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.
In 2010, SEAHEC launched a scholarship fund in honor of our first director, Karen Halverson.
Karen Halverson (1942 – 2009) was a champion of quality health care for people living in Nogales, Rio Rico, and throughout Southeastern Arizona. For 20 years from 1986 until 2006, she was administrator of SEAHEC. In that capacity she successfully forged community partnerships to address a wide range of community health issues such as diabetes, asthma, obesity, lead poisoning, and healthcare provider shortages. Along with being an influential leader, she also was a great mentor to those considering health care professions.
SEAHEC’s Karen Halverson Memorial Scholarship Fund furthers Karen’s legacy by providing financial support to enable local high school students to pursue health care careers – with an eye towards serving in communities where the need for qualified, culturally-competent providers is most acute. In 2010, $500 scholarships were awarded to four students from Nogales High School and Rio Rico High School.
Our goal is to grow the fund to be a significant source for developing the Future Health Care Leaders of our community. We invite you to join with us in this effort and welcome contributions of any amount. All donations are fully tax-deductible. Donate online through Razoo, or send a check. Checks should be made out to SEAHEC with a notation that it is for the Karen Halverson Memorial Scholarship Fund.