It has been another eventful, rewarding year at Maryland Area Health Education Center West, better known as AHEC West. Ongoing programs and new initiatives conducted in 2018 supported our mission to "improve access to and promote quality in healthcare through educational and other partnerships."
The year kicked off with Health Right, formerly a stand-alone non-profit, becoming a program of AHEC West. Health Right staff joined us in the AHEC West Baltimore Street offices in early spring.
Also launching in January were the first combined yoga and educational sessions of the Stretching To EmPower (STEP) program, which works to empower women against the risks and ravages of opioid misuse.
It was another big year as well for the Mountain Health Alliance (MHA), which spearheaded the fifth Mission of Mercy free dental clinic held in Allegany County since 2010. The October clinic provided nearly $362,000000 worth of dental and medical services to 336 area residents. MHA also took the lead this year in providing free Diabetes Prevention Programs in the county.
In November the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved a fifth year for the national HPV Immunization Project being led by the National AHEC Organization. Joy Taylor of AHEC West is a coordinator for the national campaign.
2018 also saw continuation of other programs at AHEC West, including Exploring Careers in Health Occupations (ECHO), rural-based clinical education for University of Maryland students, and the GAIT and GGEAR geriatrics programs. The Western Maryland Health Insurance Connector, also housed at AHEC West, continued helping area residents obtain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
The year-end also prompts a big Thank You to all of our community partners for helping us achieve so much over the past 12 months. We simply could not do it without you, and look forward to continuing this vital work in 2019.