The Area Health Education Center for Western Washington works with the national AHEC movement to support healthcare delivery systems and access to care through activities that strengthen the healthcare workforce in rural and urban-underserved communities.

Primary Projects

AHECWW is actively implementing a wide range of projects to strengthen healthcare in rural areas of western Washington. Project links below provide additional detail:

Rural Nursing Distance Learning/Diversity Project

Why is rural nursing important?

Rural areas have fewer nurses than are needed for their communities. As a result, rural residents often go without adequate healthcare, enduring health complications as a result. Rural areas have difficulty attracting and retaining nurses in competition with cities and other affluent areas. Training for registered nurses is rigorous and competitive, and many rural communities have difficulty providing adequate high school preparation for local students to become certified. Rural and tribal healthcare workers have less access to additional training to advance their expertise. Rural and tribal communities have unique needs that constitute a healthcare specialty.

How can the Rural Nursing Project help?

The Rural Nursing Project is making it possible for rural communities to educate and hire their own nursing workforce, focusing on an apprenticeship-like model of education. This “grow-your-own-nurses” program includes the following objectives:

  • Research and create a plan to establish a Rural Distance Learning program for nursing
  • Improve the affordability of and access to nursing training for rural and tribal communities
  • Educate and hire a nursing workforce in rural communities that reflects the community members themselves

This project is based on one called Rural Opportunities Nursing Education (RONE), previously hosted by Lower Columbia College. Here is an evaluation of the RONE program.

How will it work?

AHECWW is working with the Action Now Coalition to develop a Distance Learning Registered Nurse Degree Program. This program will bring nursing education within reach of rural residents throughout Washington. Together with the Washington Center for Nursing, we’re developing the “Rural Nursing Distance Learning and Diversity Initiative” curriculum. Spring 2018 planning includes development of an accredited, employer-supported, registered nurse education program for incumbent healthcare workers in rural communities.

Features of the program are expected to include:

  • Distance education to help existing healthcare staff earn additional certifications including Associate Degree in Nursing
  • On-line courses including the required courses for nursing degree programs
  • Contract work opportunities so that students work at rural hospitals while completing clinical practice curriculum on-site
  • Asynchronous education and modifiable course schedule
  • Experienced hospital staff with Bachelors or Masters in Nursing acting as adjunct faculty
  • Student support services from college or university affiliates
  • Continuing Work agreement: student agrees to work in rural community for an agreed-upon term after graduating

Other Components to Distance Learning

  • Development of “Rural Specialty” content
  • Tele-health training (“tele-presenting”)
  • Team-based care
  • Integrated care
  • Possible special topics: care coordination, chronic conditions, maternal and infant health, older adult health, behavioral health, pain management, palliative care, quality improvement, management

Action Plan

The Action Now Initiative Coalition, Academic Progression Work Group will presented a vetted program at solutions summit in October 2018 with an implementation goal of fall 2019 pilot sites. The program will be hosted at a college or university, partners with communities to provide local clinical experiences with online delivery of didactic curriculum. Program clinical practice education sites will move from one area of the state to the next according to need.

Other possible project components

  • High School Health Scholars – the AHECWW will explore high school health scholar models and AmeriCorps programs promoted by HRSA
  • Rural Residency Program – the AHECWW will explore models for nursing residency training programs based on new Washington and other national programs, transition to BSN program

Where can I find more information?

How can I get involved?

There are lots of opportunities to help with workgroups and committees to get this program launched by autumn 2019. For more information about the program and how to participate, call or email.

Northwest Rural Healthcare Conference

Healthcare professionals working in rural settings will want to attend the annual NW Rural Health Conference in Seattle, Washington, on March 25-27, 2019.

The conference theme “Rural Communities: Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play” highlights rural health policy issues, identifies changes in the delivery of rural care, and showcases ways that technology and data are improving health in rural communities.

The Washington State Office of Rural Health, the WWAMI AHEC Programs, the Washington Rural Health Association, and the Rural Health Clinic Association of Washington are excited to announce that registration is now open for our 2019 Northwest Rural Health Conference!

Details about the conference speakers and presentation topics is available at the NW Rural Health Conference website. Please contact WSU Professional Education (wsuconf@wsu.edu or 509-335-3530) if you have questions.

2018 Conference Highlights:

  • Intensive Learning Labs – Monday
  • Invited Plenary Speakers
  • Education and networking opportunities
  • Interactive breakout sessions by experts – Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Poster Session: highlight programs and share successful ideas with colleagues
  • Monday Evening Reception in the Exhibit Hall
  • Lively and Informative Vendor Exhibits
  • WRHA & RHCAW Annual Membership Meetings
  • WRHA Rural Health Awards Ceremony
  • NWRHC Active! Group Walk/Run Event
  • The Northwest Rural Health Conference addresses varied facets of providing health care in rural settings including critical access hospitals, rural emergency medical services, rural health clinics, home health and other health organizations.

For more information, e-mail: wsuconf@wsu.edu

Career and Academic Pathways

AHECWW is working with partners across the state to make it easier for healthcare students to map their academic pathway to healthcare and STEM certifications and degree programs. There are a vast number of outreach programs throughout the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WWAMI) region striving to bring minorities who are underrepresented in the health care fields toward college level training in the health sciences.

Summer Programs provide chances for high school students to explore degree programs – scroll down for a regional list.

Career and Academic Pathways (Student “Pipeline”) Project

Together with a broad coalition of partners, the project collects and distributes data to help programs gain a better understanding of what is happening in their area, identify gaps in programming and find ways to bridge gaps and link programs. Outreach programs are most successful when they work together to form a “pipeline.” This is the goal of the Pipeline Mapping Project.

