Boston Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

Youth to Health Careers Program           Medical Interpreter Training Program

The Boston AHEC, hosted by the Boston Public Health Commission, focuses on increasing the racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity of Boston’s health-care workforce.  The Boston AHEC provides both a Youth to Health Careers Program (Y2HC) and Medical Interpreter Training Program.

Over the past 25 years, more than 10,000 students have participated in programs emphasizing careers in preventive and primary care medicine, allied health, public health, and complementary medicine.

The Youth to Health Careers Program
The Youth to Health Careers Program offers educational programs designed in such a way that a student can start in the 8th grade and continue through high school. Our model works because the teaching tools are designed by teens for teens. Four programs are offered:


    Youth to Health Careers (Y2HC) Programs

Introduction to Community Health and Health Careers
This course is designed for 8th grade students and is offered in selected middle schools throughout Boston.

Youth to Health Careers (Y2HC) Summer Enrichment Program
This 7-week intensive program is great for middle and high school students looking to work in the community. Students explore the health field through BAHEC signature courses, public health symposiums, interdisciplinary projects, internships and field trips.

Applications to the program exceed funding. In Summer 2005, 63 high school and 30 middle school students from Boston completed the program and were invited to participate in the Y2 HC After school Program.

Youth to Health Careers (Y2HC) Afterschool Program
This program addresses issues relevant to adolescent development, by emphasizing positive, protective factors such as creativity, leadership, and responsibility. Structured and unstructured programs are offered in the areas of health career exploration, academic, MCAS, SAT, college preparation.

Parental involvement and support is encouraged and regular contact with teachers and guidance counselors is maintained.

BAHEC Youth Advisory Board (YAB)
Comprised of a diverse group of 20 Boston high school students, the Youth Advisory Board provides the youth leadership component of BAHEC and advises the  Boston Public Health Commission on issues and concerns related to youth health.  It offers students a specific forum for participation and advocacy at both programmatic and organizational levels, and brings them together with members of BAHEC's Adult Advisory Board for mentoring and skills-development opportunities. Members of the Youth Advisory Board work on a wide variety of planning, research, curriculum development and outreach activities.

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Medical Interpreter Training Program 

Massachusetts Medical Interpreter Training, part of UMass Medical School’s MassAHEC Network, collaborates closely with the Medical School’s MassAHEC Network Centers to offer interpreter training throughout Massachusetts and in other states. We are the only organization in Massachusetts providing medical interpreter training statewide, with a focus on the state’s Medicaid (MassHealth) providers and community-based organizations.

We have designed our training programs to accommodate the needs of all levels of multilingual learners. The programs are particularly well suited to training current bilingual health care staff to become highly effective medical interpreters. These dual-role employees become a greater asset to their workplaces and find interpreter training to be a stepping stone in their career development.

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Publications and Products


  • The Bilingual Medical Interview I
  • The Bilingual Medical Interview II: The Geriatric Interview
  • Boston Teen Health Report
  • Choose Not To Abuse - Prevention Curriculum Addressing Power and Control
  • OssieMore: Disease Detective E-Learning Course
  • PRIDE Theater Arts Group
  • How Was I to Know: Teen Suicide PSA
  • "Let's Start Talking" : STD Prevention PSA and Prevention Curriculum
  • One Paycheck Away; a photojournalism project on homelessness
  • An Environmental Health Disaster Scenario: Dioxin Contaminated Chicken