funds from both the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and PIN partners.

PIN specifically targets faculty development, geriatrics, and long-term care. The collaboration of health care providers and education organizations in the region will strengthen the professional nursing workforce by increasing the number of faculty with expertise in teaching geriatric nursing. Consequently, nursing students will be competent in providing care to the growing elderly population and prepared to assume positions in community and institutional settings that provide care and services to the elderly.

December 1, 2010 is the deadline for MN Health Professional Loan Forgiveness Programs through the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care at the Minnesota Department of Health.


According to the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, the purpose of Minnesota's Loan Forgiveness Program is the recruitment and retention of health care professionals to needed areas and facilities within Minnesota.

Applications are available online. Note that most programs require applicants to apply while still enrolled in a program of study or residency.


Loan forgiveness is an important benefit for health care professionals as well as health care facilities and communities experiencing a shortage of access to primary health care services.

Contact Amy Vallery for information on these programs at or 651-201-3870.

The Bemidji Area Indian Health Service invited Minnesota AHEC to participate in their Fall 2010 Indian Health Services, Tribal, Urban (I.T.U.) Health Directors Meeting on Wednesday, October 27th.

The meeting was held in Bloomington, MN and was attended by health care administrators from health care facilities that serve tribes in the Bemidji Area Indian Health Service(IHS) region, which covers Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.

In the Bemidji IHS region, there are 24 health centers and 33 health stations operated by tribes. In addition, there are five urban Indian health programs operating under the authority of Title V of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

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Other guests included Shriners Hospitals for Children -- Twin Cities and the National Health Service Corps. Both programs share in the mission to improve health care access and support the health care workforce.

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Mary E. Kautto, RN, Outreach Director for Shriners Hospitals for Children -- Twin Cities

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Melissa Hansen, Program Coordinator for Minnesota AHEC

National Health Service Corps Visits Campus

MN AHEC was pleased to have regional Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)representative Rick Selvik come from Chicago to visit the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. Slevik was on campus to promote the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) to health professions students and faculty. 0142.jpg
Melissa Hansen, MN AHEC Program Coordinator, and Rick Selvik, HRSA
The NHSC is a network of 7,000 primary health care professionals and 10,000 health care facilities working in underserved communities across the country, including 200 sites in Minnesota. To support their service, the NHSC provides clinicians with financial support in the form of loan repayment and scholarships. During his visit, Selvik did a presentation to medical students with Minnesota AHEC staff and he met with Central MN AHEC board member Judy Beniak of the Health Careers Center. He also met with students in the School of Dentistry and participated in the Government Job and Internship Fair at Coffman Union.

Brittany Chopp, K-16 Education Director for Northeast MN AHEC, will be attending the Blandin Community Leadership Program.


Brittany Chopp, B.A.S., C.H.E.S.

The training is a program of the Blandin Foundation, based in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. According to their website, "Community leadership training programs offered by the Blandin Foundation help rural leaders develop and enhance the skills, knowledge and relationships they need to build and sustain healthy communities - ones that thrive in times of challenge and opportunity."

Health Careers Fair at UMN Twin Cities

MN AHEC was glad to be one of several programs representing health careers opportunities at the 2010 Health Careers Fair presented by the Health Careers Center, a program in the Academic Health Center.


Health Careers Center staff Scott Simpson and Jennifer Rosand

Undergraduate and high school students from around the Twin Cities metro area attended the event and received information on dozens of health career paths and fields.


MN AHEC Program Coordinator Melissa Hansen

Interested in attending next year? Save the date for the 2011 Health Careers Fair on Wednesday, September 28, 2011. Contact the Health Careers Center for more information.

Minnesota's Future Doctors

Minnesota's Future Doctors program allows undergraduate students from underserved communities across Minnesota the opportunity to jump-start their journeys to medical school. Meet Thuy and Charles, participants who have just kicked-off their first year in Medical School.

Minnesota's Future Doctors are interested in science and they are interested in helping people. The program seeks applicants who have successfully completed their first year at a college or university and who are interested in becoming a doctor and serving Minnesota's diverse urban and rural communities.

