GNAHEC connects students to careers, professionals to communities and communities to better health. We inspire, train, recruit and retain a diverse and broad range of health professionals to practice in communities where the need is greatest.
GNAHEC is part of the USF AHEC Program, which began in 1993 and covers a nine-county area on the central west coast of the state from as far north as Citrus to as far south as Charlotte county. Community activities are carried out by two local AHEC Centers, Gulfcoast North AHEC in Land O’ Lakes serving Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties and Gulfcoast South AHEC in Sarasota, which serves Charlotte, Desoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties.
GNAHEC is part of a larger, statewide network, the Florida AHEC Network, including five AHEC programs at each of the state’s five medical schools and 10 centers covering all 67 counties of the state. We are also an active member of the National AHEC Organization, which supports 50 AHEC programs with more than 200 centers that operate in almost every state and the District of Columbia.
GNAHEC inspires youth to choose a career in the health professions with our health career camps, mentoring programs, college preparatory courses and more. We focus on recruiting more minority and disadvantaged youth into health careers because research and experience indicate they will be more likely to care for the medically underserved. As our population becomes more diverse, it is important that our health care workforce reflects that diversity.
GNAHEC coordinates clinical training opportunities at community-based sites for students who are enrolled in a health professions training program. The AHEC sites bring health disparities to life for students, who see first-hand the needs of uninsured and underinsured patients. Last year alone almost 900 health professions students were trained throughout our five counties to expose them to the rewards and challenges of working with the medically needy – and possibly influence their career decisions. These students provided more than 185,000 hours of care to an estimated 300,000 patients, much of it in the state’s community/migrant health centers, health departments, rural health clinics and other sites serving the medically needy.
We recruit talented, dedicated health professionals who want to make a difference in the community and match them with positions in medically underserved communities. We also support local health care by providing resources such as technical assistance, library services and continuing education programs to meet health professionals’ needs and retain them in the communities who need them most.