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W I N T E R / S P R I N G U O F L M A G A Z I N E | 3 5 Making a Difference Statewide Kentucky's road to success with AHEC initially hit several bumps along the way. Kentucky did not qualify for the initial grant, but in 1974, the state formed the Kentucky Area Health Education System (AHES) to support health-student rotations throughout the state. Severe budget cuts in the late 1970s challenged and shut down many AHES centers. In 1984, UofL partnered with the University of Kentucky and submitted a new federal AHEC grant application, which was awarded in 1985. Critical state funding continues to this day. Overall, AHEC focuses on three goals. First, its mission is to help train all medical and dental students in underserved health care settings. Second, AHEC partners with communities statewide to provide health care and career education. Third, and perhaps most important, AHEC encourages medical, dental, nursing and allied health students to relocate and practice in underserved areas in Kentucky after graduation. According to state AHEC director Jones, the program is working. Of the class of 2013 UofL School of Medicine graduates, 31 percent plan to practice in an underserved area, and 83 percent will volunteer in free clinics for the underserved. AHEC regions are classified as underserved, which does not always equate to rural. Whether it is a large or small city, an underserved area can mean there is a lack of transportation, difficult economic conditions, not enough health care providers in the immediate local area or an undereducated population. In the medical training program, all physicians providing training are gratis faculty. "They love to teach and it gives them an opportunity to teach without being in an academic center," said Lucy Juett, director of the South Central AHEC since 1986. "This is hands-on learning, with students examining patients, conducting procedures, gathering histories and working one-on-one with a physician. In the AHEC regions, the medical and dental students work so hard, and it greatly builds their confidence." The required AHEC rotation focuses on culture-based education. Even if a physician eventually practices in a bigger city, he or she will run into people from rural areas. "It's a different culture," said Juett. "It's much slower, everyone knows everyone, there is much more trust and the way medicine is practiced is different. It's valuable for students to see how it is different in the real world." Clinical rotations provide real-world experiences for medical, dental and nursing students. U L _ 3 5 3 5 UL_35 35 1 / 2 4 / 1 4 1 0 : 1 2 A M 1/24/14 10:12 AM

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