Our History

History of Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

North Carolina was the first AHEC Program in the United States. The North Carolina AHEC Program evolved from national and state concerns with the supply, distribution, retention and quality of health professionals. In 1970, a report from the Carnegie Commission recommended the development of a nationwide system of Area Health Education Centers. The AHEC program was developed by Congress in 1971 to recruit, train, and retain a health professions workforce committed to under-served populations. The North Carolina program began in 1972 with three AHEC regions under a federal AHEC contract with The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Area L AHEC in Rocky Mount, North Carolina was one of the original three. By 1975, a total of nine AHECs were operational in North Carolina.

This short film by Dr. Lawrence M. Cutchin tells the history of AHEC and how it all began.

We are thankful for all the support we receive and the partnerships that allow us to achieve our mission.

NC Support Rural Health

North Carolina faced a serious shortage of healthcare providers in the 1960s, particularly in rural areas. In the coming decades, North Carolina would make several investments in order to provide adequate healthcare for its residents. The Area Health Education Center program, the Brody School of Medicine, and the Office of Rural Health were all designed to address the needs of underserved residents in the state’s 100 counties