This is an intense program, taking place over three summers, that requires commitment from those who enroll. Individuals apply in January or February of their first or freshman year of college.

Position Posting: MN Urban AHEC Administrative Coordinator

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The Minnesota Urban Area Health Education Center (AHEC) was established in fall 2009 to strengthen the connections between the health professions programs at the University of Minnesota and underserved urban communities in the Twin Cities.

The Minnesota Urban AHEC is currently seeking an Administrative Coordinator.

The full-time Administrative Coordinator within the Minnesota Urban Area Health AHEC will be primarily responsible for providing administrative support to the center executive director.

For details and application instructions, please visit the University of Minnesota Physicians Career website.

MN Urban AHEC Supports Urban SCRUBS Camp

The Urban SCRUBS Camp was a five-day residential experience, Aug. 1-5, 2010, for youth grades nine -12 interested in health related careers.

Students participated in hands-on workshops, toured labs and medical facilities, and networked with college students, faculty, and health professionals while learning about the wide array of health-related professions in the fields of medicine, dental, nursing, public health, emergency medicine, physical fitness, cardiovascular, laboratory, bioinformatics, sleep technology, and more.


The Minnesota Urban AHEC facilitated scholarships for 22 students from the Northside of Minneapolis and its suburbs, to attend Urban SCRUBS Camp. Scholarships were provided by UCare, NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center and the Minnesota Urban AHEC.

Urban SCRUBS Camp was presented by HealthForce Minnesota, Augsburg College, Cedar Riverside Partnership, Fairview Health Systems, Minnesota Urban AHEC, the University of Minnesota and its Health Careers Center.

Central MN AHEC Social Hub


Central MN AHEC has launched a versatile social hub at

The site links students, health care professionals, and other stakeholders to the latest events, news and information pertaining to Central MN AHEC and their mission.

Visit the site to follow the Central MN AHEC blog, follow them on Twitter, or join them on Facebook.

Also watch for more to come from other regions in the Minnesota AHEC Network.

MN AHEC Partcipates in Day 1 at University of Minnesota

MN AHEC staff were able to take part in the Day 1 events that launched the new 1Health initiative for new health professions students. The event took place September 17th at the Northrup Auditorium at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Central MN AHEC Executive Director Laurissa Stigen, medical student and recent RPAP student Mark Vukonich, and Central MN AHEC Regional Specialist Lori Larson at the Day 1 event.

Day 1 launches the first phase of the 1Health interprofessional education initiative at the Academic Health Center.


National Health Service Corps Releases New Website


The National Health Service Corps has released a new website to be used to for accessing information on news, events and opportunities.

A partner of MN AHEC, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), through scholarship and loan repayment programs, helps Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) in the U.S. get the medical, dental, and mental health providers they need to meet their tremendous need for health care.

Southern MN AHEC Featured in The Land: Southern Minnesota Edition

Steve Moburg, Interim Director of Southern MN AHEC, was interviewed in an article on rural health care workforce need in the September 3, 2010 issue of The Land: Southern Minnesota Edition

Moburg The Land Sept 2010.jpg

The article, "Should you (and your kids) consider a medical career?" highlights the need for health care professionals in southern Minnesota. The role of Southern MN AHEC in educating the community about health careers is covered, as well as steps to take to work towards a career in health care.

Northwest MN AHEC partnered with the Pine to Prairie Consortium and RiverView Health, to implement a health careers curriculum designed to expose 8th-10th grade students to numerous careers related to health care.

On August 24th, the first Train the Trainer class was held to introduce five health instructors to the curriculum, including a new simulation mannequin.


The simulation mannequin allows for hands-on introduction to some of the tools and materials used by various health professionals, as well as the kinds of tasks they perform. The curriculum also provides career information sheets, activities, and directions to accompany the use of some of the pieces of equipment.

The curriculum and the equipment will travel around to schools in northwest Minnesota. The instructors are encouraged to invite health care professionals into the classroom to assist with the presentations. Plans are in place to train 3 more trainers in December.

