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Michigan AHEC launches Northern Lower Regional Center

April 24, 2015

DETROIT- The Michigan Area Health Education Center (AHEC) today announced the launch of its Northern Lower Regional Center. Located in Houghton Lake, Mich., the center will be responsible for implementing AHEC goals in 21 counties: Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon and Wexford. 

Established by Wayne State University in 2010, Michigan AHEC seeks to enhance access to quality health care -- particularly primary and preventive care -- by improving the supply and distribution of health care professionals through community and educational partnerships. Through a statewide network of regional centers, Michigan AHEC prepares underrepresented and disadvantaged youth for health care careers, promotes clinical training opportunities for students in shortage areas and provides continuing education programs for health professionals. Congress created the national AHEC program in 1971.

"Michigan AHEC is excited about extending our reach and resources to northern lower Michigan," said Ramona Benkert, associate dean for academic and clinical affairs at the Wayne State University College of Nursing and co-principal investigator of Michigan AHEC. "The northern lower region of Michigan has a severe shortage of primary care and other health professionals. We are pleased that MidMichigan Community Health Services has joined the Michigan AHEC team, and we look forward to working with them and the community to identify and address northern Michigan's health care workforce needs."

MidMichigan Community Health Care Services is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) and is the host partner for the Northern Lower Regional Center. FQHCs serve underserved areas or populations, provide comprehensive services, and have a governing board of directors. "The northern regions of our great state are underserved areas in terms of access to health care," Benkert said. "MidMichigan Community Health Services is acutely aware of this need as a FQHC, and we are pleased that they will be joining us in this effort."

The Northern Lower Region Center is the fifth of Michigan AHEC's five regional centers. The Southeast Regional Center, established in 2011, is located in Detroit and hosted by the Greater Detroit Area Health Council. Opened in 2012, the Mid-Central Regional Center is hosted by Central Michigan University. The Western Regional Center, launched in 2013 and located in Grand Rapids, is hosted by Western Michigan University. MI-AHEC's Upper Peninsula Regional Center, located in Marquette, was launched in 2014 and is hosted by Northern Michigan University.

Michigan AHEC is funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and Wayne State University. Academic partners include Wayne State University's College of Nursing, School of Medicine, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and School of Social Work; the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry; Central Michigan University; Western Michigan University; and Northern Michigan University.

About the Michigan Area Health Education Center
The Michigan Area Health Education Center, a program of Wayne State University, strengthens the state's health care workforce by recruiting, training and retaining health professionals committed to increasing access to primary care. To learn more, visit miahec.wayne.edu

About MidMichigan Community Health Care Services
MidMichigan Community Health Services is a federally qualified community health center affiliated with MidMichigan Health serving Roscommon, Gladwin and Midland counties and the surrounding areas. They provide primary and specialty health care for all, with a particular emphasis on access for the underserved. More information is available at midmichigan.org/chs.















MI-AHEC Launches its 5th Regional Center in the State of Michigan located in Houghton Lake, Mich. Present at the contract signing in the Wayne State University College of Nursing were from left to right: Darrell Milner, president, MidMichigan Community Health Services; Dr. Maryjean Schenk, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., dean of medical education, Wayne State University School of Medicine; Dr. Ramona Benkert, Ph.D., A.N.P., B.C., F.A.A.N.P., associate dean for academic and clinical affairs of the Wayne State University College of Nursing and co-principal investigator of the Michigan AHEC program; Diane Nielsen, administrative assistant, MidMichigan Community Health Services; James Raschke, executive director, MidMichigan Community Health Services; and Dr. Wanda Gibson-Scipio, Ph.D., APRN, BC, co-program director, Michigan Area Health Education Center.