WV AHEC Program wins 2020 Eugene S. Mayer Program of Excellence Award

The West Virginia Area Health Education Centers program was chosen to receive the Eugene Mayer Program of Excellence Award.

The Program of Excellence award is given biennially to an AHEC program that exemplifies community and university partnerships, program comprehensiveness, responsiveness to community needs, and has had a significant impact on improving access to health care for citizens in its state.

The now award-winning WV AHEC program, which is partnered with the WVU Institute for Community and Rural Health, offers online didactic and hands-on rural experiences for aspiring healthcare professionals across all disciplines. Students from all over the state of West Virginia are enrolled in the program.

The primary objectives of the AHEC grant are to support community-based education for health professions students, provide continuing education for health professionals, and provide/support programs for K-16 students that prepare students for possible careers in the health professions.

The WV AHEC program is designed to provide innovative programming to recruit and retain quality healthcare professionals for the state. The program places an emphasis on rural and underserved areas of West Virginia. WV AHEC includes five regional centers and a central program office for the state. Sandra Pope is the acting director for WV AHEC.

“It is indeed an honor for WV AHEC and WVU to receive an award of this magnitude as it is truly a reflection of a team effort,” Pope said. “We are fortunate to have a dedicated and passionate staff working together to educate and train an interprofessional workforce to address the health care needs of our rural and underserved communities.”

WV AHEC was one of the original 11 national AHECs established in the 1970s and has been member of the National AHEC Organization since NAO was founded. WV AHEC activities have consistently and comprehensively addressed AHEC program goals, as well as goals for the state.

Award recipients were recognized July 14, during the NAO virtual annual meeting. Additionally, recipients will then be honored, in person, during a ceremony next summer.