The equipment and the curriculum design were made possible by the Health Careers Promotions Grant from the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Education. Contributions were also made by several hospitals and post-secondary education institutions across the region.

Tri-State AHEC Meeting

August 26, 2010
Tri-State AHEC Conference
Moorhead, MN

MN AHEC representatives from Southern MN AHEC, Central MN AHEC, Northwest MN AHEC, and the MN AHEC Program Office met with representatives from South Dakota AHEC and North Dakota AHEC to discuss common goals and efforts in the areas health professions training and placement.

1Health: Connecting with Partners

MN AHEC was proud to present and participate in the 1 Health: Connecting with Partners conference August 19th and 20th, 2010 in Chanhassen, MN.

More than 100 health care, government and community leaders and health sciences faculty gathered for two days to discuss the attributes of health professionals in the area of interprofessional collaboration.


Panelists included:
John Gilbert, PhD, FCAHS, Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative
George Isham, MD, MS, HealthPartners
Sanne Magnan, MD, PhD, Minnesota Department of Health
David Moen, MD, Fairview Health Services
Gary Oftedahl, MD, Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement
Jeffrey Schiff, MD, MBA, Minnesota Department of Human Services


In June, ten representatives from all five established MN AHEC regions and the Program Office were able to attend the 2010 National AHEC Organization Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Brendan Ashby, Executive Director of NE MN AHEC, and Dr. Ray Christensen, Assistant Dean, Medical School, Duluth Campus, present to attendees of the National AHEC Organization conference about their HRSA Rural Network Development Planning Grant.

Central MN AHEC Executive Director Laurissa Stigen was featured in the Winter 2010 issue of Rural Roads Online, a publication of the National Rural Health Association(NRHA)


Stigen was a 2009 NHRA Rural Health Fellow. The article can be seen here.

The Staples Interprofessional Practice and Education (IPE) team will present at MN Rural Palliative Care Outcomes Congress on Thursday, April 8, 2010, in St. Cloud, MN.

MN AHEC supports 14 IPE teams, including the Staples team, and University of Minnesota Health Professions students participate in the community based projects.

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Pam Cosby has been named executive director of the newly established Minnesota Urban Area Health Education Center.

The Minnesota Urban AHEC is the state's first and only urban AHEC and joins four existing rural AHECs. The center will work in collaboration with the AHC's six health professions schools and in close partnership with Minneapolis urban communities to address health professional workforce needs. Efforts will focus on nurturing an interest in health careers among youth and providing community-based and interprofessional education for health professions students. Pam Cosby will serve as the founding executive director.

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Cosby is a long-time resident of North Minneapolis and has a broad range of leadership experience in the area of community health and youth development. Most recently, Cosby served as program coordinator for the National Community Center of Excellence in Women's Health at NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center of Hennepin County. She has also served Hennepin County as a community liaison staff member for the North Minneapolis Health Advisory Committee and for the Racial Disparity Initiative for the Council on Crime and Justice.

The Minnesota Urban AHEC is located at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (UROC) on the Northside of Minneapolis. The Minnesota Urban AHEC will partner with a number of community and University organizations in its collaborative work with North Minneapolis, Phillips, and other urban neighborhoods. Key partners include NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, the Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (UROC), Broadway Family Medicine Clinic, and the University of Minnesota Program in Health Disparities Research.

Pam Cosby, MPA
Executive Director
Minnesota Urban AHEC
University of Minnesota
2001 Plymouth Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55411
612/624-4541 (office)

Marketing Classes at U of M, Crookston Gain Real-world Experience through Projects Addressing the Marketing Needs of Regional Businesses

UMCmarketing class fall 09.jpg

"The marketing research class, a senior level course, worked with the Northwest Minnesota Area Health Education Center (NW MN AHEC) on some research that addressed high school students' perceptions of career choices in general along with healthcare related careers. Sandy Henneberg along with Executive Director Joan Tronson, represented AHEC and met with the students about the research project. The class conducted focus groups in high schools, in-depth interviews with guidance counselors, and developed surveys that were sent to every high school covered by the Northwest Minnesota AHEC."

