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  • Olabowale Olola

Introducing our incoming class of AHEC Scholars!

On October 8th, Erie Niagara AHEC commenced our 4th year of the AHEC Scholars Program with a new cohort of 14 exceptional students. We also welcomed back our 13 members of our third cohort of students for their second year in the program. This cohort of students is studying to become physicians, physical therapists, nurses, social workers, public health professionals, exercise scientists, dieticians, occupational therapists, and pharmacists.

AHEC Scholars is a two-year, nationwide, hot-spotting program that offers current health professions students the opportunity to participate in a multidisciplinary team to help improve the quality of life for individuals in medically underserved areas. Our program emphasizes hotspotting, which is the strategic use of data to reallocate resources to support a small subgroup of high-needs, high-cost patients. These are typically patients who frequent the emergency department or have high rates of hospital admissions, thus leading to significantly increased healthcare costs. Over time, these patients’ chronic health conditions have worsened, which leads to more invasive, expensive, and high-risk treatment.

The goal of the program is to address the social determinants of health that negatively impact this group and get them connected to preventive care.

Hotspotting is a model of care in which an interdisciplinary team, in our case of students, seeks to coordinate care needed to effectively treat these high-utilizer patients while attending to the non-medical needs that can affect their health. This may include, but is not limited to, concerns about housing, food security, mental health, and substance use. The AHEC Scholars Program aims to support the development of future healthcare professionals, enabling them to provide high-quality, patient-centric care to all patients in Erie and Niagara counties through the use of the hotspotting model.

We are so excited to work together to enhance our students’ skills and abilities as emerging healthcare professionals! Together, they create a diverse, interprofessional team that will work together to address the social determinants of health that negatively impact patient care. Their expertise across a wide variety of medical professions sets the stage for high-quality care and coordination for their patients. This group of students will complete the AHEC Scholars program in the summer of 2023. Stay tuned to learn more about their progress!

Image- AHEC Scholars cohort 4 orientation.

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