The Southwest Virginia Area Health Education Center (SWVA AHEC) is one of eight regional centers in Virginia, and more than 235 nationwide, that have a mission of enhancing access to quality health care services in rural and medically under served areas. This is accomplished through a variety of health careers pipeline initiatives striving to improve the supply and distribution of health care professionals via community and academic partnerships. These pipeline initiatives include health careers promotion, support for health professions students, and the provision of continuing and community-level education.
SWVAAHEC represents an invaluable opportunity for residents of all ages in the the region and for the health science programs here at Emory & Henry College. Here in Marion, with our robust and great undergraduate and graduate health science programs, we have a unique opportunity to develop an incredibly strong collaboration with AHEC. This collaboration will not only enhance the clinical training opportunities for our students, but also further foster health care training opportunities for Jr. High and High School Students, Community College Students, and other area residents. Additionally, our collaboration will assist in increasing access to high quality health care for Southwest Virginia residents, the recruitment and retention of skilled health care providers, and provide interprofessional and continuing education opportunities. I could not be more excited to be working so closely with Sam McKinney and everyone at the SWVAAHEC!
Dr. Scott Richards, Founding Chair/Director, E&H College's Department of Physician Assistant Studies
The specific mission of the Southwest Virginia Area Health Education Center (SWAHEC) is to provide education, information, training, and services to improve health outcomes in Southwest Virginia. SWVA AHEC primarily focuses on rural health care workforce development to meet the needs of communities and health care professionals.
Located in Marion, Virginia, SWVA AHEC reaches some of the most needy areas in the Appalachians. Established in 1993, SWAHEC is an independent, not-for-profit corporation led by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Board is primarily made up of community members from health care and education organizations. The groups primary focus is in the areas of exposing youth to health care professions, helping provide students interested in health professions with training experiences, supporting practicing health care professionals and community health initiatives.
Not only am I excited about working with all the great health care professionals in Southwest Virginia but to be associated with a school like Emory & Henry College is a thrill. Especially, knowing of their new health care programs that will help meet the medical needs of all the wonderful people in Southwest Virginia.
Sam McKinney, Executive Director, SWVAAHEC