AUGUSTA, GA (PR) – The Georgia Statewide Area Health Education Center Network has received the 2014 Eugene S. Mayer Program of Excellence Award, which recognizes the most outstanding AHEC program in the country, from the National AHEC Office.
The annual award is given to a program that exemplifies the best qualities of an AHEC program – program comprehensiveness, community and university partnerships, responsiveness to community needs, and a significant impact on improving access to health care for the citizens of its state. The Georgia Statewide AHEC Network, comprised of six regional centers and a program office at Georgia Regents University, is a partnership coordinated by GRU that aims to boost the supply of health professionals and distribute more of them to rural and underserved areas of the state.
Among the network’s signature achievements is a comprehensive, multi-year “Primary Care Summit” initiative, which brings medical education and AHEC leaders from across the state together to develop strategies to address Georgia’s primary care physician shortage, aiming to have 100 primary care physicians per 100,000 people in Georgia by 2020.
Notable outcomes of past summits include:
· Development of a comprehensive Resource Notebook, a guidebook to strategies being used in
medical schools and other partner systems related to primary care
· Creation of the first AHEC Rural Scholars Program in Sandersville, Ga.
· An additional $693,700 to increase housing resources to support medical students training in
· $853,265 appropriation to support new primary care GME expansion programs
Network staff are also coordinating a new program to provide tax deductions for community based faculty who train 3rd and 4th year medical students in primary care, the first of its kind in the nation; expanding primary care loan forgiveness resources for students; and addressing the existing and worsening deficit of faculty to support expanded residency slots.
“We are honored to be recognized for our efforts to influence Georgia’s primary care shortages,” says Georgia Statewide AHEC Network Program Director Denise Kornegay. “We work hard to harness the energy of a variety of stakeholders across the state to address this critical need. We hope we are creating a lasting legacy with our work.”