In the photo above: Members of the marketing research class presented their research findings on the perceptions of high school students about healthcare careers to a representative from the Northwest Minnesota Area Health Education Center on Friday, December 11, 2009. Class members include: Seated (l to r):Cynthia Weber a senior from Crookston, Minn.; Marketing Instructor Rachel Lundbohm; Northwest Minnesota Area Health Education Center Executive Director Joan Tronson; Thomas Melhorn, a senior from White Bear Lake, Minn.

"RPAP Key to Recruiting Small-Town Docs"

MN AHEC is proud to work with third-year medical students from the University of Minnesota who participate in the Rural Physicians Associate Program (RPAP). There are RPAP students in all four of our established rural AHEC regions.

The program is in its 38th year and has over 1,200 alumni, 57% of which chose to practice in rural areas. RPAP is a unique opportunity in clinical training wherein third-year medical students live and train for nine months in non-metropolitan communities under the supervision of preceptors who are family physicians. These preceptors mentor students in the professional and personal aspects of being a physician.

RPAP students learn clinical medicine, procedures, community health, and the business of medicine.


The program has been highlighted in the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center News Capsules. You can also check out the program's newsletter, The Rural Physician, and more information can be found on the program's website.

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Photo Credit: Steve Kohls, Brainerd Dispatch

University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks visited a Garfield Elementary 3rd Grade Class in Brainerd, MN on 2/20/2009 to see the work of Brainerd Interprofessional Education Project(IPE). In this photo, President Bruininks is trying out one of the stability balls purchased by the Brainerd IPE team for the class and the school secretary as a part of their Childhood Obesity Prevention project.

The Brainerd IPE Project is one of 14 community based interprofessional education projects supported by funding from the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center Office of Education and Minnesota AHEC.

The Brainerd Dispatch was on site to document the visit. Text from the article can be found here.

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Southern MN AHEC Health Careers Presentation Opportunities

Southern MN AHEC has several opportunities for presentations on health careers for multiple age levels.

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Download this informational flyer. and please contact Program Coordinator Wendy Foley if you have any questions or interest.


New health education grant is 'mixed blessing' for regional center
By Anne Polta
West Central Tribune - 12/22/2008

"WILLMAR- Minnesota's network of Area Health Education Centers has received a $3.4 million federal grant to continue its work of developing and training health care professionals in the state's rural areas.

The funding, which was awarded to the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center, was announced last week. The money comes through the Bureau of Health Professions in the Health Resources and Services Administration, which provides federal dollars matched with university and local resources to support the development of the rural health care work force."

The full article can be found on the West Central Tribune website or as a PDF.

MN AHEC Receives $3.4 Million Grant Award

The Academic Health Center was mentioned on the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal Web site about the Minnesota Area Health Education Center (MN-AHEC)'s recent $3.4 million grant renewal, which will allow AHEC to serve additional Minnesota counties.


$340,000 grant may lead to falls prevention program used as a model.

FallsImage.jpgArea health care professionals and students are helping to reduce the risk of falls for Wilbur Brewer resident of Pioneer Home in Fergus Falls. Pictured from left: Todd Johnson, Lake Region Healthcare Director of Clinical Pharmacy; Eric Christianson, UMD Pharmacy Student; Brewer; Jason Eggers, U of M Medical Student; and Marie Braaten, Fergus Falls Medical Group Geriatric Nurse Practitioner.

Among the elderly, a fall often causes a major medical crisis that affects both the patient's health and quality of life. In fact, falls are the main cause of accidents in people over the age of 65, as well as the No. 1 cause of serious injury and death.

In many cases, these falls can be prevented, sparing the elderly and their families from both trauma and expense. This is the focus of a $340,000 grant that will fund a year-long effort by, and five healthcare partners to develop and implement an intervention program to help prevent falls and to assist health care professionals in reducing the risks of falls by the elderly throughout Otter Tail County. Central MN AHEC is one of the regional partners.

The goal ultimately is to create a falls prevention program that could be used as a model in other counties throughout Minnesota.

