Since 1985, SEAHEC has been working to improve the quality of health services through supporting health workforce development of rural and medically under served communities in southeast Arizona. We do this by – Growing our own: encouraging young people with rural and culturally diverse backgrounds to attend college and pursue health careers that can benefit their communities. Broadening horizons: assisting students in health professions to learn about and experience the value of working in medically under-served areas through clinical and community service. Nurturing quality: providing continuing education opportunities for doctors, nurses, emergency medical personnel, community health workers and other health providers who serve rural and under-resourced communities. Cultivating collaboration: bringing together people and organizations that share a common commitment to protecting the health of our region.

The Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) were authorized by Congress in 1971 after a study by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education documented notable health disparities between urban centers and rural areas and, in particular, highlighted the lack of health professionals in rural communities of the United States.

AHECs were designed to recruit, train and retain a health professions workforce committed to underserved populations. Pairing universities and public health, the AHEC program helps bring the resources of academic medicine to address local and regional healthcare issues. Today more than 200 centers operate in almost every state and the District of Columbia, working to improve health for underserved and under-represented populations.

Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center/SEAHEC was established in 1985 as Arizona’s first AHEC. It is now part of a state-wide network of five regional Area Health Education Centers. Each regional AHEC operates independently, receiving funding and support from the Arizona Health Education Center at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson.