Through a multi-faceted program Pioneer Valley Area Health Education Center (PVAHEC) proactively
addresses the needs of disadvantaged youth who are interested in pursuing health careers.
PVAHEC facilitates after school and in-school academic enrichment workshops, annual college fairs and field trips to university campuses, and a worksite learning experience with health care professionals as mentors at various health care facilities throughout
Since 1984, more than 1,700 students have participated in the Recruitment and Educational Assistance for Careers in Health (REACH) Program.
Program Success Example
A four-year REACH participant graduated valedictorian of his class, the first Latino male to graduate valedictorian in the history of the school. Five REACH graduates received academic scholarships to four year institutions and one entered a two year institution, all were specializing in health careers such as nursing, biology, or pharmacy.
Sampling of the Many Programs Offered
Medical Interpreter Training
Pioneer Valley AHEC piloted a program to provide the Medical Interpreter Training program to 16 students in a vocational high school's CNA training program.
This was successful and now all CNA graduates receive 20 hours of training on medical terminology and the role of the interpreter.
Exploring Nursing Careers
Pioneer Valley AHEC is collaborating with the UMass Amherst School of Nursing on a HRSA funded initiative, “Embracing the Challenge.”
Pioneer Valley supported 20 disadvantaged, minority high school students who are interested in nursing careers, tutoring them in math, science and English. The UMass Amherst School of Nursing sponsors Nursing Clubs for interested students.
Community Health Advocates
The Pioneer Valley AHEC works with community health centers, including the Caring Health Center, and community based organizations to support outreach worker efforts through a health care access program. This supports a two-fold effort: increasing access for the population served, and trains the staff about benefits and services available to their patients.
Community Access Program
Pioneer Valley AHEC works with the Caring Health Center, Inc. (330 FQHC) to support outreach worker efforts through a Community Access Program. This program supports a two-fold effort: increasing access for population served (2,505 screened for services; 38% Black and 17% Latino, 100% disadvantaged) and to train the staff about benefits and services available to their patients.