AHEC Scholars

SD AHEC Scholars:

Rural Health Leadership Program

AHEC Scholars is a program for health professions students interested in supplementing their education by gaining additional knowledge and experience in rural and/or underserved urban settings. This is a longitudinal program with interdisciplinary curricula to implement a defined set of clinical, didactic, and community-based activities. All experiential or clinical training will be conducted in rural and/or underserved urban settings. The program is housed within Google Classrooms and has modules for didactic and clinical/experiential education and evaluation components for the program. 

Program duration is two years and includes the following for a total of 160 hours:

  • 80 hours community-based, clinical/experiential training (hands-on) in rural and/or underserved areas
  • 80 hours didactic education (focused on leadership and the six Core Topic Areas)

A 1-year program is offered for associate level/technical college programs with the requirements being halved for a total of 80 hours.

Core Topic Areas:

  • Interprofessional Education
  • Behavioral Health Integration
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Cultural Competency
  • Practice Transformation
  • Current & Emerging Health Issues

Eligibility Criteria:

Students should have a current interest in rural or underserved healthcare, be currently enrolled in a health professions degree or certificate program, be approximately two years from program or degree completion, and who will be entering into the workforce or pursuing a masters or Ph.D. degree upon completion of the SD AHEC Scholars: Rural Health Leadership Program. 

SD AHEC Scholars students includes, but is not limited to, students in counseling, dental hygiene, medical, medical assisting, medical lab science, nursing, nurse practitioner, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physician assistant, physical therapy, psychology, public/population health, radiologic technology, and social work programs. 

Student Expectations:

Students should be actively involved in the program throughout the duration and understand that evaluation and tracking after completion is required. Timely communication regarding activities, questions, and updates with program coordinators is expected and appreciated. Assessments are to be submitted via the Google Classroom for all clinical/experiential and didactic activities. 

Student Benefits:

The program emphasizes an interdisciplinary team-based approach to address health disparities in your communities. AHEC Scholars enhances healthcare knowledge in clinical and community settings, while participating in enhanced training experiences related to health care delivery impacting underserved communities. AHEC Scholars curriculum complements your existing coursework, through training on topics of leadership, communication, and critical thinking


Students should fill out the application link below. All fields must be fully completed. Any application that is missing fields or attachments will not be considered for acceptance. We accept applications on a rolling basis. 

For more information:

Mikayla Titus, Director of Community Programs
Northeast SD Area Health Education Center (NESD AHEC)
M.Titus@nesdahec.org   |   605.229.8304
Corryn Gabbert, Associate Director of Community Programs 
Southeast SD Area Health Education Center (SESD AHEC) 
Corryn.Gabbert@yrahec.org  |   605.655.8285×2