Central MN AHEC promotes rural health educational opportunities and addresses health workforce challenges unique to the 15-county region.

All Minnesotans deserve access to quality health care. While Minnesotans currently enjoy some of the best health care resources in the nation, there are some areas of our state where there is a shortage of health care professionals or facilities. In these areas, there is no quick fix to the health care access problem.

If we are to provide quality health care in these regions, there are multiple resources that must be connected to find a solution. The overriding goal of Central Minnesota AHEC (as well as the Minnesota AHEC Network) is to ensure that this can happen.

Part of our mission is to help create a "virtuous circle." A virtuous circle is a self-propagating series of advantageous events that feeds and perpetuates itself for positive benefit. In our case, this virtuous circle is intended to rectify the shortage of health care professionals to provide care to local populations in underserved area. These are some of the key aspects of that virtuous circle (see diagram above):

  • One of our initial tasks is to connect with students in K-12 education to make sure they know about the tremendous opportunities that are available for health care careers.
  • In addition, we work with educators – both in K-12 and in higher education – to connect those interested students to opportunities and resources that can help them get the health education and training they need.
  • Once these students finish their education (or during the process) we connect these new health professionals back to communities that have a shortage of health care resources.
  • Making sure there are good health care resources helps communities grow and thrive. Growing communities have more students to feed into the system and start the virtuous circle process all over again.

The components of this virtuous circle all play a vital role in making sure every area of region has the health care resources they want and need. However, because these components are big and complex, an organization needs to serve as the connector and catalyst to help make the virtuous circle happen. That is task of Central Minnesota AHEC, and it is an important role we embrace each and every day.

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