Across Arkansas, the Regional Centers provide access to medical services for rural residents and education for healthcare students and professionals. This combination of service and education improves the health for rural Arkansans while also providing needed experience and training. The initial Regional Centers, formerly Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program, was started in 1973 through the combined efforts of then Governor Dale Bumpers, the Arkansas State Legislature and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
The Regional Centers serve as the main educational outreach effort of UAMS, preparing physicians and healthcare professionals to serve in rural areas. The programs offer training for family medicine residents and students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and some fields of allied health, as well as continuing education for medical professionals. The Regional Centers also provide information and programs about health careers to ensure an adequate future workforce for the state.
The Regional Centers provide access to healthcare and health education for community members in rural and under-served areas. Barriers to quality medical care for rural residents are decreased when primary care is accessible in their communities.
There are 8 Regional Centers across Arkansas, each responsible for a specific region of the state. Each program serves as a training site for students and covers multiple counties. You can use the links below to find out more information about the Regional Center program near your community.