About Western New York Rural Area Health Education Center

Western New York Rural Area Health Education, Inc. (R-AHEC)’s mission is “to improve health and healthcare through education.” Our core values are community, integrity, teamwork, and innovation. Our vision is to enrich the health of individuals and communities we have the privilege to serve, by building collaborative relationships and being a valued educational resource that implements innovative programs with passion and integrity.

R-AHEC is part of the National Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program. The National AHEC program was developed in the early 1970’s to recruit, train and retain a health professional workforce committed to underserved communities with a vision to connect students to careers, professionals to communities, and communities to better health. R-AHEC is part of the NYS AHEC System and is New York State’s first AHEC. Each NYS AHEC center is unique, while providing similar core services which aids in health professional recruitment/retention, supports medically underserved areas, coordinates student training opportunities within underserved areas, and directs efforts towards developing health career opportunities for local youth. R-AHEC has fostered strategic partnerships with academic programs, healthcare providers, and professional organizations.

R-AHEC employs an Executive Director, Director of Programs, Administrative Coordinator, Staff Accountant, Program Coordinators, Program Assistants, and part-time cleaning staff. The governing Board of Directors seats up to thirteen members, representing health professions and education, as well as expertise in other areas such as nonprofit management, fiscal and legal expertise and are typically located throughout our geographic locations with diverse business associations.

R-AHEC serves a predominately rural 12-county region, headquartered in Warsaw, New York.  Counties include Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates, which covers 9,140 square miles. R-AHEC addresses the health needs of its rural and underserved communities by focusing on: Workforce Development; Housing; Education; and Health Information Technology Support.

Workforce Development: Through various grant based and independent initiatives, the healthcare workforce are extended a variety of training opportunities (professional skills, career ladder development, continuing education, and others).

Housing: The Thiel Hospitality House provides discounted rates and scholarships through grant funding to healthcare workers, healthcare students and community members.

Education: Healthcare career exploration for grades 7-12 is offered through classroom presentations, career fairs, field trips, shadowing experiences with local healthcare providers, camps, newsletters, and many others all aimed at exploring the various careers in healthcare. Post-secondary education opportunities include internships, immersive programming, scholarships, case management, and tabling events.

Health Information Technology Support: Eligible healthcare providers, primarily rural, are offered opportunities through various funding sources which subsidize network connections and broadband equipment as well as telemedicine software and equipment to provide better access to healthcare.