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Background: Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) have contributed to U.S. healthcare workforce training since 1971. National funders recently refocused efforts from K-12 students to matriculated health profession students, which reduced annual funding by $75,000 (25%) per year per Center.

Objectives: To describe how community partnership changed due to funding reductions.

Methods: Key informant interviews were conducted with all four regional center directors with community partnerships.

Lessons learned: Hosted regional centers navigated partnerships in ways that did not significantly change programs because the host institutions supported continuing the partnerships. Independent centers experienced significant changes in partnerships by ending well-established programs and starting new programs with new partners. Both hosted and independent centers took salary cuts, downsized staff, and applied for grants and contracts to fill the funding gap. Improved communication with the Oregon AHEC program office was reported as needed.

Conclusions: Navigating partnerships differed according to host status.


Originally published in Preventive Medicine and Community Health. 2020. Volume 3. Issue 2.