Rural Healthcare Celebrated with AHEC Anniversary

July 1, 2003 - Posted at: 3:46 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, Ark. -- Northeast Arkansas AHEC Members joined with other AHEC Programs around the state on Tuesday to Celebrate 30 years of improving the supply, distribution, and continued education of UAMS graduates and other health care professionals in Arkansas.

AHEC, which stands for Area Health Education Center, are U.A.M.S. residency programs located around the state.

"It provides post graduate training and family practice to medical school graduates," Dr. Michael Mackey, Director of the Northeast Arkansas AHEC said. "The main advantage is our education training, the continuing medical education that we provide for doctors, nurses, and pharmacists all over northeast Arkansas, like today's talk on Osteoporosis."

Dr. Ronald Hamby, a national expert on Osteoporosis, presented Tuesday's continuing education lecture at St. Bernard Medical Center.

Dr. Steve Woodruff, a Jonesboro physician, attended Tuesday's lecture. "Physicians in Arkansas are required to twenty hours of continuing medical education and so one lecture in one hour," said Woodruff.

AHEC programs are not only benefiting health care professionals with continuing education, but U.A.M.S. graduates are also reaping the rewards.

Mackey said,"With the addition of the AHEC programs we've provided plenty of slots where all of the graduates from medical school could remain in Arkansas and do their training if they wanted to."

"It gives us and opportunity to teach as well and that helps keep us fresh," replied Woodruff.

AHEC has allowed 60% of U.A.M.S. graduates to continue their education in Arkansas.

"It's provided doctors for Arkansas and many small rural communities of Arkansas," said Mackey.