The project includes two main components:

Pipeline mapping: Compiling data about all the career pathway programs in the WWAMI Region, making it accessible in a searchable database and interactive map to students, advisors, and educators via a website and app.

  • Link participants and volunteers to programs
  • Encourage programs to work with neighbors and create opportunities for cooperation
  • Identify both areas of overlap and where there are gaps in programming
  • Improve data collection and measurement of the impact of pipeline programs
  • Research methods to track student outcomes

Pipeline Summits: Convening annual information-sharing events to link programs with each other and with participants.

Partners in development include:

  • Students
  • UW School of Medicine Service Learning
  • UW Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG)
  • UW Center for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (CEDI)
  • Eastern Washington Area Health Education Center (EWAHEC)
  • Seattle Data For Good
  • Career Summit
  • The second Western Washington Healthcare Career Pathways Pipeline Summit took place on April 4, 2018, at University of Washington in Seattle.

Career Summit

The second Western Washington Healthcare Career Pathways Pipeline Summit took place on April 4, 2018, at University of Washington in Seattle.

Purpose of the summit:

  • Space for Inspirational Stories
  • Networking and Collaboration
  • Updates on Pipeline Mapping Project
  • Round Table Discussions
  • Workshops
  • Technical Assistance

Organizations shared advice on how to eliminate the barriers in education, to keep students moving forward toward their dreams. Check back for information on the next summit.

Summer Health Professions Programs for Teens

Summer is a great time to explore and gain experiential learning. These programs give hands-on interactions that highlight the rewards and excitement of many types of healthcare careers

University of Washington – Summer Teen Program

The Summer Teen Program runs June through August for high school students aged sixteen through eighteen. Summer Teens interact in the hospital environment to greet and direct visitors, transport patients, deliver specimens to the lab and flowers and mail to patients, support the Information Desk, and assist staff with special projects

Western Washington University College Quest

A true immersive college experience – from residence hall to classroom – gives high school students the chance to take a real college course, earn 1 university credit, gain valuable college success information, and form extraordinary social connections. Students who complete this program get an advantage as they plan for their academic future

National Student Leadership Conference on Medicine & Health Care, University of Washington, July and August

At the National Student Leadership Conference on Medicine & Health Care, students perform clinical rounds, learn medical examination and surgical techniques, and participate in diagnosis and treatment while solving the mystery of a fatal outbreak sweeping the nation. High school students grapple with controversial medical issues, learn about today’s health care challenges and explore advanced scientific research in areas such as cancer and HIV/AIDS.

Providence High School Summer Program

Students in the Summer Program carry out Providence’s mission of caring for the poor and vulnerable while increasing their awareness of the healthcare field as a potential career path. Students learn the principles of sound decision-making and problem-solving skills while receiving supportive coaching and mentoring from staff. The interactive experience in a hospital environment develops key communication skills in a diverse environment made up of patients, family members, visitors and staff from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds.

Multicare Programs for High Schooler

MultiCare helps students interested in health care to clarify their career choices. The variety of programs includes nurse camp, Pharmacy, Imaging, Physical Therapy and more. Students gain experience and an understanding of the educational pathways to achieve the career of their dreams

COPE Health Scholars, Junior Health Scholar Program, Swedish Medical Centers – First Hill

As a Junior Health Scholar, you will observe how the patient care team works together to deliver excellent care and see what it’s really like to be a patient.

For next year:

Summer Health Professions Education Program

Health Careers Collaborative Opportunity for AHECs with the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The Summer Health Professions Education Program (formerly SMDEP) www.shpep.org sponsored by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), serves as the free, six-week academic enrichment program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Eligible students include, but are not limited to, individuals who identify as African American/Black, American Indian and Alaska Native and Hispanic/Latino, and who are from communities of socioeconomic and educational disadvantage.

AHECWW is working with SHPEP to get the word out to interested health career students who may benefit. Students are encouraged to apply and take the opportunity to join this FREE, summer enrichment program that is filled with countless career development opportunities.

Learn more about the new educational opportunities provided by the SHPEP program and apply today at www.shpep.org. The application deadline for 2018 has passed (February 15), but keep this program in mind for 2019.

Rural and Underserved Opportunities Program

AHECWW works with the University of Washington School of Medicine to coordinate a four-week, elective immersion experience for medical students. The program is called The Rural Underserved Opportunities Program (RUOP) and it places students between their first and second years of medical school in community medicine in rural or urban underserved communities throughout the WWAMI region (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho).

Preceptors can apply to participate as a preceptor for a RUOP student in summer 2019. (A printable .pdf application form is available.)

Students work in clinics and hospitals with preceptors, experiencing their first extended clinical involvement. RUOP provides students with an early exposure to the challenges and rewards of working with rural and underserved communities and develops in students a positive attitude toward rural and urban underserved community medicine.

Teaching Activities

  • Along with expanding history-taking and physical exam skills, students participate in a full range of clinical activities. They experience what it is to be a physician.
  • Practicing doctors act as role models and provide clinical teaching that can shape students’ professional choices
  • Many RUOP students plan to combine their clinical work with a community medicine experience.

Students also complete a web-based community medicine course with UWSOM mentors.

  • They learn about the social determinants of health.
  • Assess the community for health strengths/challenges.

