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 CNE & AHEC staff

Seated (l-r): Ann Switzer, Associate Director of the Center of Nursing Excellence (SVHEC); Erin Wittwer, Interim Executive Director (Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority) Standing (l-r): Chantel Brown, Administrative Support Specialist (SVHEC); Brenda Terry, Accounting Manager (SVHEC); Catherine Stevens, Institutional Effectiveness Specialist (SVHEC); Dr. Janet McDaniel, Evaluation Director(Virginia AHEC Program); Linda Bohannon, Grant & Fiscal Administrator (VA Health Workforce Development Authority); Dr. Nettie Simon-Owens, Director of Workforce Services (SVHEC) 

 AHEC designation will expand healthcare education and training opportunities to 15 counties and 3 cities.

Virginia Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program, as part of the Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority (VHWDA), is pleased to announce a partnership with the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) to support an Area Health Education Center (AHEC). Through the Center of Nursing Excellence, the SVHEC will serve a vast AHEC region of 15 counties and three cities that extends to Danville in the west, Petersburg in the north, and Emporia in the east.

Ann Switzer, MSN, RN, and SVHEC Center of Nursing Excellence Associate Director, will serve as Southern Virginia AHEC Director. “The Center of Nursing Excellence already supports AHEC goals as a learning resource center for healthcare professions. We plan to build on our network of healthcare stakeholders throughout Southern Virginia to expand and coordinate healthcare education and training opportunities for our healthcare workforce. We will also initiate healthcare occupations recruitment efforts among high school students and non-traditional students throughout our rural, medically underserved region,” said Switzer.

The Virginia AHEC Program is a federally funded initiative that aims to: (1) educate and train students to become culturally competent primary care health professionals who will provide healthcare in underserved areas and to health disparity populations; (2) increase the number and variety of primary care health professionals who provide care to underserved populations in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and other medically underserved areas; and (3) recruit into health careers individuals from underrepresented minority populations or from disadvantaged or rural backgrounds. AHEC and VHWDA goals are aligned with the SVHEC’s mission to advance Southern Virginia’s economic potential through education, innovation, and collaboration.

“Healthcare is one of the key job sectors identified by the Governor as being critical to developing the New Virginia Economy,” said Dr. Betty H. Adams, SVHEC Executive Director. “SVHEC and our educational partners have been focused on healthcare for almost ten years through the Center of Nursing Excellence. Receiving the AHEC designation is an incredible honor and a logical next step in our established history of healthcare education,” she said.

The Virginia AHEC Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration Grant (#U77HP26289) for $815,999 (FY14). For more information on the AHEC at SVHEC, contact Ann Switzer 434-572-5443, toll-free 1-800-283-0098 ext 5443, or email