Welcome

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.

News

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.
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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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AHEC West earns Silver Award from Healthiest Maryland Businesses

Amanda Heavener, chair of the Employee Enhancement and Wellness Committee at AHEC West, recently attended the 9th Annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium, which this year focused on Mental Health in the Workplace. As part of the program, Amanda accepted a “Silver Award” recognizing Employee Enhancement and Wellness initiatives at AHEC West. Last year AHEC West earned “Bronze” recognition.  On behalf of all of us at AHEC West, thanks to Amanda and other members of the committee for their hard work in educating staff and fostering a healthy work environment.

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Maryland Rural Health Plan offers interactive site for county-level data

As part of the Maryland Rural Health Plan, county-level data on numerous health statistics compiled as part of the Maryland State Health Improvement Prcess (SHIP) is provided through an interactive web site. Click HERE to access the site.

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CHRC funding will allow expansion of Denture Access program to Washington County

CUMBERLAND – The Maryland Community Health Resources Commission (CHRC) recently awarded a $70,000, two-year grant to Cumberland-based AHEC West to expand existing oral health initiatives in Western Maryland to Washington County.  The grant to AHEC West is one of 16 grants totaling $3 million made by the CHRC this year.  These grants are designed to expand access to health care in underserved communities, reduce health disparities, and increase the capacity of safety net providers to serve vulnerable residents and are projected to serve more than 14,000 residents.
Denture Access, the AHEC West program funded by the CHRC, will employ a trained Community Health Worker (CHW) to spearhead the provision of no-cost dentures to low-income residents of Washington County who face numerous health challenges without teeth. The program will leverage dental-provider discounts that greatly extend the reach of the state funding.
As part of Denture Access, the CHW will screen program participants for general health issues, providing guidance, referrals, and other assistance for conditions such as food insecurity, livable income, and affordable housing that can play a major role in individual health outcomes. Similar initiatives already serve residents of Allegany and Garrett counties under the Mountain Health Alliance and other AHEC West programs.
To read the full story click READ MORE below.
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