INA, Ill. (Aug. 15, 2013) – Students interested in any medical field will soon have some of the same opportunities as those living in bigger cities as Rend Lake College joins forces with the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford to bring an Illinois Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Network Program to the Ina campus.
The center will be designed to offer elementary and high school students the opportunity to get a first-hand look at the medical field of their choice through the classroom, volunteer programs, science and career fairs, camps, job shadowing, internships and more.
Kim Robert, Dean of Allied Health, said that the program will be a big benefit to the students in Southern Illinois.
“AHEC will bring new and exciting opportunities for students throughout the region,” said Robert. “Rend Lake College is excited to be a part of this unique program and to be able to offer another option for students wanting to work in the medical field and stay in the area. Hopefully AHEC will help us educate our students and keep them in the region for good, quality medical care.”
Robert added that the center is expected to start on the RLC campus as soon as September.
David Asberry, M.D., a former participant in an AHEC program and a member of the RLC Board of Trustees, said he was glad to see the program coming to smaller schools.
“It’s a very exciting thing for me to see come to this area,” said Asberry. “It’s a huge chain that’s been in place for 22 or 25 years, and it’s nice to see it come through the community colleges.”
Asberry then explained that the goal of the program was to instruct students in the medicine field, be it physicians, nurses, dentists, or many others, and then offer opportunities and incentives to keep the students in rural areas to help provide better healthcare.
AHEC is funded by a federal grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. The program on RLC’s campus will serve 22 counties in Southern Illinois.
The announcement, made at the Aug. 13 Board of Directors meeting, involved the creation of the position of Director of the AHEC Center on campus; a unanimous decision that helped fulfill grant requirements for the program. The full-time position is advertised on RLC’s website at www.rlc.edu/faculty-staff/jobs.
The Illinois AHEC Network, which will include the RLC center as well as center sites in Chicago, Polo and Fairfield, is a part of the national network of area health education centers in developing and offering innovative and long-term solutions to health and workforce disparities. The program office is located at the National Center for Rural Health Professions, University of Illinois, College of Medicine – Rockford and a cooperating satellite program office in the Urban Medicine Program at the UIC College of Medicine Chicago.
For more information about the program, contact Allied Health at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1251 or visit online at ahec.rockford.uic.edu/.