With the help of community partners, students develop and implement a health-related project. Examples of Student Projects include:

  • Designing patient education experiences such as forums on diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic or high interest topics.
  • Participating in community health fairs.
  • Providing health education offerings for coaches and school personnel; elders and other vulnerable populations.
  • Addressing community safety issues such as fireworks safety and gun safety.

The University of Washington School of Medicine Magazine featured the inspiring story of a similar program (called TRUST) in this video “Spurred to Succeed,” in spring 2018

AHECWW recruits preceptors focusing on doctors in family medicine in rural clinics throughout western Washington during the winter. Medical students are matched with participating sites during the spring, and summer rotations begin in late June. Contact AHECWW for more information on how to become a preceptor: info@AHECWW.org.

Additional information about the preceptor role and responsibilities is detailed on the University of Washington School of Medicine website for the RUOP program.

AHEC Scholars

Together with AHECs across the country and the national Health Resources and Services Administration, a new interdisciplinary educational program is being launched. The AHEC Scholars program focuses on a diverse culturally competent healthcare workforce that specializes in serving rural areas.

Students in the Whatcom County area enjoyed the AHEC Scholars Kick-off Reception on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, at Whatcom Community College Health Professions Education Center.

Healthcare students apply to become AHEC Scholars and will receive recognition upon successful completion of the two-year program. AHEC Scholars are competitively selected from applicants to ensure representation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds or racial/ethnic groups that are considered inadequately represented in specific health professions. The AHEC Scholars will comprise a collaborative cohort of up to 25 students from a variety of health profession degree or certificate programs.

During both years, students participate in supplemental instruction, that augments their respective degree program requirements in their specialty fields. Studying together with different health professions students offers cross-disciplinary collaboration and innovation. Instruction consists of on-line and community/experiential learning.

AHEC Scholars complete a service learning community project and participate in a Journal Club, including poster presentations at the annual Northwest Rural Health Conference. The AHEC Scholars Learning Plan form is available. Instruction will incorporate six core topic areas:

  • Inter-professional Education: supports a coordinated, patient-centered model of health care that involves an understanding of the contributions of multiple health care professions.
  • Behavioral Health Integration: promotes the development of integrated primary and behavioral health services (mental health and substance use conditions)
  • Social Determinants of Health: economic stability, education, social and community context, health and health care, neighborhood and built environment are social determinants that have a profound effect on health.
  • Cultural Competency: training health care providers to recognize and address the unique culture, language, and health literacy of diverse individuals and communities.
  • Practice Transformation: goal-setting, leadership, practice facilitation, workflow changes, measuring outcomes, adapting organizational tools and processes to support new team-based models of care delivery
  • Current and Emerging Health Issues: examples include Zika virus, pandemic influenza, opioid abuse, geographically relevant health issues, and more.

The WWAMI AHEC Scholars program offers more details and the AHEC Scholars short video describes the program.

Career Exploration for High School Students

What is Scrubs Camp?

Scrubs Camp is a one-day workshop for high school students to explore health careers. Scrubs Camps are designed to increase awareness, interest, and understanding of health careers available in Washington through instruction and interactive activities. Students hear presentations from health care professionals and/or educators, and participate in hands-on activities, while also learning about the education and skills required to become a health professional.

What will I do at Scrubs Camp?

Scrubs Camp is held in the healthcare labs at the local community college. Faculty, staff and community members give presentations on healthcare programs offered on that campus. Student are immersed in experiential learning about careers such as Nursing, Medical Assisting, Physical Therapy, Emergency Medical Technicians, Massage Therapy, Dental Hygiene and other fields represented at the campus. Presenters engage students in hands-on activities like drawing blood, listening to a heartbeat, experiencing electrical stimulation, conducting spirometry assessments, practicing massage techniques and other job-related tasks. A healthy lunch is provided for students along with snacks to keep them energized throughout the day. An advising session is included to inform students on academic pathways for healthcare careers and each student is given resources to take home.

Scrubs Camp is a great way for students interested in a health career to find out all the possibilities and prepare for their next steps in education. Participants get concrete guidance on the training programs required for different types of healthcare careers, including information on financial options.

Scrubs Camps for 2019 are scheduled as follows:

  • Whatcom Community College, Bellingham, WA – Date TBD
  • Bellingham Technical College, Bellingham, WA – Date TBD
  • Peninsula College, Port Angeles, WA – March 21, 2019
  • Montesano Internal Medicine, Montesano WA – June 1, 2019

Contact Deborah Elliott, AHECWW Health Professions Coordinator, at DElliott@whatcom.edu or call (360) 383-3171, for more information on Scrubs Camp 2019.

Scrubs Camp is ready to expand in western Washington

AHECWW looks forward to exploring ways that Scrubs Camp can be adapted to your region. This program has the potential to showcase your healthcare education programs, and also offers an opportunity to partner with industry to highlight local health career options. Let’s collaborate to help address healthcare workforce shortages by building academic pathways!

Health Professions Affinity Community Project

AHECWW is developing a Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC) program to encourage high school students to explore healthcare careers. HPAC is a facilitated student activity that meets at participating high schools. Students in the HPAC learn to identify community health issues under the guidance of an AmeriCorps College Access Coordinator. Activities include presentations by healthcare professionals, field trips, and tutoring. HPAC focuses on students from diverse populations that are under-represented in health professions. AHECWW launched the first HPAC in Washington State as a pilot project at two Whatcom County high schools in 2018.

