AHEC Scholars Examine Health Disparities as Fourth Year Kicks Off

A group of young scholars around a table.

The Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Scholars Program kicked off its fourth year of programming on Oct. 6 when 55 diverse and rural undergraduate students from northeast Ohio came together in the Ralph Regula Training Center at NEOMED to learn about health disparities and health equity.

Ms. Lita Wills, commissioner of the Division of Health Equity and Social Justice at the Cleveland Department of Public Health, presented “Understanding Health Equity as a Strategy” and covered two topics:

  • the Social Determinants of Health based off Healthy People 2030 and
  • Education and Health Care Access (Quality, Economic Stability, Social and Community Context, and Neighborhood and Built Environment).

Following the presentation, the students completed a Self-Organized Learning Environment activity based on equity and on health and safety in public health emergencies.

The AHEC Scholars Program is open to undergraduate students in their second or third years of study, enrolled in a health professions discipline, and interested in learning more about issues that affect patient and community health outcomes.

Through didactic and community engagement, AHEC scholars develop a deeper understanding of interprofessional collaboration that is crucial to delivering exceptional patient care.

The next regional program on Nov. 6 will cover behavioral health.

The Area Health Education Center is in the Department of Family and Community Medicine.

Submitted by Patricia Thornborough, director of the Area Health Education Center.

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