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AHECS, Pipelines, and Opportunities!

Posted by Paul on 2/3/2014 4:30:00 PM

It's still winter but a little crosspollinization was going on the MDA office today. The Missouri Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) were using our downstairs conference room for a meeting. This statewide group works tirelessly to promote healthcare careers and create workforce development programs to nurture and facilitate those careers at all stages. They are led by Michael French out of the Kirksville office. That's him in photo #1. The rest of the gang is in photo #2. I apologize for the bad light and boring setting but I merely wanted to document their welcomed presence at the MDA.
The crosspollinization came in when Vicki, Stacey, and I joined them for a full hour of introductions and idea sharing on ways we might collaborate. At the 2012 House of Delegates, the MDA was charged to look into the promotion of rural practice dentistry. Our research revealed there was no need to reinvent the wheel because the AHEC's were doing a solid job at many levels. What we learned today were a few ways that we can enhance their work and in turn enhance the opportunities for young people to pursue dentistry and eventually return to practice in rural areas.
Primarily the focus was on the need for mentors and internships. There are eager students who need just to shadow/silently watch a dentaloffice at work to seeif thatturns their crank. Other pre-dental students need a mentor to help with studies, etc. Still others who are locked in need internships to foster their chances at success. The MDA will investigate how to best create awareness of these needs so our interested members can participate. Like most things, the best entry point is the local level so we will keep the components aware and try to connect them to the right AHEC reps in their areas.
We learned a lot and I won;t try to repeat it all here. Just be alert and know that we are working on your behalf with other smart and motivated partners to promote careers in dentistry.

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