History

The HPAC program began in Ohio where it currently serves about 2,000 youth in hundreds of high schools across the state. It is built around the IDEAS model of community engagement:

Identify: students identify a health concern in their community
Develop: Students design a project to address the concern
Enact: Students implement their project, conducting research, collecting data on conditions before and after
Assess: Students evaluate the results of their project
Share: Students present and report their results to their community and schools

AmeriCorps Role

The HPAC Pilot Project for 2018-2018 school year engages College Access Coaches who act as mentors and tutors for high school students. The AmeriCorps Campus Compact member recruits and supervises the College Access Coaches in activities at participating high schools. Many College Access Coaches are university or college students at regional institutions such as WWU or WCC.

Sign up for HPAC

HPAC has been established starting in October 2018 at Ferndale High School and Nooksack Valley High School. Additional outreach and collaboration are working toward HPAC programs at Mount Baker High School and Lummi Nation High School.

For more information:

Contact AHECWW at (360) 383-3170

Mental Health First Aid Training

AHECWW offers Mental Health First Aid trainings for professionals and community members throughout western Washington. Upcoming trainings include:

  • Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood, (Adult) Bellingham: March 20, 2019 (Class is Full)
  • Whatcom Community College, (Adult) Bellingham: April 26, 2019 – Register here

Trainings consist of a full 8-hour day (usually from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm) with a lunch break (lunch not provided). Those who successfully complete the full day are eligible for a Mental Health First Aid certificate issued by the National Council for Behavioral Health. The certificate remains valid for three years. Class size is limited to 30, and, through grant funding from the State Department of Health, the trainings are offered free of charge (value $170). The class is great for people of all backgrounds. Students in allied health courses of study are encouraged to consider this training. For registration information, call (360) 383-3170.

There are two main certification levels: one for adults who interact with youth (Youth Mental Health First Aid) and one for adults generally (Mental Health First Aid).

Continuing Education Credits

AHECWW provides certificates to document Continuing Education (CE) credits for attendees. AHECWW is authorized to award CE for licensed social workers in Washington State through the Washington Chapter of the National Association for Social Workers. Dentists, Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians are now eligible to receive continuing education credits (CEUs) for all Adult Mental Health First Aid courses! The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has approved the Adult Mental Health First Aid course for a total of 8.0 contact hours, or 0.8 CEUs. Contact AHECWW for more information at: info@AHECWW.org or call (360) 383-3170.

Why Mental Health First Aid?

  • Enroll in a Mental Health First Aid course to learn a five-step action plan to help loved ones, colleagues, neighbors and others cope with mental health or substance use problems.
  • Similar to traditional First Aid and CPR, Mental Health First Aid is help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a crisis until professional treatment is obtained or the crisis resolves.
  • Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based public education and prevention tool – it improves the public’s knowledge of mental health and substance use problems and connects people with care for their mental health or substance use problems.

Mental Health First Aid is a project of the National Council for Behavioral Health

Mental Health First Aid was originally created in Australia in 2001 under the auspices of the University of Melbourne, and is now international with programs in countries such as the United Kingdom, China, Canada, Finland and Singapore.

The National Council for Behavioral Health – a national trade group with more than 2,500 member organizations serving millions of Americans nationwide – helped bring Mental Health First Aid to the United States in 2008 with the goal of making it as common as traditional First Aid and CPR are today.

Find out how to become a Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor.

Trauma Informed Care

Childhood trauma and other types of traumatic stress have wide ranging and long term effects on health. According to the Center for Health Care Strategies, “Exposure to abuse, neglect, discrimination, violence, and other adverse experiences increase a person’s lifelong potential for serious health problems and engaging in health-risk behaviors, as documented by the landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study. Because of the ACE study, and other subsequent research, health care policymakers and providers increasingly recognize that exposure to traumatic events, especially as children, heighten patients’ health risks long afterward.

“As health care providers grow aware of trauma’s impact, they are realizing the value of trauma-informed approaches to care. Trauma-informed care acknowledges the need to understand a patient’s life experiences in order to deliver effective care and has the potential to improve patient engagement, treatment adherence, health outcomes, and provider and staff wellness. A set of organizational competencies and core clinical guidelines is emerging to inform effective treatment for patients with trauma histories, but more needs to be done to develop an integrated, comprehensive approach that ranges from screening patients for trauma to measuring quality outcomes.” (www.chcs.org)

AHECWW works with the Center for Excellence Allied Health to coordinate professional development opportunities such as the 2018 conference on ACES and Trauma-Informed Care with a Special Focus on Health Workforce Development.

Topics included:

  1. Culturally Responsive Trauma-Informed Systems of Care delivery.
  2. Importance of Trauma-Informed Staff Training and Health Workforce Development.
  3. Strategies for Care of the Caregivers and Self-care Techniques.
  4. Applying concepts of culturally responsive approaches to trauma-informed advocacy
  5. Victim-Survivor Centered approaches for care delivery.
  6. Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) best practices, policies, and procedures for the organizations

Online Continuing Education for Professionals

Continuing Education and CME

Find trainings for healthcare professionals and for continuing medical education.

Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid classes are available in communities in western Washington. Find out more on the AHECWW Mental Health First Aid page.

Behavioral Health Workforce Summit

Washington State is committed to training and expanding a behavioral health workforce to meet the health needs of Washington residents. Plan to attend an inspiring and innovative Behavioral Health Summit in Spokane on April 3rd, 2019, or in Seattle on April 5, 2019. Employers/practitioners, educators, and policymakers will learn from one another, exchange ideas, and develop a plan of action for the coming year. For more information, contact the University of Washington Evidence-Based Practice Institute (EBPI) at ebpi2536@uw.edu.

