Maine AHEC Network entering fifth year of Northern New England Health Workforce Diversity Partnership program

Maine AHEC Network is entering its fifth year of its Northern New England Health Workforce Diversity Partnership programming under the Partnerships to Achieve Health Equity Grant from the Federal Office of Minority Health. Maine AHEC Network partners with Maine Access Immigrant Network, the New Mainers Public Health Initiative, iXplore STEM, and Portland, Deering, and Lewiston High Schools to offer a longitudinal health career exploration program for high school students who are from communities underrepresented in health professions.  

Several types of programs are offered in Lewiston and Portland. These programs include health career exploration activities, health science enrichment activities, and one-on-one academic and social support.  As of the beginning of this fifth year, a total of 168 students have participated in this program since its inception. Thus far this year, four sessions have been held, the first two were orientation and community building sessions, and the second two were health science enrichment activities. This year, participating high school students will also be matched with AHEC Scholars who have received training to serve as mentors to these students. Additionally, participating students will now have the opportunity to use an online job shadow program to further explore health careers that interest them. 

This program is available through funding received in partnership with the Northern Vermont Area Health Education Center and the Southern New Hampshire AHEC who offer similar programming in their states. With this funding, Maine AHEC Network was also able to offer two training this November covering the topic of Structural Competence and Cultural Humility to Address Disparities and Inequities, presented by Maria Mercedes Avila, PhD, MSW, MED. Dr. Avila provides consultation and training on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice and has received 14 national, regional and state service, training, and research awards for her work on health equity. Fifty-two health care and social service professionals from across Maine attended these trainings in November.