Maryland Area Health Education Center West, also known as "AHEC West," is a rural, community-based organization serving Appalachian counties in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. To fulfill our mission to improve access to and promote quality in health care through educational and other partnerships, we collaborate with local, state, federal, and private organizations working toward mutual goals of a fair national distribution of health professionals and the elimination of health disparities due to rurality, poverty, race, and culture.


GGEAR conference set for Oct. 19: Loneliness and Social Isolation of Older Adults. CEUs available

The next GGEAR (Geriatrics and Gerontology Education and Research program) training program for health professionals who work with the elderly will be held Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 at Meritus Health in Hagerstown. The program, which provides Continuing Education credits for Social Workers, Psychologists, Professional Counselors, and Nurses, will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at Robinwood Professional Center, Room 142. The theme of the training is “Loneliness and Social Isolation: Screening and Intervention Critical for Older Adults.” The training is provided at no cost but registration is required.
For more information, including registration, click HERE.


AHEC West a partner in new Health Department interactive web site

The Allegany County Health Department is among five health departments nationwide to receive a federal grant to help test an Internet web site that fosters community engagement on health-related issues. AHEC West is a collaborating partner in the project, which is built around the new website “AlleganySpeaks.com” 
The Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI), a division of the Public Health Accreditation Board, announced the grants totaling $75,000 to five public health departments to test the replication of the Universal Community Planning Tool (UCPT), a digital collaboration framework developed by the Garrett County Health Department. The interactive web site is found at mygarrettcounty.com
Utilizing open-source technology, the UCPT is built on a popular content management system designed to seamlessly integrate with other systems and be easily deployed in every community. The Garrett County Health Department developed the tool to help its rural, western Maryland community create a shared vision based on county level data by meaningfully and transparently engaging 1,800 residents to date. The tool’s transparency allows for authentic engagement and increased accountability, and builds trust between agencies and the community alike. Ultimately, the tool aims to increase health equity through community engagement, with health improvement planning and the collection of hyper- local data with partners from across a range of sectors.
With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the five public health departments will implement the UCPT in their own communities. The Garrett County Health Department will guide the communities through the installation and implementation of the tool to test the utility of the UCPT in various settings and to inform potential widespread use by the public health community.
Between now and October 31, 2018, the five grantees will use the funds to implement the UCPT to engage their communities in health improvement planning and will share findings and lessons learned with PHNCI.

Volunteers needed to staff upcoming Mission of Mercy free dental clinic

CUMBERLAND -- The upcoming Mission of Mercy free dental clinic needs volunteers to help make the two-day event a success for the approximately 400 individuals expected to receive treatment at the Allegany County Fairgrounds on October 12 and 13. Volunteers can register online at the Western Maryland Mission of Mercy website, www.westernmdmom.com.
Approximately 150 volunteers are needed to help register patients as they enter, direct parking, help set up meals for the volunteer staff, and more. On the clinical side, more than 200 volunteer professionals will be needed, including dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, oral surgeons, physicians, nurse practitioners, and nurses. Volunteers may sign up for the shift that works best for their schedule.
For more information contact Catie Wampole or Dorian Birkholz at AHEC West, 301-777-9150, or by email at cwampole@ahecwest.org or dbirkholz@ahecwest.org.


AHEC West offering free Diabetes Prevention Program

AHEC West is offering a free lifestyle-management program designed to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
The first of the weekly, hour-long Diabetes Prevention Programs (DPP) will be held at George’s Creek Library beginning Sept. 5. The sessions continue for 16 weeks, followed by six months of monthly follow-up sessions. The roughly year-long program requires only 22 total hours of participation.
Conducted in cooperation with the Western Maryland Health System and the Allegany County Health Department, the AHEC West DPP program focuses on lifestyle changes such as proper diet, regular exercise, and stress management that have been shown to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.
To determine whether you might have pre-diabetes, take an online self-assessment at DoIHavePrediabetes.org. If the results indicate you might have pre-diabetes, enroll in the class by contacting Catie Wampole at AHEC West, 240-362-7715 or by email at cwampole@ahecwest.org. You can also talk to your doctor about being referred to the DPP class.
Additional DPP classes are being planned at locations around Allegany County.


AHEC West holds Annual Awards Dinner

AHEC West held its Annual Awards Dinner June 19, 2018 at Western Maryland Health System, presenting four Board of Directors Awards honoring outstanding regional leaders in healthcare. Awards and honorees were: The Distinguished Service Award: Jennifer Glotfelty, LGSW, in recognition of her years of commitment to AHEC West and its mission, her leadership on the Board of Directors, as well as her dedication to health professions education and quality healthcare in the Western Maryland region; The Jane A. Fiscus Award, to Dr. Gretchen Seibert and the Allegany County Dental Clinic, for her and the clinic’s remarkable contributions to public health dentistry in Allegany County; The John M. Dennis Award, to Frostburg State University, in recognition of 40 years of partnership that has contributed significantly to the success of AHEC West; and The Award for Excellence in Geriatrics and Gerontology, to Frostburg Heights for collaboration on health education programs and other services aiding older adults in Maryland.
New this year, the Annual Awards also featured a post-awards program called “The AHEC West Experience,” in which Board members and other guests experienced AHEC West programs  through client-simulations conducted by AHEC staff. The event featured introductions to an array of AHEC West services and programs, including the Connector Entity, HPV immunization, geriatrics programming, Exploring Careers in Health Occupations (ECHO), the Mountain Health Alliance, and Health Right.
Stretching To EmPower (STEP) program coordinator Jen Thomas began the “Experience” with yoga stretches that feature in her opioid-awareness program. Following the event, AHEC West Executive Director Susan Stewart gathered attendees in a circle to review what they had learned and to solicit input on how the “Experience” may have changed Board members’ and guests’ understanding of AHEC West.
To view other awards photos click "READ MORE" just below. Additional photos from the evening are also available under "Galleries" on the website banner at the top of this page.

Joe Hoffman of Frostburg State University presents the AHEC West Distinguished Service Award to Jennifer Glotfelty.

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