Next Steps is a new program that OPAHEC is in the process of developing to offer at our local Universities and Community Colleges. Next Steps will be working with the pre-health science student associations and the career development departments to provide healthcare career and education exploration for interested college students. This will help bridge the gap in the path between high school and professional-level education for our diverse students. OPAHEC is working to develop activities and opportunities to bring healthcare employers and health science students together in a professional relationship.

These Activities include:

  • First Aid & CPR Training: OPAHEC staff are certified instructors and plan to offer this course once per term. By providing students the opportunity to become certified to provide First Aid and CPR they are able to care for individuals in need of assistance.

  • Healthcare Career Days: There are currently two healthcare career fairs offered at community colleges in the area that OPAHEC Pathways students are invited to. One is at Oregon Coast Community College and is sponsored by Samaritan Health Services. The other is at Chemeketa Yamhill Campus and is sponsored by Capella Health of McMinnville. At both events students have the opportunity to participate in hands on activities sponsored by each of the participating departments.

  • Job Shadow Opportunities: OPAHEC in cooperation with OHSU nursing school, COMP-NW, and Providence hospital will provide opportunities for prospective students to learn about the healthcare field through tours, interactive simulation labs, and surgical viewings.

  • Service Learning Opportunities: OPAHEC staff will encourage members of the club to complete service learning activities. By engaging in their communities, students will be able to connect to future employer and learn about the area.

These activities connect students directly to healthcare providers and employers. This connection helps students with their future planning, which is an essential part of improving student resiliency and academic focus.

Currently serving Oregon State University, also in the process of establishing the program at other local universities and community colleges.

Next Steps

AHEC Scholars is national program grant funded through the Health Resource & Services Administration (HRSA). The program is intended for health profession students who are serious about pursuing careers with rural and/or underserved communities after graduation. This innovative program will enroll 75 – 125 students annually from multiple universities and academic programs in Oregon. AHEC Scholars students will be instructed in concepts of Interprofessional Education (IPE), patient safety, social determinates of health, behavioral health integration, cultural competency, and practice transformation in a series of in-person and/or web-based didactic sessions designed to enhance their understanding of rural and underserved health care. Additionally, AHEC Scholars students will have the opportunity to complete community-based experiential training at rural and/or urban underserved sites across the state. In other words, AHEC Scholars presents a unique opportunity for a student to fulfill their degree requirements with an emphasis on rural and underserved health.

AHEC Scholars is a 2 year program and students must commit to being in the program for 2 years.  Entry point into program is dependent upon each student’s school/program with the exit point at graduation/completion of your degree.  A Kick-Off event for each new cohort will be held in September to mark the start of each year of AHEC Scholars.


Students must be enrolled in a health professions training program and be in good academic standing.  Students must complete an AHEC Scholars application indicating their interest in and experience with rural and underserved populations and communities. Students who are accepted into the program will be notified by the Oregon AHEC Program Office.


Curt Stilp, Ed.D., PA-C

Director, Oregon AHEC


Linda Martin, MEd

AHEC Scholars Education Coordinator


This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U77HP03052, Model State Supported Area Health Education Centers.

AHEC Scholars