HPV Vaccine: Cancer Prevention Education

The National AHEC Organization received funding to educate health professionals on the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The HPV project offers three educational fliers for clinics, staff, and educators to use and distribute:

Find out more about on-line seminars about HPV.

Workforce Development Council Resources

The Workforce Development Council has several helpful “Map Your Career” tools. Click here for a Career Paths in Healthcare visual map.

Click here for the “Map Your Career” webpage, where you can see career maps to many industries, and learn more about healthcare careers.

Career Bridge

Brought to you by the state’s Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, Career Bridge is a website where you can explore careers, view job trends, and find education programs.

Upcoming Webinars

Please see AHECWW calendar for upcoming Webinars.

Please see the Archived Webinars page for on-line, self-paced trainings.

The Resources page features additional opportunities for students, employers, and professionals.

Wellness Courses from WPHP

The Washington Physicians Health Program has courses aimed at improving physicians’ health so that they can better serve others. Examples of their training courses include Mindfulness for Healthcare Providers, Compassion Cultivation Training, and Mind Body Medicine. Visit the WPHP website for more information.

College Students interested in Health Careers

College students interested in healthcare careers are invited to apply for the Summer Health Professions Education Program. AHECWW is developing the state’s first Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC) program with a pilot project in Whatcom County starting autumn, 2018. In HPAC, college students interested in health careers are invited to mentor high school students as College Access Coaches. To become involved with HPAC, contact AHECWW at (360) 383-3170.

AHEC Scholars

The WWAMI AHEC Scholars Program is a nationwide HRSA/AHEC branded certificate program to prepare and promote a diverse, skilled primary care workforce in rural and underserved communities. The program emphasizes a team-based approach to addressing health disparities. Coursework can be completed at no cost and complements existing coursework for students of health professions. Courses have been written by University of Washington Educators.

Community/Technical College Programs

Search college programs through the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges at the sbctc.edu website. This tool allows you to search for programs by areas of interest, locations, and colleges. This is the most comprehensive resource for accessing information on Washington’s community and technical college programs, including health care pre-majors in dentistry, medicine, pharmacy and nursing; health care technician; health sciences and allied health; health unit and records; public health; environmental health; registered nursing; licensed practical nursing; nursing assistant; chemical dependency/addiction; mental health services; and more.

Medical Schools

Medical schools in the western Washington region include:

Learn more about medical schools at the AHECWW Medical School page.

Nursing Programs

The Department of Health provides a list of approved nursing programs in Washington state at www.doh.wa.gov.

Access the list of degree programs provided by the Washington State Nurses Association at www.wsna.org. The list includes Associate Degree Nursing programs, Baccalaureate Degree Nursing programs, RN-to-BSN programs, and Graduate Degree Programs.

Dental Training Programs

Access a list of dental career training programs on the AHECWW Dental Training page. Programs are grouped by category for Dental Hygiene and Dental Assistant certifications.

Medical Assistant Programs

Access a list of Medical Assistant Certificate programs on the Medical Assisting page.

Physician Assistant Programs

Access a list of Physician Assistant Degree programs on the AHECWW Physician Assistant Training page.

Health Information Technology Programs

Access a list of Health Information Technology (HIT) programs on the AHECWW HIT Training page.

Medical Billing and Coding Training Programs

Access the AHECWW Medical Billing and Coding page for career programs in billing.

Mental Health Provider Training Programs

Mental Health Provider Training Programs are listed on the AHECWW mental health programs page, grouped by category: Mental Health and School Counselors; Social Workers; and Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapists.

Many health professionals are now required to take suicide prevention continuing education (CE) trainings. The Department of Health website lists on-line and in-person approved trainings and programs.

Health Sciences Programs

Access a list of Health Sciences degree programs on the Health Sciences Programs page.

Stackable Certificates Programs

Stackable certificate programs are comprised of a series of certificates that can be “stacked” together for a degree. This type of program is especially useful for healthcare professionals who wish to continue working while studying.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Programs

Access the AHECWW EMT page for career training as a Emergency Medical Technician.

Acupuncture and Traditional Medicine

Access the AHECWW Traditional Medicine page for degree programs in Nutrition, Acupuncture, and Midwifery.

Resources for Students

Resources for Students & Educators

Resources for Career Exploration

  • Summer Health Professions Education Program
  • General College Resources
  • Scrubs Camp

Scholarship and Financial Resources

  • Rural Healthcare Research Support
  • National Health Service Corps Scholarships
  • Students to Service Program
  • Health Profession Shortage Area (HPSA) Find Link
  • Loan Repayment Programs

General Training Resources

  • Cultural Humility training
  • Credentialing for Healthcare Professions
  • Resources for Veteran Students
  • The National LGBT Health Education Center
  • HIV/AIDS and First Aid Training
  • Mental Health First Aid
  • Rural Opioid Educational Resources

Resources for Career Exploration

Current and future health sciences students, and high school student exploring health career options will find resources and links for certificate programs, summer programs, and more. The AHECWW Career Exploration/High School Programs page lists summer programs for youth, while the Certificates and Training page links to on-line and on-site programs to earn healthcare credentials.

Summer Health Professions Education Program

SHPEP is a FREE six-week academic summer enrichment program for first-year and sophomore college students who are interested in the health professions. SHPEP especially encourages applicants from groups that are underrepresented in the health professions, or from individuals from an economically disadvantaged background. Applications open December 1, 2018 and the deadline for applying is February 15, 2019. For more information, check the documents below or call (866) 587-6337.

