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NMU Hosts AHEC Regional Center

The Michigan Area Health Education Center has launched its Upper Peninsula Regional Center, with NMU as the host partner. According to a press release, Michigan AHEC was established by Wayne State University in 2010. Its purpose is to enhance access to quality health care, particularly primary and preventive care, by improving the supply and distribution of health care professionals through community and educational partnerships. Through a statewide network of regional centers, Michigan AHEC prepares underrepresented and disadvantaged youth for health care careers, promotes clinical training opportunities for students in shortage areas and provides continuing education programs for health professionals. Congress created the national AHEC program in 1971.

Mary Jane Tremethick (Health and Human Performance) was appointed interim executive director of the center. Her oversight includes financial administration, program planning and development, personnel management, fundraising and public relations and marketing. Cindy Noble (Health and Human Performance) was named program manager. She will work under Tremethick’s supervision to manage programs, coordinate data collection and develop public relations, marketing and community engagement strategies. Noble previously served as parks and recreation coordinator for the city of Marquette.

The U.P. Regional Center will implement AHEC goals in 15 counties: Alger, Baraga, Chippewa, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Luce, Mackinac, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon and Schoolcraft.

“Michigan AHEC is excited about extending our reach and resources to the Upper Peninsula,” said Ramona Benkert, associate dean for clinical and academic affairs of the WSU College of Nursing and co-principal investigator of the Michigan AHEC program. “The Upper Peninsula has a severe shortage of primary care and other health professionals. We are pleased Northern Michigan University has joined the Michigan AHEC team and look forward to working with the university and the community to identify and address northern Michigan’s health care workforce needs.”

The Upper Peninsula Regional Center is the fourth of Michigan AHEC’s five regional centers. The Northern Lower Regional Center is expected to open in 2015.