RowanSOM receives $4.3 million AHEC grant

RowanSOM receives $4.3 million AHEC grant


Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM) has been awarded a five-year, $4.3 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, continuing the medical school’s support for the New Jersey Area Health Education Centers (NJ AHEC) that provides training and education for students seeking careers in health professions within underserved areas.

The NJ AHEC Program has been affiliated with RowanSOM for over 40 years. In partnership with Southwestern AHEC, Garden AHEC, and Shore AHEC, the program covers the seven South Jersey counties and trains medical and health profession students to work with humility in providing culturally competent care to underserved communities. This unique program allows students to develop strategies and implement solutions outside of the classroom within communities that are affected by inequalities such as income, gender, race, and location.

"NJ AHEC is a longitudinal, interprofessional program with a curriculum that implements a defined set of training activities in medically underserved areas of New Jersey,” said Kristin N. Bertsch, Ph.D., Director of NJ AHEC. “Our Program is an exciting collaboration between the RowanSOM, Camden County College, Rowan College of South Jersey, Rutgers University School of Nursing, and the Departments of Nursing and Psychology at Rowan University. The training provides unique experiences for health profession students to work in interprofessional groups and collaborate with community partners to work in underserved areas.”

Students who complete the two-year program are awarded a certificate of completion that distinguishes them as an AHEC Scholar and clearly demonstrates their commitment to working with medically underserved communities. They join a national cohort of approximately 39,000 program graduates in 49 programs throughout the country.

The multi-faceted curriculum includes inter-professional education, behavioral health integration, social determinants of health, cultural competency, current and emerging health issues, and virtual learning and telehealth. Requirements also include establishing a youth public health program focusing on high school student recruitment, conducting ten percent of clinical education within community settings, and developing curricula within community-based accredited primary care residency programs.

 “The hope is to inspire students to work in these underserved communities to help relieve the physician shortages that exist in these areas,” Dr. Bertsch added.