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Oklahoma State University

OSU Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program

AHEC LogoThe Health Resources and Services Administration recently awarded the OSU Center for Health Sciences a five-year grant to establish a new Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program. Oklahoma lost its sole AHEC program over five years ago. The OSU Center for Health Sciences will host the new program office in Oklahoma City with regional offices in Enid, Lawton, and Tahlequah. The host institutions for the regional offices are Rural Health Projects, Inc. in Enid, Comanche County Memorial Hospital in Lawton and Northeastern Health System in Tahlequah.

The program will include inter-professional training in community-based settings to diverse cohorts of students enrolled in various health professions training programs. The anticipated impacts of the project are to increase the diversity and cultural competency of the primary care workforce, improve workforce distribution in rural and underserved areas of Oklahoma, and develop a high-functioning workforce that can thrive in and adapt to new modes of care delivery.

Questions? Contact Us

Nicole Neilson, M.S., RD/LD
Program Director

What is the AHEC Scholars Program?

AHEC Scholars is a nationally recognized certificate program that can set you apart.

AHEC Scholars LogoThe AHEC mission is to enhance access to quality health care, particularly primary and preventive care, by improving the supply and distribution of health care professionals via strategic partnerships with academic programs, communities, and professional organizations.

AHEC Scholars is a program for health professions students interested in supplementing their education by gaining additional knowledge and experience in rural or underserved urban settings. This program emphasizes an interdisciplinary curricula that incorporates clinical, didactic and community-based training. All experiential or clinical training will be conducted in rural or underserved urban settings.

  • June 15th Application Deadline: January 16th - June 15th Summer Application Period
  • September 15th Application Deadline: June 16th - September 15th Fall Application Period
  • January 15th Spring Application Deadline: September 16th - January 15th Spring Application Period

Apply Now

Scholar Benefits

  • Practical experience delivering care from an interdisciplinary team-based approach that addresses health disparities in your communities
  • Participate in enhanced training experiences related to health care delivery impacting underserved communities
  • Potential for current clinical coursework to qualify as AHEC Scholars credit
  • AHEC Scholars curriculum can be completed at no cost and complements your existing coursework
  • Train on topics of leadership, communication and critical thinking
  • Improved employability skills
    • Resume review
    • Resume building opportunities
    • Job interview preparation
    • Introduction to area health organizations
  • Receive an official AHEC Scholars certificate and letter of completion

Who is eligible to participate?

The program is open to students in disciplines that support primary health care services delivery in both clinical and non-clinical roles.

Applicable majors include but are not limited to: medicine; community and public health; nutrition and dietetics; pharmacy; nursing; dental; optometry; communication sciences and disorders; social work; and counseling. The program has a special interest in students from underserved, under-represented populations and disadvantaged backgrounds. Additionally, student must be 2 years from program completion and maintain 2.5 GPA.

What are the commitments?

Program duration is two years. Each year, scholars must complete 40 hours of community-based experiential or clinic training in rural or underserved areas and 40 hours of focused didactic education in six Core Topic Areas (see below). Scholars are required to attend an online orientation, agree to a follow-up evaluation one year after exiting the program, and establish and maintain a free Connect US Health account.

  • Core Topic Areas
  • Interprofessional Education
  • Behavioral Health Integration
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Cultural Competency
  • Practice Transformation
  • Current and Emerging Health Issues

Center Locations

SW AHEC at Comanche County Memorial Hospital in Lawton, OK


NW AHEC at Rural Health Projects Inc. in Enid, OK


NE AHEC at Northeastern Health System in Tahlequah, OK


This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under U77HP31121 Point of Service Maintenance and Enhancement, with an annual award amount of $383,407 and a 100% non-federal match. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.