Through community based initiatives, NESD AHEC works to promote rural health educational opportunities and address health workforce challenges including the underserved population, and those unique to the region including the following South Dakota counties: Corson, Ziebach, Dewey, Campbell, Walworth, Potter, Sully, Hughes, Hyde, Faulk, Edmunds, McPherson, Hand, Brown, Beadle, Spink, Marshall, Day, Clark, Kingsbury, Roberts, Grant, Codington, Hamlin, Brookings, and Deuel.
The NESD AHEC was developed under a HRSA grant received by the Sanford School of Medicine. The five supporting entities include: Presentation College, Northern State University, Lake Area Technical Institute, Prairie Lakes Health System, and Avera St. Luke’s Hospital.
The primary activities of the NESD AHEC are to build an infrastructure supporting an interdisciplinary and community based health experience including a major focus on the under-served populations in our areas.
NESD AHEC is looking to nurture an interest in health careers among youth and support students with an interest in rural health. NESD AHEC will develop and support career exploration opportunities, internships and mentorships in northeast South Dakota. Influencing children early in education is important for attracting youth to health careers. In response to the health workforce shortage in rural areas, NESD AHEC will assist in filling gaps in programming by enhancing support programs at the local levels and creating new targeted support programs when necessary.
NESD AHEC will partner with regional stakeholders on plans on how to address specific community needs and collaborate with health professions students on projects to address these needs.
NESD AHEC strives to support health professionals at the community level through continuing education, professional development activities, and other learning opportunities. By creating a platform of services available through NESD AHEC, we will address health professions workforce concerns through education and outreach ensuring these programs target under-served areas and populations. Programs we will be including are mental health, Native American populations, and Veterans when possible.
Chessa Quenzer – Health Education Coordinator
The North East South Dakota Area Health Education Center (NESD AHEC) is designed to strengthen the health professions workforce in North East South Dakota through collaborations with communities and academic partners that support life-long learning and ensure a future generation of health professionals in rural South Dakota.
The National AHEC program was developed by Congress in 1971 to recruit, train, and retain a health professions workforce committed to underserved populations. With the objective of eliminating Health Profession Shortage Areas, the national program was designed to encourage universities and educators to look beyond their institutions and partner with communities to promote cooperative solutions with local benefits.