"We often think the leading cause of death is heart disease, but morbidity is more related to falls. Of the elderly who fall and sustain a hip fracture, half are never able to live independently again," said Diane Thorson, director of the Otter Tail County Public Health Department. "We try to avoid them having falls in the first place."

An existing falls prevention program opened the door to the $340,000 Rural Health and Safety Education Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to Dr. Todd Johnson, director of clinical pharmacy at Lake Region Healthcare. That program, called the Inter-professional Falls Prevention & Education Program, has been in existence for almost two years and was funded by a grant from MN AHEC in the Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota, where Johnson is also an assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy.

He oversees this program, which links medical professionals (often Otter Tail County public health nurses) and health care students in pharmacy, medicine, nursing, physical therapy and other disciplines to create assessment teams. These teams visit elderly patients to assess the risk of falls in their homes and make suggestions to lower the risks. Referrals to the teams typically come from physicians, family members or public health or home care staff.

The team's recommendations for each patient are presented to a Falls Committee and also shared with each patient, along with his or her family members and primary health care provider.

Visit the MN AHEC website for more information on similar community-based interprofessional education and practice projects supported by MN AHEC regions.

The MN AHEC Brainerd Interprofessional Education Site was featured on a Lakeland News broadcast on August 21, 2008.


The project focuses on an interprofessional health care team approach to preventing childhood obesity.

The Brainerd IPE site is one of fourteen associated with MN AHEC across the state of Minnesota.

Central MN AHEC is involved with the project, Executive Director Laurissa Stigen is available to address any questions that you have about this project.

Southern Minnesota AHEC Welcomes Two New Board Members

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At their June meeting, the Board of Directors of Southern Minnesota AHEC elected Steven L. Perkins of Luverne and Rock County as a new board member. Mr. Perkins is semi-retired from a career in executive management in both private industry and the public sector. He currently operates Perkins Consulting, which provides management, financial and strategic planning, executive search and economic development consulting services to businesses and government. He describes himself as, "A goal driven, tenacious volunteer for health care and charity that believes leaders must set the example for organizational and societal collaborative action." Beneficiaries of his passion for volunteering include the Sanford Health Luverne Hospital Board of Directors, the Minnesota Hospital Association, the American Hospital Association, Luverne Area Community Foundation, Southwest Minnesota EMS Corporation, Missouri River Energy Systems, New Life Treatment Center, Inc., Minnesota Mayor's Association, and many others.

Gina Danyluk, B.S., M.B.A., Assistant to the CFO of the Academic Health Center, has been appointed by Frank Cerra, Senior Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota to fill the unexpired term of Stewart McMullan, who has moved to a new position at the University. Ms. Danyluk has been employed at the University of Minnesota for ten years. She was Director of Accounting Services in the Controller's office for five years; spent three years on the University's enterprise financial system implementation project and the last two years at the Academic Health Center. Ms. Danyluk has a Master of Business Administration with a major in accounting from Georgia State University.

Southern Minnesota AHEC is pleased to welcome these to new members to the Board of Directors.

NE MN AHEC: New Informational Brochure Available


Northeast MN AHEC has released a a new informational brochure highlighting their services, objectives and contact information.

The brochure is available for download here.

If you would like copies of the brochure to distribute or if you would like to connect with Northeast MN AHEC, please contact Executive Director Brendan Ashby at 218-362-6153.

Westward Expansion: A New Rural Dental Clinic Offers Students Learning Opportunities And Offers Patients Much-Needed Care

An article found in the Spring 2008 Edition of: M: A quarterly publication for all University of Minnesota alumni, friends, faculty, and staff

For more information on the Rice Regional Dental Clinic and Southern MN AHEC, please contact Kathy Huntley, Executive Director of Southern MN AHEC.

The School of Dentistry's well-established outreach program is now stretching even further--to west central Minnesota. Responding to the challenges rural communities face when recruiting health care professionals and the increasing number of outstate residents in need of affordable dental care, the School of Dentistry is sending students to treat patients at a new 10-chair clinic in Willmar, Minnesota.

