Providing important services to underserved populations.
The San Luis Valley Area Health Education Center (SLV AHEC) provides services to six counties in the San Luis Valley: Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache counties, an area of over 8,000 square miles. The SLV AHEC was established in 1978 as a community-based 501(c)(3) organization, and is one of six regional independent AHECs in Colorado that serve the entire state. The SLV AHEC is affiliated with the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus AHEC Program Office, which partners with the SLV AHEC to administer the HRSA Model AHEC grant.
Today, a nationwide network of AHECs provide multidisciplinary services to underserved areas. All counties in the San Luis Valley are federally identified as medically underserved, and the AHEC's goal is to strategically address this problem by increasing the local medical workforce utilizing a birth-to-professional pipeline model, and by creating community health programs where gaps exist.
A rich history.
The SLV AHEC has a long history of working with other organizations in a supportive role to address community needs, and has historically been a powerful agent of change, creating programs that often grow to become their own entities.
Because of the SLV AHEC’s work on domestic violence in the early 1980s, the nonprofit organization Tu Casa was formed, which still serves adults and children impacted by domestic violence and has expanded to include a Child Advocacy Center. Following the SLV AHEC’s work on end of life care in the early 1980s, Hospice del Valle originated and remains a viable service for our region. The SLV AHEC’s work on caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease created adult daycare programs, one of which continues to serve seniors today.
A continuing legacy of work.
Some of the recent and ongoing programs of the SLV AHEC designed to improve health outcomes in the San Luis Valley include:
• Workforce pipeline programming for youth to cultivate interest in the healthcare field and improve health and education outcomes;
• Professional development activities for health care providers and the community;
• Community health programming addressing the opioid crisis with health care providers, first responders and community to respond to the current opioid crisis; naloxone overdose-reversal education and distribution; participation in the state's first rural comprehensive harm reduction program partnership; and case workers focused on working with those who are using opioids and their families;
• Community collaboration programs aiming to prevent mental, emotional, and behavioral problems;
• Other community health programs such as a community health worker cardiac risk assessment program and a home visitation program are catered to the needs of the communities we serve.
The SLV AHEC has numerous national, state, and local partnerships with governments, schools, foundations, community organizations, and healthcare provider organizations.
The SLV AHEC is affiliated with the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, which partners with the SLV AHEC to administer the HRSA Model AHEC grant and other important projects.