  • Summer Health Professions Education Program brochure
  • Summer Health Professions Education Program questions and answers

See the SHPEP.org website for more information.

General College Resources

Big Future is a service of the College Board to help connect students to college success and opportunity. The Big Future website provides general information about the college experience, including exploring educational programs, paying for college, career search tools, and finding colleges by program type.

Scrubs Camp

High school students get a full day experiencing different Health Care Careers. Find out more at the AHECWW Scrubs Camp page (Check back in May for information on 2019 registration).

Scholarship and Financial Resources

Rural Healthcare Research Support

Rural PREP helps fund research to improve rural healthcare, offering support to encourage and promote research and scholarly activity in rural health professions education. Find out more and apply at Rural PREP. (Collaborative for Rural Primary care Research Education and Practice (Rural PREP).

National Health Service Corps Scholarships

You can apply to the Scholarship Program if you are committed to primary care and accepted to or enrolled in an accredited U.S. school in one of the following primary care disciplines: Physicians (MD or DO), Dentists, Nurse Practitioners (post graduate degree with clinical practice focus), Certified Nurse-Midwives, Physician Assistants. The scholarship pays tuition, fees, other educational costs, and provides a living stipend in return for a commitment to work at least 2 years at an NHSC-approved site in a medically underserved community. Learn more at the HRSA website: https://nhsc.hrsa.gov/.

Students to Service Program

Are you a medical or dental student in your final year of school? The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Students to Service Loan Repayment Program (S2S LRP) provides up to $120,000 to medical (MD and DO) or dental (DDS or DMD) students in their final year of school in return for a commitment to provide primary health care full time for at least 3 years at an approved NHSC site in a Health Professional Shortage Area of greatest need. Learn more from the HRSA website.

HPSA Find Link

Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) are designated by HRSA as having shortages of primary care, dental care, or mental health providers and may be geographic (a county or service area), population (e.g., low income or Medicaid eligible) or facilities (e.g., federally qualified health centers, or state or federal prisons). The HPSA search is designed to aid with your loan repayment research.

The Washington Scholarship Coalition operates the WashBoard.org website where students can easily be matched to available scholarships specific to their situation. Assistance with financial aid application forms is also available. Washington State Opportunity Scholarship helps low- and middle-income students pursuing high-demand majors in the health care fields. 1850 new scholarships will be awarded.

General Training Resources

Work Source Washington provides a wealth of information about career training and programs to help you navigate career planning. The AHECWW training pages provide links and details for a wide variety of healthcare certificate and degree programs.

Credentialing for Healthcare Professions

Learn where you can access First Aid training, and about the credentialing requirements for various healthcare professionals at the Washington State Department of Health credentialing page.

Resources for Veteran Students

The Veterans’ Resources page on the Allied Health Center of Excellence website provides information on employment initiatives for veterans, as well as resource links for veterans.

The National LGBT Health Education Center

The National LGBT Health Education Center provides educational programs, resources, and consultation to health care organizations with the goal of optimizing quality, cost-effective health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The Education Center is a part of The Fenway Institute, the research, training, and health policy division of Fenway Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center, and one of the world’s largest LGBT-focused health centers. (Source: https://www.lgbthealtheducation.org/).

HIV/AIDS and First Aid Training

Learn more about requirements for HIV/AIDS training requirements at the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) website. You are required to have AIDS education if you (1) work as a health care professional or in a state licensed or certified health care facility in Washington, or (2) want to get a license, certification or registration to practice a regulated health care profession in Washington state. The DOH site lists details on HIV/AIDS trainings in the state.

Mental Health First Aid

Learn more about Mental Health First Aid certification and how to access training.

Rural Opioid Educational Resources

The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health has developed a compendium of all Rural Opioid Educational Resources available across their website to aid individuals looking for education, tools, and other resources. This includes reports, webinar presentations, meeting presentations, and a compendium of resources and lessons learned from grantees of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy’s Rural Opioid Overdose Reversal (ROOR) grant program. As new resources become available, more information will be added. Visit the NOSORH page.

Resources for Professionals

For Professionals

Resources for Practice Improvement

  • NW Center for Public Health Practice
  • Washington Physicians Health Program
  • Institute for Healthcare Improvement
  • Telepsychiatry

Research and Consultation

  • Weitzman institute
  • Rural PREP Resource Library
  • National LGBT center
  • HEAL WA

Staffing and Training

  • Credentialing for providers
  • Nurses
  • Recruitment 3RNet
  • J-1 Visa Program
  • Continuing Education, AHEC webinars
  • AHEC training page
  • Loan Repayment programs (link to separate page)

Behavorial Health

  • SAMHSA
  • Screening tools
  • Suicide prevention
  • Rural Opioid resources

Resources for Practice Improvement

Northwest Center for Public Health Practice

The NWCPHP has launched a collaborative project to improve public health policy: Laboratory for decision making. With support from the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, NWCPHP embarks on a five-year project to assist rural public health leaders in better using data to promote health equity. With rural areas hard hit by the opioid epidemic training materials and other resources are a great resource provided by NWCPHP.

Washington Physicians Health Program

The Washington Physicians Health Program is an independent, non-profit organization that was established in 1986. It is a physician-led program with an experienced staff dedicated to helping healthcare professionals while promoting patient safety. WPHP assists healthcare professionals with medical conditions that may affect their ability to practice medicine safely. These conditions include substance use and behavioral health disorders, as well as physical and cognitive disorders. WPHP is a confidential resource to the maximum extent provided by law. Visit WPHP.