After more than two years of planning and raising $2.1 million in public and private support, including $450,000 from Delta Dental of Minnesota to support service-learning opportunities, the Rice Regional Dental Clinic started taking patients in December. This community-based clinic is a collaboration between the School of Dentistry and Rice Memorial Hospital, and serves a 12-county area. Located in and owned by the hospital, the clinic gives the U's dental and hygiene students a chance to enhance their clinical skills while treating patients with diverse oral health needs.

Filling the need: Dental students help fill need for dentist in rural Minnesota

An article in the April 3, 2008 issue of University of Minnesota eNews

For more information on the Rice Regional Dental Clinic and Southern MN AHEC, please contact Kathy Huntley, Executive Director of Southern MN AHEC.

On its first day of operation, patients filled the 10 chairs of the Rice Regional Dental Clinic in Willmar, Minn. The clinic, a collaboration between the School of Dentistry and Rice Memorial Hospital, is the newest community-based learning site for the school. While the clinic is open to all patients, its mission is to serve low-income and uninsured patients who often are unable to access or afford dental care. The federal government has designated the 12-county area surrounding Willmar as one that is underserved by dentists as well as other health care professionals.

Career fair for women held at UMC

Career fair for women held at UMC
Coverage from a March 3, 2008 issue of the Crookston Daily Times

Look here for more information on this event or please contact Joan Porraz, Executive Director of Northwest MN AHEC.

"Punching the Clock: AHEC sets youngsters on track toward health careers"

From the February 17th, 2008 Hibbing Daily Tribune

For information on this event and others in Northeast MN AHEC, please contact Brendan Ashby, Executive Director of Northeast MN AHEC.

Senator Klobuchar visits to Crookston

U.S. Senator Klobuchar to Discuss Rural Health Care Issues on Jan. 15 at U of M, Crookston

Posted January 11, 2008 in the UMN Crookston News

For more information on this event and others in Northwest MN AHEC, please contact Joan Porraz, Executive Director of Northwest MN AHEC.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar will kick off her northwestern Minnesota 2008 Main Street Tour at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, on Tuesday, January 15. Klobuchar will hold a discussion on rural health care from 7:40 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in Bede Ballroom A in the Student Center on campus. The Minnesota Rural Health Association will host the event. Other participants include the Northwest Area Health Education Center, RiverView Health and the University of Minnesota, Crookston.

A dynamic opportunity: Providers see immense need for rural dental training site

From the December 21, 2006 edition of the West Central Tribune.

For more information on the Rice Regional Dental Clinic and Southern MN AHEC, please contact Kathy Huntley, Executive Director of Southern MN AHEC.

WILLMAR - Over the years, Dr. George Gordon has seen a steady stream of emergency patients with acute dental problems. These patients usually don't have a dentist or can't afford dental care. By the time they show up in Rice Memorial Hospital's emergency department, they're hurting. It frustrates Gordon that he can't do much for them, other than try to line up an appointment with a dentist in the Twin Cities- often the closest place where dentists are still available to see people who are low income and uninsured.

Rice Hospital votes to pursue dental training site project

Rice Hospital votes to pursue dental training site project

From the December 14, 2006 issue of the West Central Tribune.

For more information on the Rice Regional Dental Clinic and Southern MN AHEC, please contact Kathy Huntley, Executive Director of Southern MN AHEC.

WILLMAR- Rice Memorial Hospital formally decided Wednesday to go ahead with a project to develop a regional dental training site and clinic in partnership with the University of Minnesota. The vote Wednesday by the city-owned hospital's board of directors came after months of discussion. Board members split 5-1 on the decision. Steve Cederstrom cast the single dissenting vote after expressing concern about whether the program will remain financially sustainable. Douglas Allen, Richard Engan, Verna Kelly, Wayne Larson and John Lindstrom voted in favor. Allen said the project is "the right thing to do." "I think the need is clear. I think there will be spin-off benefits to the hospital," he said. "I think it fits right with the mission." The vote authorizes negotiations to begin on an affiliation agreement with the University of Minnesota.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the MN AHEC category.

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