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University of Texas Medical Branch
East Texas AHEC
News Release
Thursday, July 17, 2008

UTMB health education center named best in the country 

GALVESTON — The East Texas Area Health Education Center, headquartered at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, was recognized as the outstanding AHEC program in the United States.
Steven R. Shelton, executive director, accepted the Eugene S. Mayer Program of Excellence Award on behalf of 65 staff members across East Texas on June 30. The award was given by the National AHEC Organization.
He commended the efforts of all the East Texas AHEC’s staff: “They are responsible for the incredible outcomes made possible through outstanding commitment, dedication, and passion for the work to bring young people to health careers, health professionals to communities, and communities to better health.”
East Texas AHEC provides a wide array of health workforce development, health literacy and community health system improvement activities across 111 counties that have almost three-fourths of the state’s population.
This prestigious award is given every two years by NAO at its national conference and recognizes an AHEC program for its excellence in breadth and depth of programs, leadership and its overall operational effectiveness.
In health workforce development, East Texas AHEC programming brings health careers information and practical experiences to young people, focusing on grades 4-12, to help them be more knowledgeable and better candidates for health technical and professional careers.
The East Texas AHEC places an average of 900 health professions students per year from 17 disciplines and 30 Texas higher education campuses in community-based learning experiences to make students aware of practice opportunities. The staff also recruits and supports health professionals in communities where they are needed.
In the last 18 months, more than 175 doctors, dentists, nurses, physician assistants and other health professionals have been recruited into practice in underserved communities through AHEC’s Texas HealthMatch. Almost 1,100 health professionals who are now working in East Texas were connected to East Texas AHEC activities during the course of their preparation for or entry into health care fields.
Activities carried out through East Texas AHEC’s nine regional operations directly involve more than 150,000 people annually as participants and partners at the local, regional and national level.

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