Institute for Healthcare Improvement

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School is a not-for-profit global learning community offering online courses, project-based learning, and learning community. Some courses are paid for through subscription, but the IHI Open School also contains free videos and case studies with discussion questions, a list of other resources on patient safety, quality improvement, leadership, and system design, and tips/resources related to publishing work.

Guidance for Practices Considering Telepsychiatry

“Key Considerations for Implementing Telepsychiatry Services”– a new tool from the Practice Transformation Support Hub – can help practices considering telepsychiatry make an informed decision about what is right for their practice, and their unique implementation needs. The six-page guide is available on the Hub Resource Portal.

Research and Consultation

The Weitzman Institute

The Weitzman Institute is the first community-based research center established by a Federally Qualified Health Center. It is dedicated to quality improvement and research in primary care for the underserved. They test promising innovations in primary care delivery and establish research priorities for Community Health Center, Inc. (CHCI). Visit the Weitzman Institute to learn more about the resources they offer, including practice transformation support, Project ECHO for Chronic Pain and MAT, eConsult, QI education, and workforce development. Though offices are located in Colorado and Connecticut, Weitzman Institute programs have a presence in 37 states (including Washington), bringing services to health centers and practices across the country.

The National LGBT Health Education Center

The National LGBT Health Education Center provides educational programs, resources, and consultation to health care organizations with the goal of optimizing quality, cost-effective health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.

The Education Center is a part of The Fenway Institute, the research, training, and health policy division of Fenway Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center, and one of the world’s largest LGBT-focused health centers. Source: https://www.lgbthealtheducation.org/.

HEAL WA

HEAL WA is the on-call library for Washington state practitioners, and is a free resource for any healthcare provider licensed in Washington state.

Staffing and Training

Recruitment

Learn more about 3RNet (National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network), recruitment services for providers who want to serve in rural and underserved areas in Washington, including loan repayment programs.

Learn more specifically about the J-1 Visa Waiver Program, administered through the Washington State Department of Health.

Loan Repayment

The Health Professional Loan Repayment Program was established by the Legislature to address health professional shortages in rural or underserved urban communities. The program helps the state attract and retain licensed health professionals to serve in our state by providing financial support to applicants who are awarded and commit to serving at an eligible site in our state. In return for the funds, recipients sign a contract committing them to either a two-year (Federal/State funded- FSLRP) or a three-year (state funded – HPLRP) full-time equivalency service obligation. Under HPLRP, part time work options are also available. Award amounts vary based on the contract type (see Reference Guides for full details).

If you are a provider wishing to apply for the Loan Repayment Program, the Washington Student Achievement Council website has additional details.

Credentialing for Health Care Providers

Learn about the credentialing requirements for various healthcare professionals, from Washington State Department of Health.

Credentialing for Nurses

The Washington State Department of Health website provides specifics for Nurse Licensing and Continuing Education Competency Audits. Suicide Prevention continuing education training has been required since July 2017.

Continuing Education

Check the Continuing Education and CME page for upcoming and recorded webinars offering free CME and Continuing Education credits for healthcare professionals.

Recent Webinars

Measurement-based Treatment to Target Depression Care” Dr. Anna Ratzliff, MD, PhD, presents steps for use of the PHQ-9 for improved diagnostic accuracy of depression in the primary care setting. (Aug 2018).

Collaborative Care Nursing” Dr. Anna Ratzliff, MD, PhD, presents research and steps for improved patient follow-through collaborative care model. (Aug 2017).

See the AHECWW Training page for upcoming webinars and continuing education opportunities.

Behavioral Health Resources

Access screening tools for anxiety disorders and depression, from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. These screenings are meant to be used by patients as a screening tool that can be shared with a provider.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, contains a wealth of information on treating substance use disorders and mental health disorders. Click on “publications” to access many free resources geared towards providers.

Rural Opioid Educational Resources

The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health has developed a compendium of all Rural Opioid Educational Resources available across their website to aid individuals looking for education, tools, and other resources. This includes reports, webinar presentations, meeting presentations, and a compendium of resources and lessons learned from grantees of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy’s Rural Opioid Overdose Reversal (ROOR) grant program. As new resources become available, more information will be added. Visit the NOSORH page.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Resources for Employers

Resources for Employers

Practice Improvement

  • Institute for Healthcare Improvement
  • Practice Transformation Support Hub
  • Qualis Health
  • The National LGBT Health Education Center
  • Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center

Staffing and Training

  • National Health Service Corps
  • National Rural Recruitment and Retention (3R Net)
  • The Society for Human Resources Management
  • Resources for Hiring Veterans
  • Employing People with Disabilities
  • Loan Repayment programs

Research and Consultation Resources

  • The Weitzman Institute
  • The Sentinel Network
  • Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions (AIMS) Center
  • Bureau of Health Workforce

Support for Practice Improvement

Institute for Healthcare Improvement

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School is a not-for-profit global learning community offering online courses, project-based learning, and learning community. Some courses are paid for through subscription, but the IHI Open School also contains free videos and case studies with discussion questions, a list of other resources on patient safety, quality improvement, leadership, and system design, and tips/resources related to publishing work.

Practice Transformation Support Hub

Managed by the Washington State Department of Health, the Practice Transformation Support Hub (Hub) is accelerating the dissemination and implementation of practice changes toward value-based care, providing support and assistance to help healthcare providers adopt and adapt. Source: https://www.hca.wa.gov/about-hca/healthier-washington/practice-transformation-support-hub.

Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center

NRTRC provides technical assistance, program support, education and information to Telehealth Networks in our seven-state region. Increasing the use of Telehealth service throughout the region, especially to underserved populations, by providing no-cost assistance to Telehealth providers. Source: https://www.nrtrc.org.

Qualis Health

Qualis Health is one of the nation’s leading population healthcare consulting organizations, partnering with our clients to improve care for millions of Americans every day. Qualis works with public and private sector clients to advance the quality, efficiency and value of healthcare. Qualis Health is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, with regional offices located in Alabama, Alaska, California, Idaho, the District of Columbia and New Mexico. Source: www.qualishealth.org.

The National LGBT Health Education Center

The National LGBT Health Education Center provides educational programs, resources, and consultation to health care organizations with the goal of optimizing quality, cost-effective health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The Education Center is a part of The Fenway Institute, the research, training, and health policy division of Fenway Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center, and one of the world’s largest LGBT-focused health centers. Source: https://www.lgbthealtheducation.org/.

Support for Staffing and Recruiting

National Health Service Corps Site Application

Learn more about becoming a National Health Service Corps site and application. Note: The following may be eligible Auto-Approved NHSC sites: 1) FQHCs; 2) FQHC Look-Alikes; 3) ITUs; 4) federal prisons; and 5) ICE Health Service Corps sites. Eligible auto-approved NHSC sites may submit an application to the NHSC at any point in the year and are not required to submit an application during the NHSC site application cycles, nor are they required to submit a recertification application every three years. Source: NHSC Site Reference Guide.

Health Professions Shortage Areas (HPSAs) are designated by HRSA as having shortages of primary care, dental care, or mental health providers and may be geographic (a county or service area), population (e.g., low income or Medicaid eligible) or facilities (e.g., federally qualified health centers, or state or federal prisons). The HPSA search aids with your loan repayment research.

National Rural Recruitment & Retention Network (3RNet)

3RNet is a nonprofit organization that connects health professionals searching for jobs in rural or underserved areas with health care facilities. The website offers tips on recruitment and retention, posting jobs, and as a guide to workforce programs.

Recruitment and Retention Tips: A Resource list to help organizations better recruit and retain health professionals is available here. A guide to best practices for attracting and retaining needed workforce is available here.

The Society for Human Resource Management

SHRM is the world’s largest HR professional society. This website contains helpful resources and articles on HR related topics. Some available for free, some require membership. Visit the SHRM website.

Resources for Hiring Veterans

The Career Resources for Military Veterans page is on the Allied Health Center of Excellence website. This page contains many links to helpful veterans resources.

Employing People with Disabilities

The NCSL provides information on employing individuals with disabilities. This report from the National Conference of State Legislatures contains federal and state policy information. The Washington State Department and Industries’ Stay at Work program, which pays employers to help injured workers stay on the job, explains how medical providers can help support this effort.

Loan Repayment Programs

The Washington Student Achievement Council page contains guidance for providers and sites on the Federal-State Loan Repayment Program and the Health Professional Loan Repayment Program.

Research and Consultation

The Weitzman Institute

The Weitzman Institute is the first community-based research center established by a Federally Qualified Health Center. It is dedicated to quality improvement and research in primary care for the underserved. They test promising innovations in primary care delivery and establish research priorities for Community Health Center, Inc. (CHCI). The Weitzman Institute website offers information on practice transformation support, Project ECHO for Chronic Pain and MAT, eConsult, QI education, and workforce development. Weitzman Institute programs are operating in 37 states (including Washington), bringing services to health centers and practices across the country. The Institute has offices in Colorado and Connecticut.

Sentinel Network

The Sentinel Network is an information network linking the healthcare industry with partners in education and training, policymakers and workforce planners to collectively identify and respond to new and changing demand for healthcare workers, skills and roles. Part of the Healthier Washington initiative, the Sentinel Network is a collaboration of state’s Workforce Board and the University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies, with funding from Washington’s Health Care Authority. Source: www.wtb.wa.gov/HealthSentinel/.

Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions (AIMS) Center

The AIMS Center at the University of Washington is a group of faculty, staff and consultants dedicated to improving the health of populations by advancing the research and implementation of Collaborative Care, a specific model of integrated care developed at the University of Washington to treat common and persistent mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Source: http://aims.uw.edu.

Bureau of Health Workforce

Link to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Bureau of Health Workforce page, where you can read more about scholarship and loan opportunities, health professions training grants to support institutions, strategic partnerships, shortage designation, health workforce analysis, and access the national practitioner data bank.

About Whatcom Community College

AHECWW is hosted at Whatcom Community College with funding from Washington State Department of Health, University of Washington, and the Whatcom Community College Foundation.

Whatcom Community College is a regionally and nationally accredited college with an accomplished faculty and staff who serve nearly 11,000 students annually. On its 72-acre campus in Bellingham, Wash., and through online courses, Whatcom offers transfer degrees, professional-technical training programs, as well as basic education, job skills, and Community & Continuing Education classes. According to the Aspen Institute (2016), WCC is rated among the top nine community and technical colleges in the state and recognized as one of the leading community colleges in the nation. Established in 1967, Whatcom has been accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities since 1976.

Funding for AHECWW is received from the Washington State Department of Health, the University of Washington and Whatcom Community College Foundation.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U77HP03022, for the WWAMI Area Health Centers, in the amount of $515,000 for the 2018-2019 fiscal year (with a 1:1 total match of $515,000 from non-federally funded governmental sources). 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 or the U.S. Government.